Disclaimer: Please note that the following links to resources in English are provided for your convenience. Be advised that some information within a given article may change over time. However, please understand that searching for information in English (instead of in Japanese) on social issues within Japan, results in a more limited number of resources available. Periodic efforts will be made to check the following resources for “dead” links. (The date of the last revision is posted at the bottom of the page.)
Opportunities for Evangelism: Did you know that Japan has the most unreached people group of any developed nation in the world? The Christian population in Japan is usually cited as approximately 1% (or 1-2 million persons). Then in 2001, a Gallup Poll found approximately 6% of the population claimed Christian faith, a significantly higher percentage than earlier estimates. (Source: http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Jun06/Art_Jun06_08.html) Of course, the vast majority (94%) are still non-Christian. Please pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into his harvest field (Matthew 9:37-38).
Persecuted Church in Japan: Japan has a reputation as a place resistant to evangelism. Yet, Japan has one of the longest histories of the persecuted church in the world. In November 2008 at a special ceremony in Nagasaki, 188 Japanese Christian martyrs were officially recognized (beatified) by the Vatican. (For more information, see “Martyrs of Japan:” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_Japan)
Current Global Economic Crisis: In general, you can expect costs to be high during your time in Japan – including your food and transportation costs. And you can expect that economic instability affects Japanese citizens.
Homeless: Unemployment, the loss of jobs, and other factors contribute to the reasons for the growing homeless population. (Source: http://archive.metropolis.co.jp/tokyofeaturestories/386/tokyofeaturestoriesinc.htm)
Net Café Refugees: This is a category of homeless who sleep in 24-hour Internet cafes and manga cafes. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_cafe_refugee)
Death from Overwork: In Japan, there is a phenomenon called “death from overwork” (Karoshi) or occupational sudden death. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karōshi)
Suicide: The suicide rate in Japan is one of the highest in the world among developed nations. For 10 consecutive years, there have been over 30,000 suicides per year. Financial concerns and unemployment are often factors. (See also: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/19/suicide.forrest.japan/)
Bullying (Ijime): Student-to-student bullying is also a factor in student suicides. (Source: http://spi.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/3/227)
School Refusal (Tokokyohi): One of the reasons students may refuse to go to school is because of bullying. (Source: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ja8i-brtl/school_Refusal.htm)
Social Withdrawal (Hikikomori): Persons become shut-ins; some not leaving their rooms. (Source: http://nhjournal37.blogspot.com/)
Tokyo: The metropolitan area of Tokyo is listed as the world’s most populated area. Also, nearly 1/3 of the population of Japan lives within Tokyo and its surrounding area. Within the Tokyo area, there are specific cities or districts which have personalities all their own and attract certain kinds of people and activities. For example, Harajuku attracts many young people; it has lots of street musicians, street fashion (gothic Lolita, etc.). Shibuya also attracts many young people and is a major nightlife area. Akihabara is referred to as the Electric Town (or Electric City). Think electronic gadgets, hi-tech items, computer games, or anime. Shinjuku is the site of the Shinjuku government towers (from the top floor, you can see the surrounding Tokyo area). The JR Shinjuku station has an estimated 3.4 million people pass through it each day, making it the busiest station in the world. Other important places in Tokyo include the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, National Diet Building (national government building), and Yasukuni Shrine. In addition, there are numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
(Links checked December 10, 2014.)