Young people are facing great social, relational, and spiritual challenges in Japan today. They are in many ways the most vulnerable group in society.
As many as one million young people are hikikomori. Hikikomori is a term to describe the large numbers of people refusing to study, work, or even leave their homes during the day, in total rejection of society. Young people are the fastest growing portion of the more than 30,000 people who commit suicide every year.
In addition social problems such as ijime (bullying) and enjo kosai (teenage prostitution) make life feel unlivable or dangerous for many young people today. As many as 9% of high school girls and 4% of junior high school girls have prostituted themselves in Japan. The market for sexual exploitation of young girls in Japan is fueled by lax governmental regulation in Japan, where possession of child pornography is legal.
How can we respond to the challenges facing this generation?