Japan: The Age of Social Withdrawal
As the coronavirus pandemic plunged the world into lockdown, for many in Japan the social isolation that was imposed was nothing out of the ordinary. Why have so many in Japan become socially withdrawn - even before the pandemic?
The Japanese government estimates that around one million Japanese people live in social isolation. In Tokyo, 54-year old Kenji lives a reclusive life because he feels out of place in Japanese society: 'It's a sense or feeling that you shouldn't be here.' Meanwhile, in Ibaraki prefecture, another reclusive man searches for a job - but 14 years of withdrawal makes this a challenge. 'Networks, connections and experience... These are things that matter in Japan'. Children, too, are withdrawing, overwhelmed by a strict schooling system - which has led to NGOs setting up alternative educational institutions. 'Telling them to go back to work or go back to school straight away is not the way,' explains a leader of one education centre.FULL SYNOPSIS