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  • The streets of Tokyo are still crowded with shoppers and commuters.

  • Apart from the masks, there are few signs here of the pandemic.

  • There has been no lock down, but don't be fooled.

  • Amid the glittering neon and jostling traffic for some, life amid the pandemic is becoming unbearable.

  • Since the pandemic began, this woman has tried to kill herself multiple times.

  • [From about this time last year I have been in and out of hospital many times, every month or so.]

  • [I tried many times, but I couldn't succeed, so now I guess I have given up trying to die.]

  • The young woman is now undergoing intensive counseling at this suicide prevention charity.

  • Its founder tells me since mid 2020 they have seen a dramatic increase in harrowing calls.

  • [People call saying I want to die, I want to disappear, I have no place to go.]

  • [A girl I talked to the other day said she is getting sexually harassed by her father.]

  • [But because of Covid her father is not working so much and he is at home a lot, so there is no escape for her.]

  • In previous financial crises, such as the 2008 banking collapse, it has always been men, and particularly middle-aged men whose suicide rates have gone up dramatically.

  • But Covid seems to be completely different.

  • It is affecting young people, and young women are being hit the hardest.

  • In central Tokyo, darkened and shuttered restaurants and bars tell part of the story.

  • Experts say the rise in young female suicide is being driven by economics.

  • This pattern of female suicide is very, very unusual that I have never seen this much increase in my past career as a researcher on this topic.

  • The number of job losses among non permanent jobs are just so, so large, during over the last 6, 8 months,

  • Japan has been quite successful at controlling the Covid pandemic.

  • But in the year since the virus arrived here more women have died from suicide have died from the virus itself.

  • Rupert Wingfield Hayes, BBC News in Tokyo.

The streets of Tokyo are still crowded with shoppers and commuters.

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