Social isolation is a well-known problem in Japan, where the phenomenon even has an own name: hikikomori.
Until recently, it has been assumed that the insulation of mainly teenagers and people in their 20s. But according to a recent government survey there are an estimated 613 000 hikikomori between 40 and 64 years.
as for at least six months, neither have a job or a training to go to, and who, during the entire period nor do they have contact with someone outside the own family.
– the Number was greater than we had imagined. Hikikomori is not just a problem for younger people, " says a government official with responsibility for the investigation.
Nearly three-quarters of the participants in the survey are men, and about half have lived in isolation for more than seven years, according to the government. The 613 000 exceeds the number of hikikomori in 39 years, which was estimated to 541 000 in a similar state examination from 2016.
be financially dependent on their parents.
– This shows that it is tough to live in the japanese society, " says Rich Ueda, who works for a non-profit organization that provides support to parents of persons who are socially isolated.
She highlighted the strict social codes, the requirements to fit in and the pressures of work culture.
"the Study shows that we should ask ourselves what a happy life really means," says Rich Ueda.