Almost every day, Yukio Shige spends his days standing by the sea, with his binoculars trained to his eyes. His schedule rarely changes even though his services are rarely needed on rainy days. During his 42 years as a police officer, much of his job involved removing dead bodies at the same location.
Although this made him more comfortable with death than most people, it also made him determined to prevent it as much as he could. You see, all of the people whose bodies he had been removing had died from suicide.
In Japan, more people die by suicide than almost anywhere else in the developed world. The only other country with more deaths by suicide is its neighbor, South Korea. While Japan regularly records over 20,000 suicides every year, the United States, in comparison, mercifully lags somewhat behind with a suicide rate of 13.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
One day, in 2003, Yukio spotted an old couple by the beach. When he approached them, they told him they planned to commit suicide because they were swimming in debt. He managed to save them, but after they were sent away, they hanged themselves five days later.