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Korea recently faces new social issues/ isolated people

The Seoul city government estimates that as much as 200,000 people aged between 19 to 39 remain extremely secluded either due to social withdrawal or isolation, as of January. They cited challenges in getting employed, mental health issues and difficulties in creating social relationships. These individuals account for 4.5 percent of the total number of young Seoulites, according to the municipal government's survey of over 5,500 people aged between 19 and 39. The figure stands higher than that of Japan, which was less than 2 percent among those aged between 15 and 39 about a decade before. Nearly 30 percent of socially isolated individuals have secluded themselves in their house for more than five years, data also showed. Young Koreans’ acute social isolation is attributed to factors such as continuous exposure to a notoriously competitive culture, bullying and domestic violence, among other things, according to the city government.


The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in discouraging isolated people from returning to society. A 2021 study by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs showed that Korean hikikomori would hypothetically trigger a loss of 500 billion won ($374.4 million) each year, if they cannot be rehabilitated to enter the workforce and need to rely on social services for the rest of their lives. The Seoul city government also announced plans Monday to locate more people suffering from social isolation and help them regain self-confidence, encouraging them eventually to become mentors for others in the same boat. It also plans to establish 20 centers across the city that can help 5,000 individuals in 2025. Seoul also pledged to come up with measures tailored to the different stages and causes of social withdrawal.

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