My future plans

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

by Masatoshi Yamamoto

I am 19 years old now, and I will graduate from this university in three years. After graduating, I will become a member of the society. However, it is hard to be a regular worker now. There are a lot of irregular workers in Japanese society. Their life is very unstable because of their jobs. It is one of the serious problems in Japan. You can see that Japanese society is very precarious through the book, so I feel uneasy about my future.

First, I am worried whether I can get a stable job. I don’t want to change my work. The employer can discard and replace irregular workers. Therefore, I think that if I become an irregular worker, I will have to spend with the anxiety every day. I don’t know what kind of job I want to get in my future, so I cannot have an enough image of my future. However, I want to be a regular worker and have a stable life.

Second, where is my ibasho (a place of security and stability)? I think that it is my family. I feel very comfortable when I am with my family. My parents are very kind to me. Thanks to them, I could grow up, and thanks to my sister, I can enjoy with her at my home every day. Therefore, my family is very important existence for me. In my future, I also want to have my family, and it will be my ibasho. Of course, my friends are also important for me. I can enjoy my university life with them and help each other when we have problems. I think that the relationships with friends in university life are essential because the relationships will continue from now on.

Through Precarious Japan, there are a lot of serious problems in Japan such as kakusa shakai, hikikomori and muen shakai. I have never experience these feelings because I am rich in friendships and have nice family. I go to university every day and communicate with many people. My parents support my family, so I can have plenty of money. I think that I am really in a lucky circumstance. I have to appreciate for people around me, and I also think that ibasho is necessary for each person to solve the problems such as withdrawal. It will help us when we have issues. Every people should earn each places.

1.62 million single jobless Japanese socially ‘isolated’: study

by Robert Moorehead

From The Japan Times:

A total of 1.62 million single unemployed people between the ages of 20 and 59 were “isolated” in Japanese society in 2011, according to a new study released Sunday.

The study defined as “isolated” those who fell within the age parameters and were not employed, receiving education or married, and who were alone or only in contact with family members on two consecutive days of the year.

(This bears repeating: All it takes to be officially “isolated” is being single and either unemployed or not in school, and staying home for two consecutive days.)

Based on surveys conducted by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry every five years, the study estimated that some 2.56 million single people in the 20-59 age bracket were not working or studying in 2011. Of those, 1.62 million were judged to be “isolated” from society, a 45 percent spike from the 1.12 million seen in 2006.

The study, led by University of Tokyo professor Yuji Genda, was commissioned by the education ministry-affiliated Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

“‘Isolated’ people tend to lose the will to find a job, and they are highly likely to end up in a financial bind,” Genda said.

He pointed to the urgent need for the central and local governments to assist such people by sending counselors to visit their homes and by introducing other measures to curb the rising social security costs engendered.

Meanwhile, a government white paper has shown that the total number of people aged 15 to 34 who were not in employment, education or training in 2012 stood at 630,000.

Experts have warned that the growing number of older single people without work is an emerging issue that especially needs to be addressed by the government.

(I’m not denying that social isolation can be a serious problem. The Japanese economy provides few opportunities for those who, for whatever reason, are not on the traditional employment paths. But you would think that the truly isolated spend more than just two days in a row at home.)

The responsibility for the developed country and the issues with developing country

by Mao Shibata

Many poor cities that distributed before have been changing greatly and they become global cities as well as New York, London, and Tokyo. According to Goldman and Longhofer, (2009, p33) “global or world citied are now believed to be key sites from which the global economy will derive its ingenuity and energy.” Although making global cities yield some profits, they also cause some serious problems for residents. In this report, I’d like to indicate what the issues of making global cities are and offer a direction to solve these issues.

Poor cities have grown into world cities rapidly since 1980s. As a result, it brings unequal society in many respects. For example, the infrastructure building promotes around the capital, while the rural area gets left behind in the urbanization and people depart from the countryside and overpopulate surrounding the metropolis so that the population density different from region to reason extremely. Moreover, rapidly economic growth causes acceleration in the inflation rate. In this goods inflation, people who earn enough money can afford to buy whatever they want, while people who have low income face in financial trouble. Accordingly, these differences widen the gap between the rich and the poor more and more. Due to a considerable gap between urbanized and deurbanized region in the global cities, it leads to social inequality.

As two authors said, world cities are key sites for the global economy and finance so that many companies in developed countries move into developing cities to produce more profits. It encourages growth of developing countries, on the other hand, it also endanger the residents’ daily life. First, because of increased urbanization, residents are seized their land. The residents especially farmers and the poor are deprived of their property to found airport, hotels, and recreation amenities for the rich or people in developed countries. They get kicked out of their land and force to live in informal place. Second, the poor’s lives become victim to meet the demand of developed countries. Since the supply of water and electric power that essential for people’s life has a chronic shortage and the infrastructure equipment is inadequacy, it leads to diarrhea and waterborne diseases. They are deprived of the right to live in safely and spend their lives with anxiety.

It is true that global cities are central importance in the world and they contribute to world economy, however, we merely focus on benefits of the global cities and put out these issues from our mind. We must know that there is unequal society and only so many people who live in metropolis or developed countries can reap a benefit while the poor suffer from their lives in countryside. We need to pay attention to country people’s live hoods and environment and we need to think about how to bring the unequal society back into balance.


Goldman, M. and Longhofer, W. (2009).”Making world cities.”Retrieved Oct. 21, 2012, from