613,000 in Japan aged 40 to 64 are recluses, says first government survey of hikikomori

About 613,000 people aged 40 to 64 are believed to fall into the category of recluses, who hide themselves away in their homes without working, the government’s first survey on the age group showed Friday.

The estimated number of recluses, known as hikikomori, in that age group is higher than those age 15 to 39. There are an estimated 541,000 recluses that fall into the younger age bracket, a Cabinet Office survey in 2015 showed.

The total number of social recluses in Japan is thought to be over 1 million, an official said.

“Adult hikikomori is a new social issue,” said welfare minister Takumi Nemoto. “It should be addressed appropriately by conducting studies and analyses.”

The study showed a total of 46.7 percent of recluses have lived that way for at least seven years, highlighting a trend in which older people are shutting themselves in their homes for longer periods. One in three hikikomori was financially dependent on elderly parents.

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