The “Anti-Poverty Campaign” Presents Speech in Fukui
On November 30th, the “Anti-Poverty Campaign 2019” (backed by the Fukui Shimbun Company) was held at the Fukui Prefectural Education Center, located in Fukui City. In a keynote speech titled, “Middle and Older Aged Hikikomori” by Mr. Tomohiko Masuda, a clinical psychologist and sub-representitive of the Self-actualization Counselling Society, he pleaded, “This is something that can happen to anyone. We wish for the government to be more concerned about this, understand the issue as something closer than we may think, and work towards a solution.”
An executive committee of about 120 people was established, consisting of members from the Fukui Bar Association, the Fukui Judicial Clerk Association, and labour organizations within the prefecture.
Within Japan, the number of middle and older aged (40 to 64 years old) hikikomori is at approximately 610,000, and among the younger age bracket (15 to 39 years old) is estimated at roughly 540,000 people, explained Mr. Masuda. For those within the middle and older aged group, the reasons for the affliction varies among societal factors including employment, and circumstantial factors such as caring for a parent.
“It is not an issue that can be solved through a discourse about self-responsibility,” stressed Mr. Masuda.
Also, excluding family, displayed on an index concerning societal relationships, Japan placed the lowest among developed countries, pointing out that “Japanese people are the loneliest citizens in the world.” In addition, there is a strong correlation between loneliness and being a hikikomori, and statistical data has shown that roughly 40% of solitary deaths involve men and women within the age range of 20 to 60 ears old.
“We wish for everyone to understand that hikikomori is an issue that involves loneliness and death,” pleaded Mr. Masuda.
Last year in the United Kingdom, as a countermeasure, a proposal for a “Minister of Loneliness” cabinet position, and regional administrative support systems for hikikomori were put forward. The strengthening of the social safety net was highlighted.