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Parents advised to give the boot to their sponging adult kids


Mr A, a 59-year-old employee at a trading firm, resides in Saitama Prefecture. He's the not-so-proud father of three sons, the eldest in his 30s and two others in their 20s. His three progeny neither hold jobs, nor do they have romantic interests. While their mom goes out each day to work at a hospital office, the three say home and pursue non-remunerative activities.

"My No. 2 son did find work delivering newspapers," he shrugs to Nikkan Gendai (May 16). "But he quit after one month."

Up to now, such slackers were identified as NEETs (an acronym meaning not in education, employment or training). But now, according to professor of labor economics Yuji Genda at the University of Tokyo, a new more specific term has been coined for them: SNEP (pronounced "suneppu") -- which is an acronym for solitary, non-employed person -- but which also has roots in the Japanese expression "oya no sune wo kajiru" (to gnaw on a parent's shins, i.e., to be dependent). The new term has caught on to describe unemployed people between the ages of 20 through 59 who are not in education; are single; and who have few relationships outside of their own family members.

A survey undertaken by Prof Genda in 2011 found that out of an estimated total of 2.56 million people in the country who are single, unemployed and who belong to the aforementioned age group, the SNEPs account for 1.62 million, or about 60%.

What sets the SNEPs apart from the NEETs is that they seldom attempt to seek employment, being content to lounge around the home.

"Between my job and my wife's income from part-time work, we have a take-home pay of about 400,000 yen per month," Mr A tells Nikkan Gendai. "As long as we keep working I guess that's alright, but in another six years, we'll be living on our pensions. After we die, I wonder how my sons will be able to live.

"Have I discussed the future with them? No, not at all," he sighs.

All three of Mr A's sons did reasonably well at their studies and appeared to be destined for "normal" careers as regular salarymen. But their physical conditions declined, and they increasingly found it difficult to get along with co-workers. Eventually they quit their jobs and refrained from seeking new work.

"I'll discuss things with them, asking 'Isn't there something you'd like to do?' but my sons don't have many personal contacts that could help them find work, and after they lost their jobs and even those contacts dried up, so all I can do now is just commiserate with them," says A.

So what's the solution for such indolent offspring?

"You shouldn't pamper a child who is physically healthy but unwilling to work," advises Kenichi Tokura, a consultant to a schizophrenia rehabilitation center in Naha, Okinawa. "For example, while it's not convenient, you might rent him an apartment near your house and let him live there by himself. Don't do anything to assist him. If he's hungry, then he can walk back home for a meal. Just making him do things like that is a start."

Some children turn violent toward their parents when ordered to "leave home" or "stand on your own two feet." In such cases, says Tokura, parents should not hesitate to report them to the police.

"You shouldn't be concerned with your public image," he advises. "When you look at cases in which children have turned violent toward parents, you'll see that pampering by parents was involved at some point. That's reason enough why parents have got to draw the line and put a stop to it."

When children grow up, they have to be booted out, concludes Nikkan Gendai. It's for their own good -- and the parents' good as well.

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Some children turn violent toward their parents when ordered to “leave home” or “stand on your own two feet.” In such cases, says Tokura, parents should not hesitate to report them to the police.

And then the police will say that its a personal, family matter, and refuse to get involved until one of the renegade sons ends up killing the father in an argument over the TV remote control, or something equally pathetic.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

The son of a friend of mine had a part-time job with KFC in Japan while in high school, and he stuck with it through university graduation. By that time he had accumulated so much knowledge about how the franchises are operated they offered him a permanent position.

Absolutely! My friend's daughter was in the same situation. Although her (relatively wealthy) parents were happy to provide room and board during her student years, they refused to pay for anything else, such as clothes, hobbies, or travel. She was forced to take on a part-time job at a fast food restaurant, and did so well at it that she was offered a full-time position by the time she graduated. She recently married, and plans to keep on working within the system to improve conditions for working mothers. I'll be watching that young lady with interest!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Even if the were able to get a part time job they wouldn't have enough money to rent on their own with Japan's pitiful wage structure.

This is so very true, however, the parents don't have to make it THAT easy for the kids either. When I was 14, I remember one day, my mother asked me to come into the kitchen and gave me a crash course into an introduction to the world of cooking. She made me watch her and to get my hands dirty and to try it for myself, same goes with cleaning, sewing, laundry. My mother always said to me, "if I die suddenly, what are you going to do?" All she was trying to do was instill in me the importance of doing chores and being responsible and NOT think that HER job and sole purpose in life is to take care of me and my siblings, that in turn, took a lot of pressure off of her. Sometimes, she would be tired from working 17 hours a day and sometimes didn't feel like cooking and asked one of us to cook, my father helped out a lot as well.

I just believe that there are other ways that parents can take the pressure off of themselves by putting the kids to work in the home and to help out. That is the least they can do if they can't move out and make so much money. Be a help and NOT a burden.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Even if the were able to get a part time job they wouldn't have enough money to rent on their own with Japan's pitiful wage structure.

So that's their excuse for doing nothing at all? If they had some income at the very least they could contribute to the household expenses. Also when you go for a job interview you're likely to make a much better impression on the prospective employer to say you are working at present, even if the work is only part time. There's also a small chance that if you do well at your part-time job, the company will offer improved terms to retain you, and possibly even offer training. The son of a friend of mine had a part-time job with KFC in Japan while in high school, and he stuck with it through university graduation. By that time he had accumulated so much knowledge about how the franchises are operated they offered him a permanent position. Although he had obtained a degree in engineering he chose to stick with fried chicken and is now a junior executive with the company.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So what’s the solution for such indolent offspring?

Wait, you're expecting parents, who've raised their kids for 20 to 30 YEARS to think it's OK to sponge off mom and dad and NEVER be responsible to suddenly turn around and bust out some tough love?

You reap what you sow, kids.

I see a lot more blue tents, and higher taxes to pay for inefficient social programs in the future.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A proportion of these people are of the lazy, spoiled by their parents type, and something needs to be done. I would put one of the posters above into that cateory - although I can't be sure if it wasn't just humour. However, a hight porportion of them have problems with mental health.

My sister in law is a 42 year old mum married with 3 kids who spent 15 years working as a dental technician before being asked to resign because the dentist decided he wanted to buy his false teeth more cheaply from a company you can order from, rather than employing his own technician any longer. During her period of service despite being licenced and highly skilled her wages were never raised, so that by the time she left she was earning less than brand ne receptionists. Also the dentist refused to pay her insurance, and she had to pay it herself for the full 15 years. She received no customary leaving bonus even though she was staff and had been asked to leave for business reasons rather than her work.

Anyway, after just a few years only looking after the kids, she decided to go to work again, did training and got a job as a receptionist at a hospital not far from her house. From day one, the staff was against her and did everything possible to try to push her out through constant complaints and nagging about her work. At one point one of someone who overheard the staff carrying on at her actually made a formal complaint about their behaviour towards her. After that, she came in for even worse treatement because they wrongly thought that it was she and not someone else who had complained.

My sister in law is a normal hard working family person. She doesn't have a personality problem as many would assume when reading a story like this. The fact is there are a large number of workplaces in Japan that are absolutely brutal. My sister in law is tough, so she didn't quit, she is still there. However, I can see why a number of people with weaker personalities could easily develop a major complex after treatment of this sort. and believe themselves to be unemployable.

In addition to that, many of these people do in fact have serious pre conditions, and I fully concur with Frungy's concerns about the mental health professional's remarks.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The cultural difference is so vast here. I came from a happy home with my Mother, but I couldnt wait to strike out on my own two feet and be independent, even though I slept on an airbed and ate nothing but toast for the first 2 years!

When I came to Japan everyone was horrified that my parents had "let" me move in with my then-boyfriend. I was 29 and I`d left home 11 years before!!! Old enough to make my own decisions!

In my family now - one sister in law quit her job and moved home the minute she discovered she was pregnant and has never moved out. This despite having had a full time good job and always complaining they have no money. To add insult to injury she then moved her husband in, had her son, and now all 3 of them sponge off my parents in law. The other one wasnt happy when the rest of them moved in (she was still at home and single at 36 even though she also had a steady well-paid job - she moved out. Good for her! Except next door to an apartment they own and where she could still come home for meals and everything she needs.

Then there is my cousin. Married just before 30 (thank God!) she then moved into an apartment round the corner from her mothers and spent every waking moment of her time there. Her Mother raised the two kids she had while she worked - which was great - but she never paid her a penny, when she fed, clothed, bathed them - everything. She spent all her time there leaving her husband at their place alone (which by the way was a total pit as she never did any cleaning and her Mother later said she was afraid to let the kids go home because of their allergies and how dirty the place was). This was a major factor in their divorce last year, but now that they are divorced my cousin went out and got her own place - right next door to her Mother! Even though its a 1 1/2 hour commute to work each way.

Just my impression - Japan is a hotbed of co-dependency issues between mothers and their children. Mothers need to feel needed, and children are raised to believe they CANT do anything for themselves, and in their Mother doing everything for them, become lazy to boot and enjoy the pampering when they grow up.

Solution? No idea. Its a bit hard to implement tough love on a child when you havent, ever. And something tells me these little Princes of Mr A will not turn around and thank him in the future.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is what happens in a country where the concept of "fatherhood" begins and ends at providing a paycheck. These youngsters have probably never had a male role model in their life who could teach them how to be a man. It means more than being a company slave- it means independence, learning to care for yourself, to cook and clean, etc. It results in a generation of 25-30 year old babies who are incapable (and unwilling) to shift their lazy arses.

THere is a whole lot of enabling going on.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Left home when 17, had a job everyday sense.

We have several handicap spaces in the company that are filled by people who want to work, not just stay at home thinking someone will (should) take care of them. Fantastic people.

Have a few family members who can't or will not find work, ran out of "give a damn" about what they do now and turn it off when the wife starts on about how they can't find work.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

No, they will not find a great job to begin with, no inexperienced person does, they will have to start at the bottom and work their way up like every one else. Finding pride and joy to be able feed your self and have a decent style is something that MR. A from the article is robbing his sons of. Loving and caring sometimes are better achieved with harsher words and fair rule that should have been implemented way back from childhood. But it is never too late.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Even if the were able to get a part time job they wouldn't have enough money to rent on their own with Japan's pitiful wage structure.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Virtuoso There's also a small chance that if you do well at your part-time job, the company will offer improved terms to retain you, and possibly even offer training. ............................................................................................................................................................

Not many companies are interested in improved terms for part time workers. All they want to do is employ people on the cheap. Nearly all part time jobs are only temporary, arranged by brokers who take their cut and people have no long term prospects. I know of someone who spent most of her time going for interviews as the work was always short term. No real job security at all. Minimum wage in Japan is slave labour. Not everyone can become executives.

Even with a low paid job in Japan, they would be hard pressed to even make the pension payments, and if they do make payments but are unable to meet all the required months to be paid, the government will steal the lot. Unless you are fortunate enough to score a salaried job, there s little incentive to work for a pittance. This is now a huge problem in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

“You shouldn’t pamper a child who is physically healthy but unwilling to work,” advises Kenichi Tokura, a consultant to a schizophrenia rehabilitation center in Naha, Okinawa.

Ah, Japan's famous psychiatric professions once again open their mouth... only to change feet.

Schizophrenia is an early adult onset disease. It normally takes about 5 years to stabilise, and 5 to 10 years is the average period between onset and being able to work again, and normally then only in low-stress positions on a part-time basis (there are exceptions, but these are rare). Failure to follow these guidelines normally results in a second schizopherenic break and another 5 to 10 years of rehabilitation.

If Mr. Tokura is giving this advice about schizophrenic patients he should be ejected from the profession immediately. He clearly has no idea what he's talking about.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Raise you kids and spoil them rotten and this is what happens. A huge problem here and only going to get worse when the parents die and these "kids" have no means to money. The fault lies with the parents. Who on earth raises their kids to sponge off their parents when adults? Bad parenting all around.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Have I discussed the future with them? No, not at all, he sighs.

doesnt sound like the japan i know

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My brother in the States is the opposite of this family. He was an exeuctive and lost his job years ago (well paying) and found work at a much lower rate. After year of doing this, he finally had to move back to the parental home, and live with our father. Not just freeloading, doing work around the house and finding part time work to get back in the "game." These kids just seem lazy to me. I fully understand that the economy can be rough, and maybe a fall back to the parents home is advised. A good way to get yourself back on your feet. But to just do nothing all day long is pathetic.

I've read the comments posted here, and just wonder why in Japan people feel that they need to kick a person down who works with them just because they didn't come in during the "right way" or may be just the new person. I see that in my office place, and when you really boil it down, those who do that the most are the least effective people in the work place.

If I were these parents, I would just let the sons know, by the end of the week, you need to find a job or move out. There are plenty of cooking shows on Japanese TV during the daytime, and I would tell them they had better start learning and preparing meals at home for the working parents, or they will be out of the house.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kids in sch are taught to be productive, as per my observation . Parents will provide love and support, give space and privacy that'll help them grow. My daughter is a univ student in jpn when I offered my help for apt. bills she said she used her money from a part time job at a conv store (7eleven) we thought that our child is ready to take responsibility for her own.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I come from a very small island (smaller than the entire Tokyo..) and from a family consisting of me and mom only, dad died when I was a young teen. My mother brought me up very strictly; she made sure I fully understood the situation and that I knew how money is an issue. Growing up, I couldn't wait till I finish my degree and be able to work and earn money to pay her back for all the sacrifices she made for me. I am in my final months of university and was very lucky to have found a good paying job with my own sweat. I feel happy and grateful, as if my life suddenly makes sense, that all tears shed actually made sense.

(I do have a problem though; My mother is TOO attached to me!! I try and put her off but she just won't know of any friends or anything. I am in a serious relationship and she's jealous of my bf. )

My opinion with kids is this; As a kid myself (age 21), you have to be cruel to be kind!! I teach kids age 6-12, and spoiled kids are not pleasure to teach. They are very stubborn, will turn to violence when criticized, will go run to their parents and their parents will report you because you are 'too strict' (One particular episode; 12 year old kid opened 6 big paint buckets and splashed them all over the floor; I told him that both him and me will scrub the floor. He made a scene, had to call his parents, and they humiliated me in front of my students. Boss had to calm them down). I'm afraid of what the world will come to :(

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even worse are the married couples/married with children couples who continue to sponge off their parents. I know people like this and it is revolting. They abuse their folks for free rent, free babysitting, etc. They don't realize that the price they pay is in their freedom, and often their marriage.

I agree with the above poster. There should be a social stigma attached to grown "adults" who refuse to take the final step to adulthood. It's bad enough that university students can't even be bothered to make their own lunches, but instead have mommy make them a bento, just like when they were in elementary school.

There may be some truth to the feeling that women here, and stay-home moms in particular, need to be more pro-active about this. They need to invest less of themselves and their self worth into their offspring. They don't need to be full time career women necessarily, just a bit more independent themselves. See that raising strong and independent children is something to be proud of, and that life can continue once the chicks are out of the nest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

they'll just stab you and your wife, then continue to collect your pension

or crime, it does pay

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would get those 3 an apartment that all 3 would live together in. It would be up to them to make it be successful. I would strategically have the apartment a few miles from their house to make it just enough of an inconvenience for the 3 to walk there and not be close to a bus route (no cheating).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like the story of the 3 little piggies... Only diff is that they lived in father piggy hse...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had my own car and a job to pay for it at 16. My own place at 18. And a serious career right after college. A NEET in my time would have been called a "slacker" and would have had no romantic interests because no self respecting young lady would have been interested in such an unmotivated loser.

The few slackers I knew were soon given the boot by Mom and Dad and made to fend or drown. Now most of them are just as hard working and stable as everyone else.

Japanese parents should stop treating their adult offspring like children. You are not doing them a favor. When you die, they will spend through your savings and then what? Become wards of the state probably.

Do yourself, society and your lazy offspring a favor. Toss them out on their lazy behinds and make them earn a living. You should be ashamed not to, and ashamed for such bad parenting to encourage and enable such loser behavior.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They need take action and yes the father need help them not leave it to mother =/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This story is poorly reported and utterly heartless. It takes a single family's situation and claims it is representative of large population of over one and half million people who are solitary and unemployed . It is written in a mean spirited and highly biased manner that makes unsubstantiated assumptions about this population. Worst of all, the writer seeks expert input from a singe psychiatrist whose specialty is schizophrenia, a condition unrelated to SNEP (even the acronym is cruel).

In the family's case they all live together which rules out the condition of being solitary. Further the father states that the health of his sons has deteriorated. It would seem that this would call for further investigation as to why. Perhaps they are incapacitated by a real illness. And if they are members of this large population of people who are so severely ridiculed here simply for being solitary and unemployed, they deserve help and compassion. Perhaps it is time for the condition to be studied by sociologists and psychologist.

One last thing, I am appalled by the comments. It is deplorable when people use the suffering of others to make themselves look good. Shame on you!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

My mother was quite helpful in giving me work ethic. At 14 during summer break from school she had me go to the youth work program which allowed me to earn a paycheck as a janitor. I was used to looking for a job at 16 and when I hit 18 and was still at home (and working) my mom had me pay a certain amount of my check for "rent" and anything else I wanted I'd have to pay for by myself.

And the glorious day of moving out on my own (kinda since I moved in with roommates) was so much easier because I knew how to manage my income so I could pay for my own necessities like rent, utilities, and more

I can understand that parents want to take care of their children, but its only supposed to be until their "children" are able to stand on their own two feet out in the world. For these "men" and "women" to be mooching off their folks when they're fully capable of taking care of themselves is ridiculous. The men do it because they're lazy, and the women who do this (who are also lazy) expect to pass this kind of behaviour on to their husbands when and if they get married.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People debating the social aspects of this article really don't understand what is happening to the world financially. The global financial system is imploding. You can attack and criticize young people, but they didn't create these problems. This youth unemployment crisis is an epidemic that is getting worse, and it's not just Japan, it's everywhere. In Europe 30% of young adults are unemployed. All jobs were sent to other countries while the ageing middle class citizens lived wildly beyond their means by running up the government credit cards.

Major crisis is coming I think. Can't have a society with no babies and complete economic denial of the young.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was a custom of "Oya-Koko (filiel piety(" im Japan. Children work and take care of their parents. Something strange about this father. His children could work while attending a college if he can't afford tuition. Upon graduation, they can apply for any corporations, Is he making uo story to earn interview money?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would be helpful if this topic was discussed with less euphemistic acronyms such as NEET or SNEP. I understand it is part of Japan's refined culture to discuss these problems as politely and delicately as possible, and people don't want to imply that the parents share blame. The use of more accurately descriptive adjectives and nouns to describe these selfish lazy, irresponsible, leach-like, slovenly dependent bums, might help to effect positive change, because addressing the problem with correct language is essential to finding a solution.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my husbands family he wasn't looking for work or even thinking of work and did nothing to contribute but his sister worked hard daily and paid the parents to stay in their house. When I met my husband I said if he wanted to marry me then he had to get a job..when it was suggested that we live with them I said no thank you we can be independent. They were too worried of how he would survive outside of his own home even if he was married. He does well for himself now and his sister does better her job moved her out of their house completely and now his 60 year old parents have the privacy and freedom they deserve. No parent should be afraid to push their chick out of the nest and tell them to get a damn job.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would buy an overnight trip for the lazy children and while they were away have all the door locks changed and have the windows checked to make sure they work and lock properly, maybe even add security bars. An eviction notice would be attached to their personal items in the front yard. I would also inform all my neighbors and friends of the situation and urge them to report them for disturbing the peace when the children return home and make a scene. I would also be one of the parties to call in the disturbance and possibly to report any attempt at break-in.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Vast Right-Wing Conspirator and ChibaChick

Excellent posts, and well put. I agree entirely.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Answer = get married!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think there is a stigma these days with it though - there is a reason these folks are usually single, no romantic chances, no jobs and few friends. The rest of Japan tends to think they are losers are well. The problem is though, Japan seems to have more losers than your average developed nations. I blame the "mommy" culture on this. If women had self respect from a job outside of the home, they wouldn't need to coddle their kids so mmuch to make them feel needed, wanted and respected. They would be getting that outside say with work, coworkers... This issue will continue as long as parents (let's be honest, moms) raise their kids to be useless and need mom for everything.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

But their physical conditions declined, and they increasingly found it difficult to get along with co-workers.

You really need to eat healthy and take care of yourselves. Without your health life is difficult. Historically the mother is the nutritionist in the family. The whole family should go to an organic doctor and see what is wrong and start planning some family meals. Whatever it is I am sure it can be worked out.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

In my case, my totalitarian abusive mother in her early 50s, prevented me from leaving home, getting a job, an start my own life, due to ideological reasons against me. I'm 23 and my parents were divorced in January 1997 for monetary reasons. And it wasn't until 2008 were after graduating from high school she opened a savings account on my name given that I could purchase a car when I have a balance of $20,000 to get a part time job. Only to realise that she has the money promised by her political affiliation, whereas an empty account from theirs means an electoral instability, only to remain locked to her being illegally married to her, get beaten up, and frequently threatened to death if I run away from her, thus my overage status was nullified on her behalf (Once again, underage, without any court order)

I am solely depending of my father for legal reasons at my favour, just as my child support check was illegally appropiatiated by my mother for her personal benefit, and so does my stuff given by everybody else, just to be under her legal ownership without my consent.

Given for that consideration, as she's putting the blame on me frequently for everything occurring in this planet, including terrorist attacks occurred, I have no other option but to go to the regional court and file a restraining order against her. If she bypasses it, well, better risk a prison sentence by murdering her, on a defensive nature.

-18 ( +2 / -20 )

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