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An international meeting on people who have withdrawn from society has taken place in Japan.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
Feb 21
With hay fever season ramping up and the flu still thriving, the spread of the novel coronavirus poses a challenge for medical institutions nationwide, which face the prospect of being flooded with patients who believe they have COVID-19. (Japan Times)
Feb 20
Authorities in some prefectures where people are confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus are providing multilingual information services for foreigners visiting or living in Japan. (NHK)
Feb 19
Kanagawa Prefectural Police believe a high school girl committed suicide by leaping in front of a train on Tuesday morning, an incident that she possbily broadcast on social media, reports NHK (Feb. 18). (
Feb 13
The Board of Education in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture, says that several 8th grade junior high school boys are suspected of voyeuristically filming up the skirts of their female classmates. (Japan Today)
Feb 12
Japan's Immigration Services Agency is to tighten the screening process for issuing student visas, increasing tenfold the number of countries subject to stricter checks starting with foreign nationals applying from April. (Nikkei)
Feb 10
Young women in Japan are experiencing serious financial trouble. (
Feb 08
An 18-year-old female student has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after she stabbed a fellow student with a knife at a high school in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture,. (Japan Today)
Feb 06
Amid the growing spread of new coronavirus 2019-nCoV, universities and high schools approaching entrance exam season nationwide are setting out precautions for examinees, including allowing them to wear masks during the tests and reimbursing test fees if an infection prevents them from sitting their exams. (Japan Times)
Feb 01
The number of foreign workers in Japan totaled 1,658,804 as of October last year, up 13.6 percent from a year earlier and marking the highest level on record, government data showed Friday. (Japan Times)
Jan 31
Japan will allow more foreign nationals, including those holding short-term visas, to take a skills test from April under the new blue-collar visa program that is aimed at addressing national labor shortages, immigration officials said Thursday. (Japan Times)