Last month, in an effort to kerb a rising suicide rates, and at a cost of some 15 million yen, or $165,000, JR (Japan Railways) installed blue LED lights at all 29 stations on the Yamanote line. Other lines have also begun to install the lights at some of their stations. The Blue LED light is supposed to soothe and calm potential jumpers, though there is little scientific evidence for this. If you ask me the Japanese love using Blue LED lights because they invented them, a fact they are inordinately proud of, despite not actually rewarding the inventor suffciently and forcing him to relocate to the US where he can actually profit from his genius.
But it might work, and with this year`s suicide rate set to surpass the previous high of 34,427 deaths in 2003 doing something, however suspect the rational, is better than doing nothing at all. Over 2,000 people jumped under a train last year in Japan (accounting for around 6% of all suicides) so let`s hope they DO work and let`s hope the new government can give people a sense of hope and purpose in their lives so that choosing to end it by jumping under a train is a step less lightly taken than it sometimes appears to be these days.