Social Capital in Japan—Is Japan one of the loneliest countries in the world?(Part2)


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As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know but who you know”,personal relationships embody this perspective.

“Social Capital” is not a new term. In fact, it has been examined by many scholars for nearly 100 years. 

Major survey findings are that people who participate in some kind of activities(such as voluntary activities, community-based activities, and sports and recreation)tend to have a higher level of trust in society and community, a broader network in communities, and a higher satisfaction in life than those who do not participate.

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In the case of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake we found that in some aspect Japan shows high level of “Social Capital”.

The volunteer and NPO activities played an important role in mutual help and residents in damaged area supported each other through the hard times.

However as we mentioned before, OECD Better Life Index consistently puts Japan below average in the Community and Work-Life Balance verticals. 

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In addition the pandemic also had a negative influence on “Social Capital”. Large number of activities for networking and communication have been canceled and people were asked to keep social distance in the public. At the same time, most companies have changed the work style to remote work, face-to-face interactions became not necessary any more.

An OECD study released in January this year suggested that loneliness remained fairly high Post-Covid across all age groups.

“Social Capital” is closely related to a nation’s well-being, at the same time it is an important factor in achieving Pax Japonica. We believe “Social Capital” in Japan will be significantly improve with the end of the epidemic and government support in terms of policy.