Tokyo- Aging population of Japan is witnessing a continued fall in suicide rate, new data revealed. According to Japan’s National Police Agency, number of suicides in Japan fell by 4.2% in 2019 from the previous year to a record low 19,959, Kyodo news reported.

In 2018, Japan recorded a 37-year low number of suicides per 100,000 at 16.3%. Figures for 2019 have been lower than 20,000 for the first time since Japan’s National Police Agency began compiling data in 1978.

The report, however, warned that the number of suicides could rise later when the data is revised in March. Last year, the number of suicides per 100,000 people dropped to 15.8%, down 0.7% from 2018.

“We need to face up to the reality that as many as about 20,000 people took their own precious lives,” Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference.

“To realize a society where nobody will be forced to commit suicide, we’ll promote counter-measures steadily.”

Japan is one of the most developed, modern, and richest countries in the world but is struggling with an aging population and an unusually high suicide rate.