I stumbled across a You Tube piece on recuses in Japan today (no idea why you tube shows it as a recommended viewing for me!). I was aware that society is getting pretty weird in Japan, with very low birth rates, lots of people turning to celebasy etc. Apparently there are now over 500,000 Japanese who just stay in their flats all day and every day without visitors for months or years on end. The condition is now so common in Japan that they have a special name Hikikomori and of course as it effects 0.5 per cent of the population it has a real economic impact. The documentary had a particularly poiniant scene where they followed a team of specialist cleaners who to one of the apparently 30,000 hikikomuri who die annually. They didn't show the body but there was a ghastly brown body stain on the wooden floor where the body had been decomposing on the floor.
The film was particularly interesting for me as sadly one of my best friends from my college days has gone down this route, essentially confining himself to his mum's house for the last decade. It took me around 20 years of sleuthing to track him down - he had a very common name and it turned out had changed it when he got married. I have visited a few times to talk and try to coax him out but so far to no avail. Has anyone else had experience with this sort of thing? Most of the Japanese examples seemed to be rather shy and insecure individuals who had never coped well with life. My friend doesn't match this profile, he led a very social and even Jack-the-lad sort of life before more or less suddenly deciding to become an urban hermit.