The number of suicides in Japan exceeded 30,000 in 2009 for a 12th consecutive year, police said Friday.
A total of 30,181 people killed themselves between January and November, the National Police Agency said, despite government efforts including more counselling services to deter people from taking their own lives.
Japan has one of the world's highest suicide rates, behind only a group of former Soviet bloc countries, says the World Health Organization.
The number of suicides a year in Japan hit the 30,000 mark for the first time in 1998, when the world's second-largest economy was struggling with a number of corporate bankruptcies and soaring jobless rates.
Experts have warned more people may commit suicide as the economy has been hit severely by the global financial crisis.