Tuesday, August 29

Japan's secret epidemic

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo

Monday 31 May 2004, 0:33 Makka Time, 21:33 GMT

"Hikikomori" is not a word that crops up too often in polite society in Japan.

It is a problem that someone else has to deal with; a situation that families think - hope - will not affect them.

The bad news is that an affliction that translates as "social withdrawal", which has only really begun to be recognised in the last decade, is now reaching epidemic proportions.

According to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, as many as 1.2 million people have fallen victim to an illness that few people, if any, know how to handle.

The outward manifestation that a family is suffering, however, fits a pattern.

Al Jazeera article on hikkimori

Interesting article on hikkimori from one of world most dynamic news group.