The Development of SA in Japan

The Development of SA in Japan


There are 19 physical meeting groups that are held regularly in Japan. One of those groups is for women only. Each group has their own schedule and may meet anywhere from weekly to once a month. In addition, there are two online groups that meet on a regular basis.

In Tokyo and the surrounding areas, there are nine physical groups that hold weekly meetings. So it’s possible for the residents of these areas to attend meetings almost every day. However, in the rest of Japan, the number of meetings is still small. Therefore, there are a few meetings that are held as a hybrid of physical and online meetings.

Currently, all regularly scheduled meetings in Japan are Japanese language groups. We have not been able to identify any regularly scheduled physical English language groups in Japan. Since many members in Japanese SA speak only Japanese, few members participate in the worldwide online group. We estimate that there are less than 100 SA members in Japan as a whole.

We have completed translations of the White Book, Step into Action, and Recovery Continues, which are available in Japanese for Japanese SA members. In addition, we are working on the translation of The Real Connection.

We hold intergroup conventions twice a year to discuss Japanese SA issues as a whole. We also hold roundups in conjunction with the intergroup conventions to promote interaction with members who do not meet on a daily basis.

Currently, it is not difficult to obtain sponsors among Japanese SAs for male members. Of course, due to the regional distance, there are many fellows who mainly engage with their sponsors online to advance their Steps. However, it is difficult for female newcomers to get sponsors in SA. There are few female members who have worked the Steps in SA and it is also difficult to find online sponsors from the US and other countries since many Japanese members are not fluent in English.

The good news for us is that the number of members who are still sober is slowly beginning to increase. This past year we had at least three members who have been sober for 10 years or more.

In regards to prison, our fellows have been able to deliver the message regularly to one prison. One of our goals is to deliver the message to other prisons and hospitals. Another goal is to get people to keep coming back to SA. Of course, we’ve realized that a few of these people are newcomers who only come to one or two meetings. However, there are members who get a sponsor, work the Steps, support the group, and begin to participate in intergroup activities who still often leave SA after a few years.

Due to language barriers and geographical distance, we may not be fully connected with fellows in other countries. However, we are very happy to be able to introduce Japanese SA in this way.

Anonymous, Japan

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