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The Olympic Village in Tokyo Image: AP file

Tokyo faces pressure to house internet cafe homeless

By Rina Chandran

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This is the real, hidden poverty of Japan that LDP does not want the world to see. One of many aspects of hidden poverty in Japan.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

At least 4,000 people without secure housing use cyber cafes to sleep, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, with 80% of those employed.

80% of those can pay a similar fee as they do at the internet cafe's, and let the other 20% stay for free.

The Olympic village was to house 11,000 athletes during the 2020 Games

That will leave 7000 apartments available for others.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Not only the Olympic villages but also the Diet Building and the Imperial Palace if they want to show "true solidarity" of the ethnic Yamatos.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Here's another idea for the government, why not utilize every existing vacant government-owned building they can re-purpose (for the meantime) to house these people and to make more medical facilities? Here's an even more outrageous idea, Japan has a lot of abandoned buildings scattered throughout the country, I'm willing to bet that some of those are still in good shape enough to be retrofitted for the purpose. Improvise, Adapt Overcome.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

What's the exit plan? Once these people have a free apartment, they're not going to want to leave. Like many of the Fukushima evacuees who were given temporary housing, years later they were still not ready to go. Where can I sign up for my free apartment?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

The Olympian housing was never to be used by the homeless....oh no, not the crown jewel of Tokyo...to be used by homeless....what has the world come to?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What is totally sad here is that there have been literally thousands of people living as refugees here for nearly 10 years.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I think some of the homeless are there by choice. Faced with a job at a cold building with no lights, scrapping metal or some other dark job, they choose to be "free" collecting cans for money or a free bento then sleep in his blue tarp house by the river.

Sad place.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Allot of people think they will come to Japan and do any hustle, any job. It doesnt really work that way; people are steered into careers, if they work in a hotel, they do it for life, or a ramen shop or dishwasher. Its not a place like the US or Europe where you can do any hustle without shame. I think some of these people just drop out and become homeless instead.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yubaru, only ten years? I remember the homeless being shuttled away from prying - ie foreign - eyes before major events in the Tokyo vicinity; especially those events that included a US president. The homeless were actively forced to move in the 1990s.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

They should not have closed the internet cafes in the first place. Those place are pretty socially isolated already, what more do they want? Irrational activism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Exactly. Why squeeze them into hotels and send money to the rich? Have them live in houses around Japan and spread the money around to the people who need it?

And have those people do something in return. Even picking up trash, gardening along the roads. Otherwise, toss 'em out on the *****.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Three cheers for those trying to help these people!

And three LOUD BOO's for the politician & civil "servants"  etc for their usual teeth sucking,  brutally slow, non-sensical, mind numbing slow brains who can action anything if their lives depended on it!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

90,000 Tohoku residents and 15,000 Kumamoto residents still displaced. Olympic village apartments selling for between $800,000 and $2.4million.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government did not respond to requests for comment.

.... is the most disappointing sentence in the article. I can't imagine municipalities in most developed nations not being able to put out a simple statement of their position on the homeless.

Where can I sign up for my free apartment?

... is the most disappointing sentence in the comments. Most of those commenting here are probably fortunate enough to have a secure roof over their heads. But this is how to do it. 1. Give away all your worldly possessions except your resident card and the clothes you stand up in. 2 Go to your ward office. Good luck.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

society does not owe you anything, especially if you do not work or pay taxes

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

society does not owe you anything, especially if you do not work or pay taxes

Well, that type of thinking is very America - me first; no social safety net.

In the civilized world, we believing in creating social safety nets for our more troubled citizens. This not only shows compassion to our fellow members of humanity, but it also means we don't need to live amongst the homeless.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ Dango Bong-

society does not owe you anything, especially if you do not work or pay taxes

Please read the articles fully next time:

*At least 4,000 people without secure housing use cyber cafes to sleep, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, *with 80% of those employed.

Most of these citizens ARE working. It is just through pure luck that some of us are very well off, with luxury like a roof over our head, hot showers, endless food and a bed to sleep in. Remember that.

I hope these people are allowed to stay in this accomodation for the duration of the crisis. It is the right thing to do.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If any of you know anybody who need such help in Tokyo, call or let them call Tokyo Challenge Net, which is set up by Governor Koike as a part of Social Welfare programs:

0120-874-225 or 0120-874-505 (Female only)

10:00 - 17:00 Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat

10:00-20:00 Tue, Thu


This is Tokyo's official support system specifically aimed at helping people who have been using a net cafe for temporary living space.

They will help finding stable living places and new jobs for them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

House them in Hashima island. Last I heard plenty of space and empty buildings there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abandoned properties will have municipal taxes owing if their owners died poor and destitute. Who is going to pay the Shiyakusho Tax Office?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How many empty houses are there in Japan? 12 million?

What is the reason for houses? People to sleep in right? Is this problem really so hard to solve? Internet cafes have acted as places to sleep in for at least 15 years. Have done it myself a few times. Very comfortable chairs that fold into a bed. Nice and warm and have food and drinks.Costs about 1000 yen for a night. OK for couples too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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