It’s time for Japan’s recluses to step out of their comfort zone and change the world.

NEETs (people not in education, employment, or training) are sometimes seen in Japan as individuals who not only refuse to contribute to society, but also place a heavy burden on their family. While a prolonged period of shutting oneself out from the world can be attributed to bad parenting, what’s more important is to take small yet feasible steps in ending that reclusive phase.

Hokkaido’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is attempting to address that issue this year, allocating 1,649,000 yen (US$14,884) into a project that also aims to solve the massive workforce shortage in agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries.

▼ According to statistics, the ratio of job offers to applicants
in March was a startling 2.21 to 1.

The move focuses on dispatching NEETs and hikikomori (people withdrawn from society) from urban areas to the fields where they’ll hopefully develop their own independence. As the project is still in its experimental phases, only those suffering from severe society withdrawal will be accepted in two locations in Osaka this year.

One of them is in the southwestern region of Izumisano, where NEETs will receive training from nonprofit organization Osaka Young Work Support (OYWS), then get sent to Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture to pick apples for several days.

▼ And since Japan’s best apples come
from Aomori, help is always a nice welcome.

While the central area of Toyonaka will also be accepting applicants, the city is still in the early phase of drafting agricultural internships with Tosa in Kochi Prefecture. Going into 2019, the ministry plans to continue working closely with OYWS, eventually inviting youths to Tokachi in Hokkaido to assist in crop farming, dairy farming and livestock production.

If successful, this project could invigorate various agricultural industries in Japan that have seen employee numbers decline over the past few decades, possibly paving the way for even more ambitious programs.

As reclusive hermits brave enough to step up to the offer may not ever want to return to their original lives again, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Source: Japan Agricultural News via Hamusoku
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)