“Japan says 1.5m people are living as recluses after Covid.” called hikikomori cases. The Guardian. There are many labels, agoraphobic, social anxiety disorder or simply odd but post COVID-19 imposed fear of others and outside, we need to watch out for people who are affected and opt for withdrawal. Fears that lurk in the heads of people but which can be dangerous in the longterm.

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Fifth of hikikomori cases among working-age people attributed to pressures unleashed by pandemic

Justin McCurry in TokyoMon 3 Apr 2023 08.25 BSTLast modified on Tue 4 Apr 2023 04.18 BST

Almost 1.5 million people of working age in Japan are living as social recluses, according to a government survey, with about a fifth of cases attributed to the pressures unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Large numbers of hikikomori said they had begun retreating from mainstream society due to relationship issues and after losing or leaving their jobs, the cabinet office said. A significant proportion – 20.6% – said their predicament had been triggered by changes in lifestyle imposed during the pandemic.

Hikikomori – classed as people who withdraw from society, spending all or almost all of their time isolated at home – account for 2% of people aged 15-62, the survey found.

The cabinet office surveyed 30,000 people between the ages of 10 and 69 across Japan last November. The poll found that just over a fifth of respondents aged 15-39 had been socially isolated from six months to less than a year. More than 20% said they had experienced problems with interpersonal relationships, while just over 18% cited the pandemic.

Among people in the 40-64 age range, 44.5% said their behaviour had been triggered by leaving their jobs, followed by 20.6% who cited the pandemic.

Japan did not enforce UK-style lockdowns to help contain the spread of the virus, but people were asked to avoid unnecessary outings for long periods, and some employers and universities encouraged teleworking and remote learning.

On streets that would normally have been teeming with people there was a dramatic drop in footfall after restaurants, bars and other sectors of the nighttime economy were asked to stop serving alcohol and close early, or face fines.

The rise in the number of people living as recluses has prompted some local authorities to take action. Edogawa, a ward in Tokyo, will hold metaverse socialising events from June to give hikikomori the opportunity to meet people via their avatars.

The ward is home to more than 9,000 people, including students who have stopped attending classes, who describe themselves as hikikomori, according to a 2021 survey.skip past newsletter promotion

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“We don’t think everything will be solved just because we offer a metaverse. It’ll probably be helpful for some people,” the ward’s mayor, Takeshi Saito, told the Mainichi Shimbun. “We are targeting those who can’t leave their rooms and haven’t been interacting with other people. We want to help them take a step forward.”

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About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for Irishhealth.com 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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