The National Police Agency said suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, with more than 17,000 people taking their own lives this year to date.
By comparison, fewer than 2,000 people in the country have died from Covid-19 in 2020.
"We didn't even have a lockdown, and the impact of Covid is very minimal compared to other countries ... but still we see this big increase in the number of suicides," Michiko Ueda, an associate professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, an expert on suicides said.
The rise in suicides has disproportionately affected women. Although they represent a smaller proportion of total suicides than men, the number of women taking their own lives is increasing. In October, suicides among women in Japan increased by almost 83% compared to the same month the previous year. For comparison, male suicides rose almost 22% over the same time period.
There are several potential reasons for this. Women make up a larger percentage of part-time workers in the hotel, food service, and retail industries - where layoffs have been deep.
As we reported earlier, scientists have discovered a new type of virus, similar to the strain that causes Covid-19, in the dung of cave-dwelling bats in Japan.
The group investigated in detail the gene of a virus contained in the droppings of little horseshoe bats collected in a cave in Japan seven years ago and found that the gene is 81.5% consistent with the coronavirus. It means that a virus similar to Covid-19 was found.