Last year's total of 34,427 deaths, a record, was more than four times the number killed in road accidents. The deaths often involve older people, particularly men who have been laid off from work, and in those cases financial ruin is frequently blamed.
Unusually, Japan's life insurance companies pay out in cases of suicide which, when a family business or home is in jeopardy because of debts, allows a man to restore his reputation by sacrificing his life.
It tells the story of five troubled teens who meet in an online chatroom.
The movie fictitiously shows them sitting in a room together, although in "reality," they are at their computers.
Charcoal-burning stoves, discussed in a lot of the chatroom messages, have featured in many of the group suicides. Nine deaths at once seems shocking enough, but the reality is much worse: 94 people kill themselves every day.
" /These characters aren't particularly deep, and this downbeat movie does not have a cheerful ending, but it should still give thoughtful teens something to talk about. Adults are rarely shown, and when they are, they simply ignore the teens.
Sex is referred to in graphic terms, though little is actually shown.
Language is fairly strong, with a use of "f--k," several uses of "s--t," and uses of "bitch," "ass," etc.
With nine dead this week in suicide pacts, queues continued to form yesterday on Japanese internet bulletin boards set up to match people who share a fatal intent. I can go anywhere in Japan with a "shichirin" [a portable cooking stove] but I don't have a car or sleeping pills," wrote another, who asked that replies be headed "recruiting suicide".
"If you are considering suicide as I am, talk," a high school boy wrote yesterday on one site that contained 79 messages. The deaths on Tuesday of seven people, all in their teens or early 20s, in a minivan in bushland near Tokyo, and two more deaths in a second car not far away, are thought to be connected to these "suicide applicant" websites.