Feb 15, News.com.au

Japanese police intervened to save the lives of 72 people who posted their intentions to kill themselves on the internet last year.

The figure is up from 44 people in 2006 and comes amid rising alarm over suicide pacts in which strangers meet over the internet and promise to support one another as they kill themselves.

Police last year acted on reports of 121 internet users who suggested through message boards, chatrooms or other online functions that they would kill themselves, the National Police Agency said.

Of them, police talked 72 out of killing themselves, including nine who were actually in the midst of a suicide attempt.

Another 33 cases were considered hoaxes or not serious, while in 16 cases police could not locate the individuals.

It did not give figures for the number of people who killed themselves without police intervention.

In one case, police received a report of a suicidal email.

With help from the internet service provider, police went to the writer's house and found the person about to hang him or herself, the agency said without identifying the individual.

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