A 3.5 per cent increase in suicides has been blamed on the downturn in the country's economy. The bubble economy of the late 1980s and early 90s led large numbers of people to invest wildly and many companies to expand rapidly. When the bubble burst companies went under, investments turned sour and life savings disappeared. Repercussions still reverberate and for some the only apparent solution is suicide. In all, 22,445 people chose to take their own lives in 1995, 766 more than in the previous year, according to the National Police Agency. Nearly 1,000 killed themselves because of economic reasons, reports the agency, which has highly detailed records of the motivations, as well as the methods. Seppuku - slicing open the stomach - is a traditional Japanese method of suicide. But hanging is by far the most popular approach, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the deaths. Jumping from a tall building ranks a distant second, followed by drowning, poisoning, gassing and jumping in front of trains.