Charcoal burning is also popular for suicide pacts made on the internetBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7491.602-b (Published 10 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:602
All rapid responses
Editor - As Rajagopal and Lee have suggested, suicide pacts via the Internet are becoming common in Japan [1,2]. On the night of February 27, 2005, 7 Japanese persons, including a 14-year-old girl, were found dead in two cars equipped with charcoal-burning stoves in Tochigi Prefecture, a mountainous region in northeastern Japan. The 7 persons had met via an Internet website, which they then used to plan their group suicide. Autopsy showed that they had died of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of burning charcoal in their cars.
According to the National Police Agency in Japan, 34 persons, including 2 teenagers, in 2003 and 55 persons, including 7 teenagers, in 2004 died in suicide pacts made via the Internet. All had been strangers until they met via the Internet and gathered at an agreed-upon place to commit suicide.
Because the number of websites describing suicide methods and encouraging suicide pacts have recently increased in Japan, many younger people, especially teenagers, are being persuaded to participate in group suicides. Therefore, to prevent deaths by group suicide in Japan, the police or the government must regulate websites that encourage suicide or describe suicide pacts.
1. Rajagopal S. Suicide pacts and the internet. BMJ 2004; 329: 1248-9.
2. Lee DTS and Chan KPM. Charcoal burning is also popular for suicide pacts made on the internet. BMJ 2005; 330: 602.
Competing interests: None declared
Competing interests: No competing interests