Taro, a 46-year-old man fired from his job at an iron manufacturing company, hoped to fade into the blackness.
“My will to live disappeared,” said Taro. “I’d lost my identity, so I didn’t want to live on this earth. That’s why I wanted to make an end to my life.” Taro was swimming in debt and had been evicted from his company apartment. He lost financial control, which he believes to be the foundation of any stable life.
“You need money to survive,” Taro said. “If you have a girlfriend, you need money. If you want to get married, you need more. Money is necessary for everything in life.” Taro bought a one-way ticket to the forest. When he got there, he slashed his wrists, but the cut wasn’t enough to kill him quickly.
He started to wander. He collapsed after days and lay in the bushes, nearly dead from dehydration and starvation. He lost his toes on his right foot from frostbite, but he didn’t lose his life, because a hiker stumbled upon his nearly dead body and raised the alarm.
Taro’s story is just one of hundreds logged every year at ‘suicide forest’, the home to the highest number of suicides in the entire country.
Toyoki Yoshida, a suicide and credit counselor, posted signs in Aokigahara Forest urging suicidal visitors to call his organization, a credit counseling service. He said that Japanese society too often turns a cold shoulder to the unemployed and bankrupt, and breeds a culture where suicide is still seen as an honorable option.
One year after his suicide attempt, Taro is volunteering with the credit counseling agency that helped him get back on his feet. He’s still living in a shelter and looking for a job. He’s ashamed that he still thinks about committing suicide.
“I try not to think about it, but I can’t say never. For now, the will to live is stronger.”
If only signs were there to tell them there is a better way–
Deuteronomy 30:19, 20:
This promise from God to Israel is applicable to us too!
We have a clear-cut choice to choose life and life more abundant!
from God for us and our children!