Family of five found dead in van


A family of five - including three young children - found dead in a van in central Japan are believed to have been a suicide, a police official said on Friday.

The five - a man and a woman in their 30s and three boys aged five, seven and 10 - were found late on Thursday in the vehicle at a parking lot in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka prefecture, said the official at the Fujinomiya Police Department.

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The five are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning after burning charcoal pieces inside the vehicle - a not uncommon method of taking one's own life in Japan.

“We are investigating the case as a possible family suicide as they have also left a suicide note,” the police spokesman said.

Japan, with a population of about 128 million, has one of the world's highest suicide rates, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Every year more than 30 000 people take their lives in a country where suicide carries less of a stigma than in some western nations. - AFP

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