Japan’s Ministry of Education is concerned about the number of youth addicted to the internet. A report released by the Health Ministry indicates that around 500 000 of the country’s youth aged between twelve and eighteen are addicted, however accurate figures on the scale of the problem are hard to obtain.

The Ministry of Education is planning an extensive research project into the issue that will be carried out in 2014 and officials have approached the government to fund ‘immersion programs’ that will include proposed internet fasting camps. The programs will lure children away from computers and hand-held devices with the outdoors, team sports and games that will be facilitated by education experts. Clinical psychotherapists and psychiatrists will also be present. The main objective of the project is to get children out and about interacting with peers and adults outside of the virtual world.

Findings by the Health Ministry found that addiction was not only impacting on performance at school but also having a negative toll on their health with sleep and nutritional disorders citied.