Making friends and finding jobs is essential for Japanese youth amid Covid-19 pandemic

TOKYO – After five waves of Covid-19 and four declarations of a state of emergency, Covid-19 has impacted the Covid Generation in Japan differently depending on its ability to adapt to its new situation.

On the one hand, the pandemic has changed the way friendships are made and valued.

This is especially with the face-to-face opportunities to make new friends drastically reduced, especially among undergraduates as courses at many universities across the country remain online.

Although there has been a slight increase in online connections through social media sites, Komazawa University sociologist Emi Kataoka told the Straits Times that some of her students say they value connections. deeper with a smaller circle of friends.

Still, some young people fell into depression, became more neurotic, turned to crime or worse, had thoughts of suicide, she noted.

“The Japanese see society as their ‘world’ from which, if isolated, those who are not mentally strong enough as independent individuals will feel like it is the end and even blame themselves for their situation difficult, ”she said.

Waseda University sociologist Kenji Hashimoto said young people leaving school in search of work were the most directly affected.

In October, the unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 stood at 4.9% for men and 3.5% for women, far exceeding the overall unemployment rate of 2.7%.

“The employment climate is deteriorating and the situation for high school graduates is particularly critical. University graduates are also affected to some extent, but perhaps less so than the ‘ice age of employment’ generation “said Dr Hashimoto.

The ‘Ice Age of Jobs’ refers to those who left school in the 1990s when the asset bubble burst, resulting in a ‘lost generation’ of Japanese who are stuck in non-regular, dead-end jobs. with little prospect of growth.

He feared the real impact of Covid-19 would surface in the years to come, noting how the pandemic would have exacerbated the divide between the haves and have-nots.

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