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South Korea to pay socially withdrawn kids P27,000 monthly to leave house and go outside

By Ratziel San Juan Published Apr 13, 2023 12:35 pm

It pays to go outside for introverts in South Korea, who can earn money just for leaving the house...

South Korea's Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) announced that the Cabinet passed a measure that will provide financial assistance to reclusive youth in an attempt to encourage them to go outside the house.

Targeting those between the ages of 9 and 24 who experience "severe social withdrawal," the law will provide qualified beneficiaries in several categories with 650,000 won (P27,347) per month.

It references the Japanese-observed phenomenon of "hikikomori," an acute social withdrawal where adolescents and young adults become recluses in their parents' houses and are unable to find work or school for long periods of time.

The MOGEF in a statement said the South Korean government is “strengthening its support to enable reclusive youth to recover their daily lives and reintegrate into society."

Around 3% (estimated 350,000 people) of South Koreans aged 19 to 39 are considered "lonely or secluded," according to Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. 

Aside from seeking to benefit disadvantaged youth, the policy hopes to address the country's decreasing working-age population attributed to low birth rates, among other factors.

“This policy is fundamentally a welfare measure. While it’s good to try various approaches to boost the working-age population, it cannot be seen as a long-term solution to fix the population problem here," Myongji University political science professor Shin Yu said, according to a report by TIME Magazine.