Purpose This study examined trends in the suicide rates of persons with foreign background in Japan. Methods Using the nationwide death records in the Vital Statistics of Japan, we first reported the age-adjusted suicide rates of 8 foreign nationals (Brazil, China, Korea, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States) in Japan by sex from 1980 to the mid-2010s. We also computed rate ratios to compare the suicide rate of each group with those of the Japanese population. Second, we focused on Koreans, who had the highest suicide rate in Japan. We compared the suicide rates of Koreans in Japan with Koreans in South Korea to examine whether their suicide rates were more closely related to those of their country of origin or those of their host country. Results We found that the suicide rates of Koreans and Chinese in Japan were similar to or higher than those of Japanese, while other groups tended to show lower suicide rates. Most notably, Koreans displayed consistently high suicide rates from 1980 to the mid-2010s, which were nearly twice as high as those of the Japanese population. Korean males and females in Japan had higher suicide rates than those in South Korea. Conclusions Immigrants in Japan were not necessarily influenced by the suicide rates of the host country. The high suicide rates among Korean residents in Japan might be explained by various disadvantages and adversities that they face in Japan.
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