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Aso Vows to Drag NEETs & Hikikomori From Their Rooms


The diet is hearing a proposal which would seek to aggressively eliminate the phenomenon of NEETs and hikikomori shut-ins, forcing them to “participate in society” (earn a taxable income), and seeking to cure them of whatever ill it is which stops them holding a regular job like everyone else.

The proposed law, tentatively dubbed the “Young Persons Support Law”, will go before the Diet in 2009, with proponents citing the possibility of NEET numbers increasing in the poor economic climate.

The previous measures instituted by the labour ministry included “Regional Young Persons Support Stations”, where NEETs and hikikomori could be told to get a proper job, but as these stations actually required the shut-ins to physically leave their homes and come to the station, they are regarded as being completely ineffective.

The new measures will see the state tracking NEETs and hikikomori, and then dispatching specialists (“youth advisors”, doctors and probation officers are mentioned) to herd them into work, enlisting the aid of their parents if they do not live alone.

It is not clear what powers the scheme will grant when the targets do not want to be helped into drudgery, but it seems unlikely to allow anything more than mild but persistent harassment by the “specialists”.

Rozen Aso has this to say: “With this new law we plan to furnish troubled young people with independence, and extend a helping hand to them”.

There are thought to be some 620,000 NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in Japan, not including the hated freeters (people working only part-time) or the almost as disdained unemployed; the actual population of hikikomori is largely unknown, having only been guessed at and then fretted about in the mass media, but is likely to be only in the thousands or tens of thousands.

Both the Japanese and international media have fretted about hikikomori extensively, but no statistical evidence has yet been presented to suggest that the problem in Japan is actually widespread, or that it is any more common than with similar (but ignored) socially withdrawn individuals in other countries.

Via Sankei.

An unwarranted intrusion of the state into the private lives of its citizens, or a valiant effort to reach out to the socially marginalised?

Whatever the case, it’s clear the government needs the extra tax revenue desperately if it is to pay the pensions of an aging society which cunningly voted itself an overly generous welfare state, and it can make a start on this by making these young deviants work to that end…

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  • Humans were originally social animals, perhaps why many people find it uncomfortable that there are people who choose to move away (ie: Hikkikomori).
    Despite having the freedom of choice, this is not how the system works. The system dictates us, we have no freedom. If freedom was real, then there would be no social hierarchy, bureaucracy, money etc.
    Because we choose to differ each other with such things, the system will always dictate us what to do.
    And thus, they demand every human to be sucked into this whirlpool of money. You must work to have money, this and that needs money. It isn’t the government or the society’s fault, it is the system.
    The ‘system’ makes everyone it’s victim. Until we can break free from it, we shall be dictated and trapped by it.

  • Firstly, there are a finite number of primes p where the reduction of E to p is bad for one reason or another; we multiply all these primes p together to form the conductor N, which then gets carried along throughout the rest of the construction. ,

  • Anonymous says:

    i have an aunt, and she isn’t what you’d call straight out neet, but well, she doesn’t have work and her sisters(my mom included) support her.

    and well, frankly, i believe in survival of the fittest.

    if you can’t work for a reason or don’t wanna. too bad.

    i know its cruel reading it, but srsly, it will only get worse. we have enough people now as it is.

    my cousin, perfectly healthy, capable, but unemployed. why? he a lazy fucker.

    what’s irking me is that he is good looking. srsly. he coulda gotten a girl with a job, maybe even a good lookin girl with a good job, but no, he had to knock up an unemployed bitch.

    if they can drag all em hikki and whatnot, fine. i doubt it tho. what happened to this generation anyway? vidya games? animu? mango?

  • Man does not live by bread alone. No one can live – in any extended sense of “to live” – by the grace of economic necessity alone, or the threat of physical violence. A human being is not a beast or machine, and the value of human life does not come from work. The argument that in a free society everyone should support themselves is hypocritical because what do you do in a free society? – spend the first eighteen years of your life having your physical movements essentially controlled day in and day out and your brain crammed full of information regardless of your own tastes or wishes. Freedom does not mean you get tossed out on your ass after being totally subordinate to another’s discretion for two decades (and before that, of course, not asking to be born in the first place). Society must do better than that.

    I’m not saying that NEETs are a form a political activism against society’s failure to make life feel worth while for so many of the members whom it forcibly introduces. But they almost certainly are a symptom of the times, and it is staggeringly smallminded to try and force these individuals to do something, anything in times like this. I think it is noble to try and help them, since most likely no one actually wants to live as a shut-in, but I doubt if that’s the main point of Aso’s initiative. He obviously does not have the most refined mind among world leaders, and E Asian societies in general have a history of stressing the appearance of harmony in lieu of the reality; you could say that the nail that sticks out gets pounded *down* not necessarily *in*

    Economic arguments aside, no society can justify its own structure and norms by the threat of force or “you have to.” Human dignity demands better. For the most part people seem to derive value from their relationships with others. A parent will work happily even at a lame job to support their offspring (incidentally this raises the question of the actual initiative: whether they worked for the kids’ sake, or in the first place they just popped out a kid for normality’s sake and so that they could stop questioning how they lived their own life – forcing the crisis on the subsequent generation).

    However, when no one needs you and you don’t have any pressing desires it is a much different case. It is virtual slavery, by coercion if not force, to be expected to spend the rest of your life doing unpleasant (and perhaps pointless) things just to pay your own rent. Some people will find purpose. Some will pass the onus of doubt to the next generation. However many people will choose poverty, alienation and even death over such a disingenuous existence.

    • Anonymous says:

      well ifn you need someone to point out to you that you need work, you need to pay for rent, for food.

      well that’s the problem there. (not you tc per se)

      we are born, we go to school(optional), we get jobs.

      now if yer bill gate’s spawn, well then good for you, damn bourgeois ppl born with a damn silver spoon in their pie whole.

      but if yer like the majority of the world, well then ya hafta work.

      its not “the norm” because someone willed it. its not a conspiracy. money makes the world go round. shape up or ship out. what then if the loving parent dies. the 40 something son/daughter just starves to death? better shape up now before whoever is providing goes away so to speak.

  • Hentaispyder says:

    BACK THE FUCK OFF!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      screw that. don’t leave em alone.

      i mean its not like hikkis are trained in self defense or shit. get in there, pull em out, make em work.

      no work = no internetz. and food and other shit

  • Well, obviously I was never a hikki, since I’m not Japanese. But I was a NEET for quite some time (about a year) and largely secluded myself in my room (I shared a house in NYC (they do exist) with some people). Mostly because I hated my job, I never was good at dealing with people, and preferred to spend my time on anime, manga, and games.

    I was basically forced back into the job market because I simply ran out of money. I sold everything I could, but it wasn’t enough. My mother wouldn’t pay for me obviously, since parents in the US don’t feel obligated to support their offspring forever like they do elsewhere. If the same thing happened to Japanese hikkis, maybe they’d be forced to pull a Satou and drag their asses to the ramen shop for a job.

    tl;dr parents need to stop enabling their NEET children.

  • Maybe the japs should start allowing younger people from other countries into theirs, but no way that this is ever going to happne because they are so racist and all. Have fun with 70% old people.

    • The same thing is happening in Europe, and will happen (to a lesser degree, but still with much effect) in the US.

      Much of Europe, especially the southern region, relies on immigration to bulk up the population. This trend will only continue in the future, and extend into the north and west.

      In the US, the baby boomers are already retiring, and demanding out-sized entitlements from the government and private pension plans. The younger generation (ie, you and me) have no chance to receive the same treatment, but are expected to pay for the happy and carefree retirement of those who wrecked our economy and sent our friends to war for the profit of the older generation.

      Take a look at the SSI portion of every paycheck you ever get. It’s going to pay for those who want nothing more than to take from you all you have.

  • Without getting too political… and only appealing to the anime/manga obsessed NEETS/Hikikomoris, what if they were to be given some kind of role within the anime/manga/game industry? though I realize this wouldn’t have an effect on the ones that are shut up just because of phobias of society or the judgement of others. It could still be effective if, say maybe they were allowed to work in comic book shops or arcades. Not necessarily as clerks but maybe maintenance crew or stockers/receivers. Or also have schools in Japan that aren’t so difficult to get in, kind of like the technical schools in the US. Schools where they can learn specialized skills such as programming and the like.

  • Being one of the more radical NEETs myself, I think this is a bad idea. Both my parents, and a psychologist failed to convience me that working for life is worth it. Why? Because it’s a lie. Living is not worth that much work. Humans have survival instincts so they work if they need to stay alive, even if dying is a better option. If a goverment person (who I obviously won’t believe because they are at command so its their fault the world is not to my liking) tries it, they have 0 chance. And the reason why I don’t go out? There are annoying advertisements everywhere, the streets are filthy (doesn’t apply to normal countries, but unfortunately mine is), and…going out costs way too much money. You know…transporation isn’t free…it’s expensive.
    If you work 8 hours a day, spend another 1-2 hour in the traffic to go to work, spend hours with cleaning cooking, and other housework, then…when are you living your life? You are like a slave for capitalism…no thank you, I don’t need it. I want a better system. One where children are not forced to school against their will, to spend 12+ years of their life learning 80-90% useless stuff they forget in a few months anyway. One where they spend taxes on the most important stuff for our lives…free food,free transportation at least in the city, free electricity, free internet, free water…one where companies are in the hands of the government and produce profit for the citizens, and not for some multi-billionare foreign person. Think about it, everything you use daily costs money…as long as the most important things still cost money, you need to work for you life…that is slavery. You don’t have a choice of working for more money or not working and live at an acceptable lower level…you either work and still live on a lower level, because living is expensive, or not, and die, get homeless etc..
    The world is rotten, and is about to fall apart. A new system is necessary, capitalism doesn’t work.

    Oh one more thing…they measure a country’s success in how much their GPD (production) increased a year…that’s crazy. With only 3% GDP increment a year, in 100 years, it is a 1900% increment. (200 years means 36900%, etc) That means, you need 1900% more raw materials (Earth will run out of them), you need 1900% more consumption (Humans don’t need 19 times more food,services etc, so it won’t work out unless you have 19 times more population, or make them watch 19 times more advertisement and believe they are stupid enough to actually fall for it), you generate 1900% more trash, but you won’t need 1900% more workforce because more efficient technology allows for this much production without any additional work needed. Result : Only 1 out of 19 people will have actual productive jobs, the rest either do useless work and get paid for it (bad) or, get homeless (even worse as they can’t consume so it causes overproduction). So this system is plain crazy. It’s unbelievable that other people don’t notice this, and the system still works this way.

    • I agree wholeheartedly that working sucks ass–when I started full-time work after being a freeter/near-NEET for years, I became seriously depressed. The problem is, getting something from others (i.e. food, shelter, internet service) requires either persuasion, dishonesty, or violence. Working and using the currency you then receive is persuasion; trying to convince people that they have a moral obligation to serve you is dishonest; setting up a system via government where others have to work for your benefit is (/requires) violence.

    • “If a goverment person (who I obviously won’t believe because they are at command so its their fault the world is not to my liking) tries it, they have 0 chance.”
      True, NEET don’t want to be helped in the first place and sending in a psychologist won’t change that either. When NEET do want to be helped they can easily work it out with their family and get back on track.

      “If you work 8 hours a day, spend another 1-2 hour in the traffic to go to work, spend hours with cleaning cooking, and other housework, then…when are you living your life? You are like a slave for capitalism…no thank you, I don’t need it.”
      You are missing one major point here, what if I actually love doing my job?(and I do) To me work equals having fun and doing this work makes me feel alive. If you want to know how I found it try things that have interested you ever since you were young.

      “One where children are not forced to school against their will, to spend 12+ years of their life learning 80-90% useless stuff they forget in a few months anyway.”
      Now that’s just incredibly short-sighted and stupid, no comment.

      Spoiler: The World is to nobody’s total liking, get over it and enjoy it the most while you still can.

    • your vision to the world are too negative
      not that i care though, just feel like to reply

      i dun care if i got promotion or not
      my dream of living is:
      -get money to fulfill my otaku hobby’s
      -get a wife
      -make 2 or 4 children
      -life a happy life with my family, and my father & mother
      -die when i can’t be preserved anymore

      its my dream
      my optional objective is:
      becoming a well known & well payed anime artist

    • Considering that actual slavery was legitimate three centuries ago, and human trafficking is a problem in certain parts of the world,
      I think its pretty insulting to equate being a wage earner with slavery.

    • Then you’re lucky you have people who you can mooch off. Your parents did the wrong thing, taking you to a shrink; they should send you off to a farm and see how long you last sitting in a room crying into a pillow about how horrible life is when there’s nobody to pamper to your pathetic life.

    • well, life might not be worth trying for you, but you could at least try learning economics, that’s one major you can use without leaving your room, buddy. And I don’t know how YOU studied to lose nearly everything you’ve learned, but I remember at least half (an estimate) of what I’ve learned through each year during my first 12 years of education.

      and capitalism’s been surviving for quite a while, it works, doesn’t mean it’s equal. See what all those attempts at socialism and communism did to the people; if I have to choose between equality and social tranquility, I’d choose the latter.

        • Japan’s defense expenditures are, compared to their GDP, low – below 1%. Compared to most other countries, however, they are still pretty high – at least in the same ballpark as France, the UK or Germany. Japan has a comparably small force, does not need to maintain a costly nuclear arsenal, nor pay for large-scale global deployment of troops. So they can get a lot of bang out of their money, especially in the naval arm.

          Now, China. Their *army* (ground force) is obviously extremely powerful – if for no other reason than its immense size. I doubt that anybody could win a land war against China on or near her own territory. Technological progress will only further strengthen them.
          As for their navy… the PLAN is making great progress in modernizing and expanding its capabilities, but is technologically still considerably behind Japan, South Korea or the US. It is also considerably inferior, in number of major surface combatants, to Japan. In another 20 years, the picture might be quite different.
          The Chinese do have some things the Japanese don’t have, especially nuke subs, but these are of questionable capability. The new subs the Chinese are now testing will definitely lessen the technology gap, though.

          Btw I was a humble Lt. JG in the German navy. Mostly worked on radars and anti-aircraft weapons. Got around quite a bit, though, and worked with sailors of several different NATO navies (and even a few non-NATO ones.)

          About the connection to hikikomori: Don’t ask me. Alex1 brought it up. Maybe he thinks they should all be drafted.

        • How about China’s military then, Toby? The US may be backing Japan up, but they’ve cut back on a lot of funding as I recall.

          I’m more than willing to concede my knowledge of Japan’s defenses are less than yours (as a former naval officer…. which rank and field were you in, if it’s not asking too much? My father wasn’t an officer, but he served as a hospital corpsman in the field during the Vietnam Conflict :)).

          What Japan’s armed forces has to do with the problem (or lack of any real problems) with the large number of hikkikomori/NEETs isn’t quite clear to me.

        • This is pure, weapons-grade, bullonium.
          The JSDF are one of the best, if not *the* best, equipped and trained armed forces in Asia. The JMSDF especially is one of the most capable navies on the planet. In my not so humble opinion as a former naval officer, it’s second only to the US Navy in the Pacific, and a credible runner-up for the second most capable navy worldwide, with the UK and France being the only serious competition.

      • Hm?
        If we’re talking about real GDP growth, how exactly does it work differently? Real GDP growth means an increase in the actual value of goods and services bought by people or institutions over the year – already adjusted for inflation.
        Of course this does not translate 1:1 into raw materials – use of raw materials does become more efficient as well. But one only has to take a look at the development of oil consumption in, say, the last 50 years to see that there is a definite correlation.

        As for “capitalism works”, this is an entirely meaningless statement. You might as well say “earthquakes work”. They exist, they have not yet been replaced by a better system, nor will they be in the forseeable future, their ill effects can somehow be dealt with – they “work”.

        Capitalism, unlike Communism, has no standards for “it works” except “it works”. And that one is pretty easy to fulfil. It still “works” when there are billions of starving people around, because that’s part of the system. It still works when the natural resources of the planet are being plundered, because that’s part of the system. It still works when global banking crashes and sends the whole economy into a downward spiral, because even that is part of the system. Capitalism is pretty much the original “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”

        Note that any of this is a particularly good reason not to work… it’s better to carve out a niche for yourself, even in a system you don’t like. And actually, not working because you can afford it is pretty Capitalist in itself.
        For example, none of the staunch defenders of Capitalism will ever call for the state-mandated disinheritance of billionaires’ children in order to insure that they work. Work is mandatory – unless you were born rich.

        • How does GDP work?

          Well, first you gather up all the compulsive liars and sociopaths in your country’s rich neighborhoods.

          Then you make them get degrees in Finance and put them in charge of the banks.

          They lie, cheat, steal, and make up whatever numbers they like.

          GDP is one of their propaganda fabrications.

    • What about them? LOL ok ok that was wrong, but those such phobias can be real bad, aside from getting them teleconferencing jobs or something that they can do at home…there aren’t many options to help such people en mass. Besides are we talking about these people wanting to be at home and not go out, or that these phobias are the only thing keeping them in? Because if they WANT to be hikkikomori/NEET…you definitely have a fight on your hands.

      • I have to respectively disagree about hikki/neets wanting to be in that situation. They may think they’ve chosen to be in that situation but inside no one wants to live that way for the rest of their lives. Most people take the initiative to start their own lives and move forward. But in the case of, hikki/neets, they are either too scared or directionless about how to go about it. Which is why they DO need some assistance to get on with their lives. Independence is what we all strive for.

  • Just have the government open a booth at comiket, and encourage getting jobs with rewards or even promote loans for otaku self employment so they can open businesses like website construction or model kits.

    Stop trying to force shut-ins to do something. It’s stupid. But I do hope people that need help get it. Carrot and encouragement works much better than the stick and regulation.

    Also find a way to lower rent, no wonder people live at their parents. Hardly anyone can afford a place to live.

    • I agree on the carrot encouragement method. It is better to encourage and entice the NEETs and Hikkis rather than drag them.

      The government can not only put up a booth at otaku-related events but also maybe put up a help center for NEETs & Hikkis in Akiba or something.

      • There have been different methods that have worked with Hikki’s. Some by forcibly getting them out into society or others, by slowing integrating them in by having them socialize and living independently with other Hikki’s who are in the same situation. The sooner the better.

  • I say get them out. Though i’m a bit of a hikki myself, i still worked during my holidays to earn some extra cash.

    For one thing, getting a job and keeping it is liberating. A good start if you ask me. Just keep it persistent but not forced.

    No freedom of speech issue as far as i can see.

  • i just don’t understand these hikkikomori’s
    aren’t we go to school & college so that we can be useful for society, or think we are?

    i personally hate myself for being dependent on something

    i still living with my parent and 18 though :p

    • I went to school and college for my own interests, I say screw society as it screwed me over plenty of times. I’m not much of a social withdrawal but studying and working for the sake of others’ happiness is just lying about your own feelings in my opinion. I had things I wanted to achieve in life and being almost there I still have much of a freeter lifestyle.
      I think the main problem with the NEETs is the fact that they lack a combination of passion and assertivity. Keeping the japanese schooling system, culture and general doctrine in mind that being successful and getting a high pay is considered a prime personal goal; I’m not surprised by the large development of these troubled men. Under these pressures of actually being individualists vs. following the system they either kill themselves or become NEET.

    • The thing is people outside Japan don’t understand the culture there. For me personally, shutting yourself in your room is not something that I would do, because of my own upbringing, and my religion’s teaching which wants me to be a better man for the society.
      There, the society don’t really care. If not why there are some chikan incidents where the culprit does it in full view but no one helps the victim? Because they don’t care and they have been brought up by this “I don’t want to be involved” kind of mentality.
      Back to hikkis, they are right now leeching the resources out of the country, when in fact, they are the future, and should contribute back. Yes, the steps might be wrong, but then again, the implication of not doing anything to counter this would be larger on the long run to the economic structure, when the current generation of leaders have retired, and they have to rely on the youngsters to lead the country.
      Also from another economic view, try looking at it this way, you have opening for work, and yet to fill it, you have to higher foreign help because local youth are not fulfilling these quota. Now by hiring foreigns, they have to pay for Visa, passport, and also some of these foreigners might cause some trouble.

      • Chikan don’t get away with things as much as anime likes us to think they do. I remember one old article where one Chikan got his dumb ass killed because someone stomped on his head after a molesting spree.

      • To add to your comment on chikans, as has been posted on this site a few times before, helping those poor girls gets you in more trouble with the police than what the perpetrator would get in…so even those that DO care know full well that it will very likely get them in trouble.

        Perhaps I’m opening a can of worms I shouldn’t here, but if they really want to stop this “problem” that they have, they need to go and abolish welfare. Yes alot of people need something like that, but how else are these NEETs and hikkikomoris getting their funds to live and satiate their collections. Their parents? That’s a problem that the parents need to solve. Being about half NEET myself, i can understand to a degree how these guys get away with it. I’ve been unemployed in the USA for a substantial length of time I won’t discuss, but the point is that they have almost no motivation to NEED to go outside, NEED to contribute, and since they can get away with it, they do.

        I personally have plans to get into the armed forces, specifically the US Navy, but that is for another day’s discussion.

        • Hmm…I do think I agree with these guys that are going commi on Japan…since at least according to those news articles the Japanese government is basically telling them “you take what employers give you and you will like it” and while advancement I don’t see being the main problem, it’s the job security and shitty pay mostly, though NO chance of advancement is too much.

        • Hey man, thanks for reading the post, I did somehow know what i was saying was going to end up being refuted, but thanks for the reading material, always looking to learn something, though I more often than not doubt I’ll remember it.

        • I know you mean well, but the welfare situation in Japan is completely different from the situation in America. Here’s an article on how hard it is to get on Japanese welfare:

          Now, that article’s from 1996, so you might think it’s out of date. If anything, it’s even harder now to get on welfare- in late 2007, a 53-year-old man died from starvation after repeatedly being refused welfare. Officials were supportive of the action until his diary was revealed- he wrote of eating nothing for 10 days and wanting a simple ball of rice:

          It’s far more likely that a NEET survives by living off his family than off welfare, since the NEET won’t be getting welfare anytime soon. As you say, this is “a problem that the parents need to solve”. Don’t blame the parents entirely, though- Japanese youth are forced to choose between a rock and a hard place- unemployment, or part-time work for terrible wages:

          The above article emphasizes the “Communist Party” stuff to draw eyes, but the reasons behind the move are more important: Japanese youth are getting crap part-time jobs with little hope of full-time employment. All those “fleeters” might not be that way by choice.

          To keep this anime-related, think of how they always show the male lead taking some part-time job in construction. Now imagine having to do that for the rest of your life without any chance of a promotion or raise. In this case, welfare isn’t the problem- having no future prospects is.

    • And look where that got us, sir. The current economic China Syndrome is due to that kind of thinking. Paper Money is usually backed by some kind of valuable metal like gold, or silver as was done in the 19th Century and earlier. But over time, the gold backing the paper money was quietly removed and now all we have is money which others *agree* is worth something. In essence, a promissory note. Try calling in the gold amount which your dollar bill/yen note/pound note is backed by… see how much gold you get :3.

      And… I’m all for the Misaki-type advisor coming to the home if it gets me up and excited. *Part* of me anyway. XD

      • A gold standard is just as fiduciary a system as one based on a bank. Gold only has value in so far as there exists a market for it, just as a promissory note depends on the stability of a government. To my mind, the likes of the US government, such as it is, possesses far more credibility than a few lumps of yellow rock.

        • I dunno Artefact…. the bank’s credibility is looking worse and worse the more I hear about how their spending the bailout money footed by the taxpayers (the rest of us Americans).

          I mean…. multimillion dollar bonuses to retain the same dead wood at the corporate pinnacle which drove the economy into the ground in the first place? o_0 And I’m aware not ALL bankers are the same way. Just like not all sociopaths are the same. Some will smile at you before they shank you, others won’t even do that much.

          If it seems like I have an inherent mistrust of the banking institutions, that’s out of one part bitter experience and another part spent watching other events unfold.

  • Not going to work. Will only drive them further away from society. It’s pretty pathetic they only care about getting taxes from these people instead of really helping.

    What would really help is for people to stop ostracizing people for their hobbies and trying to censor anime and manga into oblivion.

    Obviously, the neet problem is not as bad as the reactionaries think, since there are obviously a lot of anime and manga fans with money to buy all the stuff.