The latest suicide fad in Japan – and yes, fad is the word – is prompting such concern that authorities there have begun approaching ISPs, asking them to stop serving up information on the techniques used.

Over the last month, around 50 people have killed themselves using hydrogen sulphide gas generated in a bathtub by combining detergent and bath salts – a recipe that has spread recently in online forums like this one.

Others at risk

Only this morning, 350 people were evacuated from their homes in northern Japan after suspicions that the gas may spread after a man killed himself with it in his house.

Although the Japanese government is asking ISPs to remove links to pages featuring instructions on making the gas, it claims it’s not looking to block access per se. Bizarrely, a government minister says that would represent “excessive restrictions on freedom of expression.”

Regardless of how people do it or learn of the methods involved, Japan’s suicide rate has long been one of the highest in the world, something that blaming the internet certainly won’t change.