Yukio Shige (茂幸雄 Shige Yukio) is a retired Japanese police officer and head of an NPO that works to prevent suicides at the Tōjinbō cliffs in Fukui Prefecture in Japan. His work and that of the NPO is believed to have saved over 500 lives. He is known as the "chotto matte" ("Wait a moment") man, for the words he says to people considering suicide.
Shige worked as a police officer for the Fukui Prefectural Police for 42 years, retiring at the age of 60. His final posting was in Tōjinbō in Sakai. He was appalled by the many corpses he had to remove from the ocean. On one of his last patrols before retirement in 2003, he met an elderly Tokyo couple who owned a pub. They had major debt problems and were suicidal. They planned to throw themselves into the sea at sunset. He convinced them not to, and called a patrol car to take them to the local welfare bureau. The local authorities simply gave the couple enough money to get to the next town. He received a letter from them, sent shortly before their suicide in a neighbouring prefecture, five days after he had encountered them. He was offended by the coldness of the authorities, and after his retirement began to patrol the cliffs to try and prevent suicides.
Suicide prevention NPO
On April 27, 2004 Shige founded Kokoro ni Hibiku Bunshu Henshukyoku (Publishing bureau for collection of writings that reach the heart), which has continued to work to prevent suicides around Tōjinbō. In 2014 it saved its 500th life.
In 2008 Shige reported a spike in suicide attempts after job losses among casual employees due to the Financial crisis of 2007–08, known as the "Lehman shock" in Japan. In Japan, it is not uncommon for employees to live in a company dormitory, so if workers lose their jobs they also lose their housing.
The NPO owns six apartments where people can stay if they lack accommodation.
In 2017 the group's 16 members were considering using drones to monitor the cliffs and watch for suicidal people. As of May 2017 the group had prevented 586 people from killing themselves.
In 2015 it was reported that Shige's work would be featured in a documentary. In 2017, Shige and his team of volunteers at NPO were featured in a YouTube documentary by Field of View entitled "The Gatekeeper."
- Calderwood, Imogen ‘We help them get their lives back’: Japan’s own suicide-catcher saves 500 lives in 11 years after dedicating his life to saving people July 28, 2015 Daily Mail Retrieved February 14, 2016
- Longtime anti-suicide crusader patrols cliffs of Tojinbo Japan Today September 22, 2014
- Moodley, Kiran This man has dedicated his life to patrolling Japan's lonely cliff-tops to prevent suicides July 1, 2015 The Independent Retrieved February 14, 2016
- Fackler, Martin At Japanese Cliffs, a Campaign to Combat Suicide December 17, 2009 New York Times Retrieved February 14, 2016
- Shimoji, Tsuyoshi Suicide prevention group saves 500th life on Fukui cliffs September 14, 2014 Archived February 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Asahi Shimbun Retrieved February 15, 2016
- Takahara, Kaneko Scenic cliffs drawing suicidal idled part-timers December 19, 2008 Japan Times Retrieved February 14, 2016
- Fukue, Natsuko Spike feared in idled-temp suicides December 26, 2008 Japan Times Retrieved February 14, 2016
- Murai, Shusuke ‘Pokemon Go’ players deter suicides in Fukui September 30, 2017 Japan Times Retrieved July 1, 2017
- Osumi, Magdalena Group will use drone to help prevent suicide at remote Fukui Prefecture site May 9, 2017 Japan Times Retrieved July 1, 2017
- Wilson, Scott Retired Japanese man who saved over 500 from suicide to be featured in documentary July 20, 2015 Japan Today Retrieved February 14, 2016