Tokyo: Even with overall suicide numbers steadily declining over the past 15 years, Japanese youth suicides have reached a 30-year-high, according to the country’s education ministry’s statement on Monday.

A total of 250 children in elementary school, middle school and high school have committed suicide in the fiscal year through March, up from 245 last year, according to a ministry survey. This has been the highest since 1986, when an astounding 268 students took their own lives.

“The number of suicides have stayed high, which is an alarming issue that must be tackled,” ministry official Noriaki Kitazaki said.

It is difficult to determine the factors behind the increase, he said.