MISE À DAY
Japan has nearly 1.5 million social recluses or “hikikomori,” as they are called in the country, nearly 20% of whom attribute their withdrawal from society to the pandemic, according to a study by the Japanese government.
The phenomenon affects around 2% of 15-64 year olds in the archipelago (1.46 million people), according to this survey carried out in November 2022 published last Friday, the most comprehensive to date by the government.
The most common reason respondents gave for leaving the company was leaving their job, followed by close by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It seems that some people fit our definition of hikikomori because they were discouraged from going out by COVID, and therefore ended up having less contact with society,” government official Koji Naito told AFP.
Hikikomori are defined in this study as people between the ages of 15 and 64 who avoid participating in activities such as going to school or to work and who, for at least six months, have only been out for leisure or to do errands, or hardly ever leave their home.