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Jul. 27 2010 - 10:59 am | 272 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Crisis in Japan: Plunging birth rates and more ‘bedroom shut-ins’ may spell national disaster

The end of the American empire will come not at the business end of a gun, but the cream-filled center of a Twinkie. We’re a disgusting, gluttonous people who will eventually evolve into massive flipper-babies floating in tubs of artificial amniotic fluid. (If we’re lucky.) Japan, on the other hand, will wither away under the crushing weight of joblessness and omnipresent pube-free pornography. As reported by the Mainichi Daily News, the problem of hikikomori, or chronic shut-ins, is so widespread that it constitutes a national crisis:

There are approximately 230,000 people who almost constantly shut themselves in their rooms except to go to nearby convenience stores, according to a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office. The number increases to about 700,000 if those who only go out to do something hobby-related are included.

Moreover, there are an estimated 1.55 million potential so-called ‘hikikomori’ who have felt like shutting themselves in their own rooms. Most of them are young people.

As the population of young people declines due to falling birthrates, the statistics have raised questions about the future of Japan…

Problems involving shut-ins have been pointed out over the past 15 years, but only experts and nonprofit organizations have worked on the issue, with little public support. The government has been late in responding to the situation and taken only stopgap measures. Numerous cases have ended in tragic incidents, and the situation was worsened as a result of treatment and education that lacked solid scientific foundations.

This latest survey shows that nearly 50 percent of hikikomori shut themselves away due to work problems or trouble job-hunting. Nearly three-quarters of hikikomori are men. Since this is Japan, arguably the world capital of filial shame, being identified as a shut-in can be worse than the problems that prompted the behavior in the first place. Typical comments from the survey: ”I’m sorry for my family”; “I’m worried how other people view me”; and “I sometimes feel it’s painful to live.”

To combat the growing problem, the federal government is launching a reeducation camp aimed at reintegrating hikikomori back into society. Which sounds creepy, but what else are they going to do? On this side of the globe, we’d send camera crews to document the downward spirals for an A&E series.

Crossposted at Caveat Viator


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