Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Alarmed by an increase in the number of people jumping to their deaths in front of trains, some Japanese railway operators are installing special blue lights above station platforms that they hope will have a soothing effect and reduce suicides.
The East Japan Railway Company has put blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, in all 29 stations on Tokyo’s central train loop, the Yamanote line, which is used by eight million passengers daily.
There is no scientific proof that the lights actually help to reduce the number of suicides, and some experts are skeptical that they will have any effect. But other experts say that the color blue does have a calming effect on people.
“We associate the color with the sky and the sea,” said Mizuki Takahashi, a therapist at the Japan Institute of Color Psychology, a private research center that was not involved in the lighting project. “It has a calming effect on agitated people, or people obsessed with one particular thing, which in this case is committing suicide…”
Last year, nearly 2,000 people committed suicide in Japan by jumping in front of a train. They accounted for about 6 percent of suicides nationwide…
The suicides are causing additional train delays, with conductors describing them over public address systems as “human accidents.”
“Human accidents” – sounds like something the Pentagon or Karl Rove would come up with.