Nepalis in Japan face psychological problems, suicide cases rising

These deaths reflect only the tip of the iceberg of problems that Nepalis in Japan face

Kathmandu, February 5

Omkar Kandel, 21, committed suicide in Tokyo yesterday by jumping on to a high-speed rail-track near Omori Station in Tokyo.

Japanese Police confirmed it was a suicide case. This was proved by a suicide-note found at his residence, later. He was living with his parents, who were originally from Baglung of Nepal.

Why did the young man give up his life? According to Nepali Embassy in Tokyo, Japanese Police is investigating. But this is not the first suicide by a Nepali in Japan.

In December, another Nepali, Rabilal Bhandari was found dead due to excessive drinking. Bhandari, 39, was living in Nagoya, some 400km away from Tokyo. He was from Hatiya, Baglung.

Last year, two other Nepalis committed suicide in the country.

The Nepali diaspora in Japan is larger than the Indian diaspora. There are more than 53,000 Nepalis living there. Last year alone, at least 18,000 Nepalis reached Japan in pursuit of jobs or education.

Gehendra Raj Bhandari, deputy chief of Mission and charge d’affaires at the Embassy of Nepal in Japan expressed concern about the increasing cases of suicide and other causes of death of Nepalis in Japan.

He said these cases comprise only the tip of the iceberg of the growing psychological problems faced by Nepali people in Japan, which has led them to end their lives.

According to him, Nepalis are frustrated and depressed mainly because they do not earn as per their expectation.

Overwork and the state of being disconnected from their families are also factors. Many have even suffered heart-related diseases due to overwork, odd working hours and stress he added.

On top of that, Nepalis rarely visit hospitals for health check-up, even though it’s free, Raj Bhandari said.

Meanwhile, an extensive health awareness seminar with the support of the Nepali Embassy in Japan is being organised in Tokyo on February 13 to promote health education among the Nepali diaspora in Japan.

According to Bhandari, three specialist doctors all Nepali professionals working in Japan will share their experience and interact with participants on how to cope with adverse situations in a country like Japan.