Jobless? What is a NEET? Definition and Causes of Japanese Neets



Have you heard of Neet? It’s not an exam! It describes jobless people.



What is a Neet?

It’s been over 10 years since Japanese use “Neet” to describe certain individuals.

What is a Neet?

Neet was first introduced in England in 1999. It implied “Not in Education, Employment or Training.” It just described youth aged 16-18 without any jobs or schooling.


The basic concept was to describe those young people who didn’t have any jobs. However, after Japanese media introduced Neet, they added a couple things to define the word.

Neet means young individuals who are jobless and have no intention to work even if they have a chance.


According to Japanese government, a Neet:

・doesn’t go to high school, university, college or any sort of school

・is single

・doesn’t have any jobs

・is between 15 and 34 years old

・states she or he has an intention to find a job but doesn’t actually try

・doesn’t have any intention to work




Stat and Education

Wanna know how people become Neet? This post discusses how some Japanese actually became Neet → Japanese Neets Reveal How They Became Neets



According to statistics, the rate of Neets was only 1.2% in 1995. However, it grew up to 2.3% in 2012 and 2.1% in 2015.

That means if 48 people age 15-34 were gathered, one of them would be a Neet.

This is based on statistics by Japanese government, so the actual number of Neets might be greater.


In terms of education, lots of Neets haven’t completed high school (grade 10-12). They have completed junior high school (up to grade 9) and either dropped out or didn’t go to high school.





What are the Causes of Neets?




Neets might say that the cause was not that serious and they didn’t intend to be like this next several years.

The main reason Neets cannot work is due to injury or health problems. Some are not good at interacting with others and mentally collapse. They also have low self-esteem and no confidence.


Some Neets used to work in Black Companies before. They develop social anxiety due to power harassment or relationships with co-workers and supervisors.

Due to their negative experience, they are afraid of interacting others and tend to stay at home. Some of them want to find a job but they cannot find. Others give up on finding and become dependent on parents.


In extreme cases, Neets use parents’ money such as savings and pension to fulfill their needs.

Some feel great pressure from parents and think about taking their lives from time to time. Other become violent and may abuse parents.

They regret what they did at the beginning stage of Neet but don’t know how to fix the problem. Most of them have experienced stress and pressure and it’s not easy to control their fear.



The number of Neets has increased the past 10 years in Japan.

Some people became Neets due to injury or health problems, while others became Neets due to stress and pressure.


The most important thing is that those Neets are willing to get a job and be independent. In terms of economical and mental aspects, they cannot accomplish their goal by themselves. They need help from friends and especially from family members.




Freeter is different from Neet. But how? Find out from another related post→ What is a Freeter?


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