Documentary about suicide screened at the Japanese Diet

6 years ago by in Japan

“Saving 10,000–Winning a War on Suicide in Japan” is a documentary released last November by the Irish economist and amateur filmmaker Rene Duignan.

Duignan was just trying to get people watch his documentary, but despite his modest expectations the movie had a great success, the international press comments. A few months later, Duignan met the Japanese government’s Suicide Prevention Office, screened his documentary and talked to the politicians at the Diet about the issue of suicide in Japan.

“It has been an amazing response. I would have been crazy if I was trying to predict it three months ago,” Duignan said.

“We had 140 people for the screening at the Diet. Two very senior politicians opened and gave speeches about it, and the Q&A was amazing. And I gave away 140 DVDs that day, because what better place can you give them away?”

In 2012, the suicide rate decreased by about 9.4 percent and brought the total below 30,000 cases for the first time since 1997. To Duignan, this was a sign that he has to go further with his campaign.

“Japan is at a very critical stage in the whole suicide prevention area. You have had this 10-percent fall, but it’s gone up again in January. Which is going to be the trend?,” he said.

Duignan and collaborator Marc-Antoine Astier used their own funds for making the “Saving 10,000” documentary. Due to the overwhelming personal response, they decided to post it for free on YouTube.

“To make the decision to give it away, you crystallize your losses. But now it is out there, and it is down to the grass-roots level. It does not have to get a million hits. This movie will be found by the people that want to see it and who need to see it the most,” Duignan added.