Police in Japan find two dead, one in critical condition in apparent group suicide attempt

Japanese police found two women dead and one man in critical condition inside a car in an apparent group suicide attempt, officials said Monday.

Two women, both in their twenties, were found dead in a passenger car parked in a remote mountainous area in Awaji, western Japan, local policeman Yoshikazu Murata said.

A used charcoal stove was found inside the car, and the two may have died of asphyxia, according to Murata, who said police suspected suicide.

A man, also in his twenties, was rushed to a hospital but remained unconscious, Murata said. Authorities had yet to identify the three, he said.

There has been a recent spate of group suicides in Japan set up between strangers over the Internet though it wasn't immediately clear how the latest group met.

In March alone, 13 people have been found dead in three separate cases of Internet-linked group suicide in Japan , excluding the latest case.

On March 10, six people were found dead from asphyxiation in a van in a forested area outside of Tokyo . Police thought the six from different parts of Japan met in an Internet chat room.

Internet suicide pacts have occurred since at least the late 1990s, and have been reported in a number of countries. But in Japan , where the suicide rate is among the industrialized world's highest, officials are particularly worried about the trend.

A record 91 people died in 34 Internet-linked suicide cases last year, up from 55 people in 19 cases in 2004, the National Police Agency reported last month. The number of Internet suicide pacts has almost tripled from 2003, when the agency started keeping records.

Awaji city is about 435 kilometers (272 miles) west of Tokyo , reports the AP.


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