Intl. meeting on 'hikikomori' held in Japan
NHK -- Dec 27
An international meeting on people who have withdrawn from society has taken place in Japan. Its aim was to discuss how to support such people and their families.

About 20 people attended the gathering on Thursday at Kyushu University Hospital in the western city of Fukuoka.

They included researchers from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and the United States, as well as non-profit groups supporting social recluses, known as "hikikomori" in Japanese.

Cases of social withdrawal have also been reported in other parts of Asia, the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

The participants explained the phenomenon and the support systems in their homelands. A researcher from Hong Kong outlined an effort to help recluses gradually increase social contact through interaction with animals.

The attendees agreed to continue sharing the challenges they face and knowhow on support systems.

The meeting came at the request of Takahiro Kato, a lecturer at the hospital. He said that with the number of recluses projected to rise worldwide, researchers want to clarify the causes in their homelands, and establish support systems.

A researcher from the US said he believes many people in his country worry about this problem, as he receives emails from recluses and their families. He said the meeting was a good opportunity to learn about situations outside the US.

News source: NHK
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