Thanks to Japan’s extensive rail system, millions of people are safely and promptly carried to and from to their destinations every day.
For instance, Uchihara Station in Mito city alone sees over 2000 people pass through every day. However, these useful transportation nodes are also plagued by a dark social ill: suicide by train.
As if the loss of a life weren’t bad enough, those who commit suicide by jumping in front of moving trains also cause disruption to people’s lives and businesses, not to mention the psychological trauma incurred by unlucky witnesses, including the poor conductors who were driving the trains.
Recently, however, the Mito office of the Japan Railway Company (JR) may have found an effective solution to this problem.
Now, if you happen to find yourself around Uchihara Station at dusk you may feel a sudden relaxing sensation as you are bathed in a peaceful blue glow. This is the latest effort by JR to quell would-be jumpers – and it seems to be working.
JR had been experimenting with the effects of blue light for several years now at various places and preliminary results showed suicides almost halved in those areas.
In 2009, they began conducting an experiment at three suicide hotspots along the busy Joban Line through Mito city.
Measuring the number of fatal accidents in these areas each year for the past 3 years revealed there were 21 accidents in 2009, 20 in 2010, and 16 in 2011. Of these, police investigations determined 9, 14, and 8 respectively to be suicides. In December 2011, the company installed blue lights in strategic locations where suicides were likely to occur. Since then there have been no reports of fatal incidents in the area.
A 65 year-old woman who manages a newspaper shop near Uchihara station confirms this saying: “before there were some suicides around here, but recently I haven’t heard about any.”
The Mito Office remains cautiously optimistic about the results so far: “We have only been seeing the effects of these lights for a short time, but if they can help even a little to reduce tragedies then they’re worth it.”
Original Story: Yomiuri Online