● The Association will carry out measures for preventing suicide, bullying, and other issues by creating social media-accessible helplines and providing information
transcosmos inc. ('transcosmos') and LINE Corporation ('LINE') have jointly established the 'Social Media Counseling Association' (the 'Association').
As part of its CSR activities in 2017, LINE has entered into a 'Partnership Agreement for Youth Bullying Prevention Using LINE' with the government of Otsu city (Shiga prefecture) and a 'Partnership Agreement for Youth Suicide and Bullying Prevention Using LINE' with Nagano prefecture, where it created LINE-based helplines, and is considering other future counseling opportunities. transcosmos is involved in the planning for these opportunities and provides the systems and performs data analysis..
The companies established the Association in order carry out measures for preventing suicide, bullying, and other issues by making use of their knowledge from these previous endeavors to create social media-accessible helplines and provide information.
Young people nowadays do not make phone calls, instead preferring to use social media.* However, most existing helplines are over the phone and not available through social media. This has been identified as a communication mismatch between young people and helplines that needs to be improved. Further, the recent case regarding suicidal persons on social media, and the matter of how the country will go forward with its 'social media suicide counseling' being discussed at cabinet meetings, have garnered a great deal of attention. Establishing and improving the quality of social media helplines is a matter of great urgency.
* Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications 'Report on the 2016 Survey on the Usage Time and Behaviors for Telecommunication Media'
Average weekday use times of communication tools among the young demographic (ages 10 to 29) - audio phone calls: 5 minutes of less; social media: around 60 minutes
The Association is a diverse alliance (including social media operators, telephone helpline operators, counselors, research institutes, and professors) and was established to carry out activities, for the following objectives:
1. Training to improve the skills of social media counselors;
2. Research into social media counseling techniques; and
3. Spreading high quality social media counseling, and more
Social Media Counseling Association - Overview
Name: Social Media Counseling Association
Established: December 6, 2017
Location: 3-25-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Representative Board Members: Kiyotaka Eguchi (LINE Corporation) and
Takeshi Sankawa (transcosmos inc.)
Office: 3-25-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-4363-0345
Business: Develop, research, and spread social media counseling methods
Establishing Incorporators: Hiroki Edo, Representative Director of adish co. ltd.
Masafumi Nishiya, Representative Director, President, and CEO of A's Child Inc.
Akiko Orita, Associate Professor at Kanto Gakuin University
Yasushi Sugihara, Professor at Kyoto University
Mitsuteru Tashiro, Specially-appointed Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University
Yasushi Kokindo, Chairman of the Board of Kansai Counseling Center (Public Interest Incorporated Foundation)
Mari Sakuramoto, Representative Director of cotree Inc.
Yuji Sunaga, Vice Representative of Stop bullying Navi
Daisaburo Taniyama, Representative Director of STOPit Japan Co., Ltd.
Yuri Konno, Representative Director of Dial Service Co., Ltd.
Hitoshi Jin, Representative Board Member of Childline Support Center Japan
George Shishido, Professor at the Graduate Schools for Law and Politices at the University of Tokyo
Fujio Toriumi, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo
Emiko Mori, Chairman of the Board of NPO Kameoka Human Rights Exchange Center (Corporation Engaged in Specified Non-Profit Activities)
Takeshi Sankawa, Corporate Executive Officer of transcosmos inc.
Kiyotaka Eguchi, Public Policy Department Manager at LINE Corporation
Comment from Yasushi Sugihara, Professor at Kyoto University:
'Social media counseling is not a simple replacement of traditional face-to-face and over-the-phone counseling, nor is it a matter of doing the same thing that's been done through those other forms over social media. We must research and develop new methods of counseling that bring out social media's maximum potential. I believe that it is essential for us to put our strengths together and investigate what we can do with social media in order to support, encourage, and build positive connections with those that bear these heavy emotional burdens. '
Comment from Kiyotaka Eguchi, Public Policy Department Manager at LINE Corporation:
'The way that the younger generation communicates has changed greatly, from over-the-phone and face-to-face, to social media over the internet. Thus, we thought that we could prevent bullying, suicide, and other issues before they happen by creating, in addition to over-the-phone and face-to-face services, a variety of helplines using social media - a form of media the younger generation is comfortable with - in order to make it easier for people to seek counseling. We are already running trials for counseling over LINE in Nagano prefecture and elsewhere, and not only has there proven to be a much stronger demand than we had anticipated, but we have learned what issues we need to solve. In order for people to undergo text-based counseling and to introduce solutions to them for the problems they face, it is imperative that we conduct fundamental research into text-based counseling methods, train counselors, and improve handling capabilities. To meet these ends, we felt that it was necessary to bring the involved parties together as one and concentrate our knowledge, and thus drew up the Association. Through this Association, we aim to reduce the number of troubled young people in Japan. '
Comment from Takeshi Sankawa, Corporate Executive Officer of transcosmos inc.:
'I was honored to take on the role to champion the Association together with LINE. My hope is to reach every last troubled youth and send them to an experienced counselor. Social media is the communication tool that young people nowadays are most comfortable with. We believe that by preparing a counseling system on the back end and arranging for experienced counselors, we can properly create a method for social media counseling. I won't let people give up on the grounds that 'society has changed, so there's nothing we can do.' If we bring together the strengths of professors, business operators, NPOs, and other experts, we can definitely change the situation. Society can change when the public and private sectors come together as one! First off, we will move forward with these initiatives primarily with our incorporating members.'