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Six die in Internet suicide pact

November 22, 2004 09:16 IST

Six people died of carbon monoxide poisoning by burning charcoal stoves in their cars, in the latest of the growing number of suicide pacts in Japan, police said on Monday.

Three people -- a 21-year-old university student, a 25-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman with a part-time job -- were found dead in a car in the southern city of Fukuoka on Sunday, police said.

The suicide pact was suspected to have been arranged over the Internet as the three came from different parts of Japan.

"The three died from acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Since suicide notes were found, we believe they committed
suicide," a local police official said.

In the western Japan city of Sasayama, three men aged 21, 23 and 41 were found dead in another car which had a charcoal stove inside.

Japan has been alarmed by a growing trend of suicide pacts made over the Internet, which puts depressed but otherwise isolated people in touch with one another.

In October, nine people were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in rented vehicles near Tokyo. The suicides were organised by two women who met over the Internet and tried but failed in a previous attempt to kill themselves
together.

Japan has more suicides per capita than any other industrialised country, a phenomenon often linked to a
cultural acceptance of suicide but reluctance to discuss it openly.

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