Prejudice against Recluses Feared after Kawasaki Stabbing

Society

Tokyo, June 4 (Jiji Press)--With the suspect in last week's deadly stabbing spree near Tokyo believed to have been a long-term recluse, support groups have expressed concern over possible growth in prejudice against socially withdrawn people, called "hikikomori" in Japan.

"We are strongly concerned that hikikomori and the attack could be linked, due to speculation and prejudice," Hikikomori UX Kaigi, a group supporting recluses and others, said in a statement after the incident in the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, on May 28.

KHJ Zenkoku Hikikomori Kazokukai Rengokai, a federation of groups of families of recluses, echoed the concern in a separate statement.

"Prejudice and stigmatization can cause the gap between recluses and society to widen, pushing them and their families into a corner," said Rika Ueda, head of the group's secretariat.

In the assault, two people--an elementary school girl and a man--died, and 18 other people, mostly children, were injured. The attacker, Ryuichi Iwasaki, 51, killed himself right after the attack.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press