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Vol.41 Death of Isolated Individuals
Jun 22,2016
 I watched a TV program on NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) about people dying alone without parents, brothers/sisters, relatives, or anyone to talk to or help them.

 In the program, the anchorperson asked an analyst, "How can we restore what human relationships used to be?" The analyst answered, "It's impossible to have relationships like ones in the feudal society." However, I think this is too far-fetched and completely misses the point of the argument.

 Death of isolated individuals is not a flaw in the nation's system but a phenomenon that is caused by poor relations between people.

 Reasons for dying alone may include the following: (1) People are more often relocated to remote places where they have no friends and acquaintances. (2) The entire society now moves fast and people are busy working and have no time to play and relax, which links to social problems such as death from overwork and households with both husband and wife working. (3) The gap between the rich and the poor becomes wider due to depression, resulting in an increase in unemployed persons with financial problems. (4) There are no relatives to help each other as the number of children decreases. (5) Relationships between people become poorer because of individualism and overreaction to privacy concerns. (6) More people are living in apartment buildings or condominiums, leaving less transparency about their lives. (7) More people do not get married and live alone. I think there would be more. All are serious problems, but this trend is likely to continue further.

 To prevent it, I think that people in a same region need to create a warm community by exchanging greetings and information to help each other. In 2012, a lot of elderly people living alone died in a heat wave in France, where individualism has been spread. The administrative authority in Paris asked their children to claim the bodies but was shocked to find most of the requests were rejected.

 Even for Japan, it is about time to take into serious consideration how critical our relationship issues are.

End.
Masaru Sugaya

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