Internet suicide pacts have occurred since at least the late 1990s in a number of countries, but they have been most common in Japan, where the suicide rate is among the industrialized world’s highest.
A record 91 people died in 34 Internet-linked suicide cases last year, up from 55 people in 19 cases in 2004, according to the latest figures from the National Police Agency. The number of Internet suicide pacts has almost tripled from 2003, when the agency started keeping records.
In March alone, at least 18 people have died in five cases of suspected Internet-linked group suicides in Japan — including three found dead Tuesday in western Japan.
In all those cases, the victims suffocated themselves inside cars using charcoal stoves, often sealing the windows with tape. Most of the dead have been in their 20s and 30s.

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