Life (and death) imitates fiction

CNN reported a story on its Web site last month that will resonate with anyone who has read Ian Fleming’s 1964 You Only Live Twice novel.

AOKIGAHARA FOREST, Japan (CNN) — Aokigahara Forest is known for two things in Japan: breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and suicides. Also called the Sea of Trees, this destination for the desperate is a place where the suicidal disappear, often never to be found in the dense forest.

This story contains no Doctor Shatterhand, aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and a “garden of death” intended to lure those who want to kill themselves. Still, suicide is on the rise in Japan, according to CNN:

There were 2,645 suicides recorded in January 2009, a 15 percent increase from the 2,305 for January 2008, according to the Japanese government.

The Japanese government said suicide rates are a priority and pledged to cut the number of suicides by more than 20 percent by 2016. It plans to improve suicide awareness in schools and workplaces. But officials fear the toll will rise with unemployment and bankruptcies, matching suicide spikes in earlier tough economic times.

To read the entire CNN story, JUST CLICK HERE.