Belarus’ New Anti-NEET Law Triggers Online Debate In Japan

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus

One of the biggest problems facing Japanese society today is “hikikomori” (lit. “shut-ins”), typically young men and women who have shut themselves off from the world completely. Most hikikomori live at home an rely on their parents for food, shelter and financial support.

Though the term hikikomori is of Japanese origin, in recent years it has come up in the international community in relation to NEETS–which stands for “Not in Education, Employment or Training”–who spend their days at home with no money or even future job prospects.

Recently, Belarus’s government has passed a new law dubbed the “NEET Penalty” which penalizes those with no job with a hefty fine or face doing volunteer work. Although the bill seems to taking a lot of criticism, 2ch users were overall supportive and many thought that similar laws should be carried out in Japan.

From livedoorNEWS:

“Why Belarus`s `NEET Penalty` is receiving harsh criticism from the international community

In the former Soviet nation of Belarus, a new law was just passed that penalizes citizens who skip out on taxes and don’t work for 6 months. But the law has been receiving harsh criticism from abroad.

Under the so-called `NEET Penalty`, the aim is to “encourage able citizens to work and to emphasize respect for the constitution which requires citizens to participate in the creation of resources for national spending”. The fine is approximately 30,000 yen and those who do not pay will be detained and forced to do regional volunteer work. Adolescents, disabled persons, women over the age of 55 and men over 60 will be excluded.

With NEETs and hikokomori already a worldwide problem, the Japanese word “hikikomori” has entered into usage among specialists from around the globe and those methods are being discussed in all countries.

However, some are calling Belarus’s new NEET penalty “counter-effective” and say “it’s a form of slavery reminiscent of old East Germany”. One international human rights alliance spoke to the Belorussian government, declaring that “there is a problem concerning human rights. We request that the law and forced labor be abolished immediately”.

He gathers 70 to 80 percent support in the elections every time and and has held power since 1994, but his involvement in election violations and campaign obstructions such as arresting the opposing candidates is seen as a problem,” said a journalist with knowledge about the country.

Up until now, the President has been creating all kinds of “strange laws”.

In Belarus, which is praised for its gorgeous women, he said that “Beautiful women are our nation`s resource” and banned the “export” of beautiful women and is also said to have locked up alcohol and drug addicts into a sort of treatment facility and forced them to work. He likes ice hockey, so he built ice hockey rinks in places around the country and is said to have visited Japan secretly to attend the Nagano Olympics.”

It’s not expected that there will be any imitations of the eccentric president’s anti-NEET measured abroad.

Comments from 2ch:




This is a good thing


Isn’t forced labor better? If they set up several job where workers can work and live on site the problems will be solved


So I guess there are sane politicians out there after all


It’s communism in action


Isn’t this slavery? w


You threw away your human rights when you hose to become a NEET w


Make a NEET law in Japan as well. Offenders will be drafted into the Self-Defense Force


It would good to revise constitution in Japan to make it this strict. Those who don’t work don’t have human rights or the right to speech.


So in other words if you can keep paying the 30,000 yen fine then you can keep your jobless lifestyle


In Japan we have individual freedom so whether you work or not isn’t an issue. It’s simply that we can’t provide public assistance for people who can’t work even if they wanted to.


I wish they’d do away with the whole volunteer-if-you-don’t-pay and send them to jail


In Japan there’s also a duty to work so it wouldn’t be strange to penalize those who don’t


“Penalty” sounds bad so how about calling it a NEET tax?


Even in Japan, two of the “Three Major Duties” in the constitution are “The Duty To Work” and “The Duty To Pay Taxes”. They’re the “Three Major Duties” and yet it’s strange that there’s nothing in the way of penalties.


Look, it’s not like NEETs are doing what they’re doing because they enjoy it right? I wish you guys would show some consideration

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  • vonskippy

    The human race is doomed. Now we need government to enforce what should be the parents job. Just stop feeding the lazy bums and problem solved. The parents need to grow a pair, we don’t need government to cover common sense.

  • Vadim

    Weird that the article compares the law to the system in East Germany, as if Belarus itself has never had it before. All that Lukashenko is doing is just reinstating a Soviet-era law (although, if I remember correctly, the time period to be subjected to fines was much less than 6 months back then). In fact, due to Belarus having the reputation of a mostly unreconstructed Soviet republic, until I read about this new law in Russian and Belarusian news I assumed that they never abolished the old one.

    A couple of translation issues I’ve noticed:
    – “It’s simply that we can’t provide public assistance for people who can’t work even if they wanted do”. Since the original says “働けるのに働かない人”, shouldn’t it be “people who don’t work even if they’re able to”?
    – In the following comment, I’m pretty sure that the use of たがる implies that the commenter is talking about the desires of the people he’s describing (NEETs), not his own. I believe the comment should be translated something like “I bet they’ll just want to go straight to jail, without paying the penalty or doing any volunteering. Don’t underestimate the NEETs”

    • zen

      Captain Gloval doesnt like Neets???

  • yurah

    Wish they did that over here in the states

  • Zooba

    Any solution to this problem will have to be rooted in an understanding of the psychology of such people. Most of them really do want to do something with their life:

    This law is just a band-aid for the economy.

  • faves_slayer

    What hikikimoris have is a huge anxiety problem + depression. “Normal” people like to go outside and do things. Putting a fine on NEETs is literally fining persons with mental problems for having mental problems. They need other kinds of help.

  • Miniluv101

    Forcing people to work without economic recompense of their labour is generally known as slavery. Of course, to not be recompensed to 100% of your labour also slavery – although one that is treated as completely normal and acceptable.

    • Comebackkid13

      Good communist drivel on that poster.

      “Under communism, workers have complete, immediate, and free access to the abundance of socialized production.”

      I would like to be shown a representative example of this out of any of the past, failed communist states.

      • Miniluv101

        Oh sure, the Paris commune and the CNT-FAI had a good run before the fascists invaded. Ah, but I’m sure you’re actually talking about Soviet state capitalism – you know, what you think communism is if you don’t actually have read anything on the subject. The Marxist-Leninist nomenklatura quickly moved away from socialism when it dismantled the soviets (working-councils) and ordered a set yearly profit – thus it was by the most basic definition not communist. This isn’t some snowflake term invented in the wake of the MLs failure – the workers control of the means of production is the policy Marx, Engels, Bakunin and the syndicalists worked for, if it fails to implement this it’s not communism, it’s that easy.

        • Comebackkid13

          It always fails to implement at any significantly large level. For forced reallocation and distribution to work there must be a central body which suffers no oversight.

          It wasn’t communism that created the middle class and brought the most people out of poverty throughout history. You literally have no historical reference of a successful example besides outlier, statistically insignificant examples like the commune.

          Mormon communes where top religious leaders have 16 wives are also a thing. Doesn’t mean they work on a national or inter-community level.

          Take your mad ramblings somewhere else, child.

          • Miniluv101

            I don’t really know how to respond to that. You say capitalism brings people out of poverty, yet capitalism necessitates a economic oppression to function, it was built on slavery at the plantations and on the horrible conditions of workers in factories it continues to be this way. You claim there need to be central planning (which you in your other comment blame for all fault) yet in capitalism the economy is driven by a few investment firms who seeks personal profit – not the well being of all.

            After that you claim there is no abundance, which is utterly false, what we have is instead an artificial lack caused by said corporations. They desire profit, and since those with the means to pay it exist in the western hemisphere and south east Asia – food and basic necessities are relocated from exploited and starving countries to become our trash.

            Where the workers had the means of production, none would produce wares that starved themselves while someone else gorged themselves.

            Your arguments make no sense – because it has no connection to contemporary or historical events. Capitalism isn’t the “natural” form of government, it’s an ideology just like anything else and it isn’t working.

        • Comebackkid13

          Furthermore, there is no “abundance of socialized production.” This abundance is a myth. Resources, people, work, capital are all misallocated because a central body is trying to determine where they need to go.

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