The cliffs of Tojinbo, Fukui Prefecture, Japan. This is the number two spot for suicide in Japan.
The jagged cliffs attracts thousands of tourists every year. It also has the reputation for being a suicide spot in Japan.
NPO founder, Yukio Shige started patrolling the cliffs in 2004 after retiring as a police officer. He used his retirement pension to set up Kokoro no HIbiku.
NPO Kokoro no Hibiku conducts suicide patrols along Tojinbo. Its office, which doubles as a small cafe, is located near the cliffs. NPO members Yukio Shige (L), Mr. Tanabe (R).
Patrols are conducted along the cliffs two or three times a day, six days a week. Volunteers patrol along the walking paths even in areas closed off to tourists.
Patrol approaching a lone woman sitting at the edge of the cliff.
According to Mr. Shige, when suicidal people arrive at Tojinbo, they do not go to the cliff and jump off immediately. They usually sit for hours which indicates that they do not want to die; they want someone to listen to their troubles.
Even when sitting in secluded areas, people contemplating their fate still want to be heard; they respond when asked by volunteers "Daijobudesuka (Are you okay?)"
Mr. Shige has campaigned to set up barriers and nets to deter people from jumping, but local officials have rejected his plea citing such measures would spoil the beauty of Tojinbo, resulting in lowered tourism.
There are two public phone booths along the cliffs' path. Suicide hotline numbers, coins, cigarettes, and a bible are available for people in need of emotional assistance.
A spec of flowers wrapped in plastic memorializes the area where a 60-year old man from Tokyo jumped to his death in the summer of 2013.
Some people too frightened to jump from Tojinbo, have alternative measures for ending their lives. The original owners of these ropes, drugs and cutters are still alive because of intervention by NPO members.
A tourist stopping by to pay respect to Mr. Shige.
While patrolling the area as a police officer, Mr. Shige came across an elderly couple from Tokyo resting at these benches awaiting the sunset before jumping to their death. Shige persuaded them not to jump and referred them to social services. The couple was told that their financial troubles can not be resolved then hanged themselves five days later.
As of 2015 July, Kokoro no Hibiku members have saved the lives of 521 people.