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This book is devoted to offering a new concept of non-employment caused by social exclusion. Among labor economic studies, it is the first attempt to investigate the conditions of jobless persons who have completely lost opportunities for daily communication with others.

The new concept provided by this book is “solitary non-employed persons (SNEP).” SNEP are defined as non-employed persons who are normally entirely alone or do not spend time with people other than their family. According to a detailed time-use survey in Japan, SNEP make up almost 70 % of single, jobless persons aged 20 to 59. The number of SNEP doubled in the 2000s.

As a serious issue for non-employment, economists and sociologists have focused on long-term unemployed persons and persons “not in education, employment, or training” (NEET), which include discouraged persons resigning from work. These serious non-employment issues are attributable to and further aggravated by the isolation experienced by the SNEP.

Social withdrawal—that is, the hikikomori who stay indoors—is one notable feature of Japanese youth problems in many cases. Large numbers of the middle-aged jobless Japanese also currently shut themselves in their rooms. The objective approach by the SNEP concept enables us to understand the reality of these withdrawn persons who are now growing in number in many countries. A continuous increase in the number of SNEP will cause several difficulties in society and the economy. SNEP will not make their own livings after the deaths of their families, causing social security costs and financial deficits to further accumulate in the efforts to help them. A shortage of an attractive labor force will accelerate in the future due to the expansion of SNEP within the young and middle-aged populations.

This book proposes appropriate policies to prevent an increase in SNEP in such a way as to generate skilled professionals, as well as to reach out and support them. It will contribute to developing studies for jobless people closely involved in social exclusion, and to finding universal and effective solutions for their inclusion.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Definition and Basic Facts of SNEP

Abstract
1.
Solitary non-employed persons (SNEP) are people who are between the ages of 20 and 59, unmarried, non-employed, not in school, and who normally spend all of their time alone or do not associate with anyone outside their own families.
 
2.
Based on the information detailing respondents’ activities over a randomly designated period of two consecutive days, obtained from the Statistics Bureau’s Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (STULA), the number of SNEP saw a sharp increase in the 2000s, eventually reaching 1.62 million in 2011 and plateauing at 1.55 million in 2016. These values correspond to roughly 60–70% of all unmarried, non-employed people aged 20–59 (UMNEP).
 
3.
Almost half of the UMNEP were the family-type SNEP who normally associate only with their own family. On the other hand, the proportion of individual-type SNEP who spend all of their usual time alone among the UMNEP reached a record high in 2016.
 
4.
A considerable percentage of SNEP had not engaged in any social activities such as sports, traveling, and volunteering in the year-long period leading up to the corresponding survey. The inclination toward social inactivity is most salient among individual-type SNEP.
 
5.
On the whole, 21.03 million non-employed persons fall within the scope of the “solitary” definition. Isolation is common among elderly non-employed persons aged 60 or more, and among non-employed people who are divorced or widowed.
 
Yuji Genda

Chapter 2. The Determinants and Characteristics of SNEP

Abstract
1.
In the past, the attributes that increased the likelihood of someone’s becoming SNEP included being a middle-aged (30 years and older) male, a high school dropout, or having completed only junior high school.
 
2.
However, since the 2000s, a rise has begun to be seen among SNEP from the 20–29 age and university graduate groups, making the isolation of young and educated non-employed persons a more serious problem. Furthermore, in the 2010s, the 30–39 and 40–49 age non-employed groups, which included the “employment ice age” generation, were more likely to become SNEP.
 
3.
Surprisingly, the data showed that people who did not spend any time in medical treatment or care were more likely to become SNEP.
 
4.
Geographic characteristics, such as residential area population, and annual household income did not have any particular bearing on the likelihood of a non-employed person becoming solitary.
 
5.
Living with a family member who required long-term care made it more difficult for individuals to interact with people outside the home, thereby contributing to solitary non-employment, especially before the introduction of the Long-Term Care Insurance System.
 
6.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the “generalization of isolation” has continued to spread. Now, being non-employed increases an individual’s risk of becoming isolated, regardless of gender, age, education, region, or family background.
 
Yuji Genda

Chapter 3. The Daily Lives and Job Searches of SNEP

Abstract
1.
SNEP are not very active in their use of e-mail, SNS, or in retrieving and acquiring information on the Internet. The spread of the Internet is not a factor behind the increase in the SNEP population.
 
2.
SNEP are not obsessed with video, computer, or mobile games. Game addiction is not a cause of the SNEP phenomenon, either. Rather, SNEP spend a great deal of time watching TV, sleeping, resting, relaxing, and practicing their hobbies.
 
3.
There are not many SNEP who spend time receiving medical treatment or care, but those that do so allocate much more of their time to recuperating from illnesses and injuries compared with non-solitary non-employed persons.
 
4.
Most SNEP are not actively hunting for jobs, or simply lack any hope of finding work. These trends are especially evident among family-type SNEP.
 
5.
Many family-type SNEP have abandoned the idea of finding a job. Security provided by their family can sometimes interfere with the efforts of family-type SNEP to find work.
 
6.
The SNEP fuels the NEET phenomenon, and the NEET worsens the SNEP phenomenon. The two create a downward spiral that poses a significant problem to those who are caught in it.
 
Yuji Genda

Chapter 4. The Past, Present, and Future of SNEP

Abstract
1.
The online survey supported the notion that SNEP often do not have friends or acquaintances whom they see regularly and can talk to about problems. Many SNEP refrain from leaving home, even at night.
 
2.
Many individual-type SNEP wake up late and neglect housework. The segment also has a significant percentage of people who refrain from seeking medical attention, despite being mentally unstable, ill, or injured. Generally, individual-type SNEP pursue few hobbies, have few interests, and show relatively little interest in getting married.
 
3.
Whereas a considerable number of individual-type SNEP have worked as regular employees, many family-type SNEP have never been employed.
 
4.
The SNEP population, as a whole, tends to have lacked good friends or relationships with trusted adults during their junior high school years.
 
5.
Overall, SNEP have insufficient savings or assets, leading many to be strongly concerned about their future.
 
6.
There is a sizable contingent of individual-type SNEP who are open to the idea of receiving welfare if the circumstances demand it; in fact, some of the people in this segment are already on welfare.
 
Yuji Genda

Chapter 5. Questions and Answers About SNEP

Abstract
A wide range of questions about the SNEP phenomenon was explained in the previous chapters. This chapter highlights several of the most common questions readers may ask with attempts to provide some helpful answers.
Yuji Genda

Backmatter

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