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Pakistani man reaches out to those living on margins in Japan

36 Comments
By Supriya Singh

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I do agree with Qureshi that in general homeless in Japan stick to themselves and do not go around antagonizing the public or begging for handouts.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"The reality is that many times the homeless suffer from mental health issues and cannot fit into society," he said.

Lot of problems in Japan are caused by mental health, some even could lead to suicide but it never get enough attention by government, employer, business and Japanese citizen.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Lots of people living out of Internet cafes and sleeping in their cars, too.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

"In Japan, we have a culture that does not support those who do not work hard enough or even considers it fine to let them fall. Basically, we have no acceptance of failure, no matter what the reason is," Seino said.

Exception if you are a 3rd generation LDP politician.

It would be better said that Japan does not accept those who do not appear to work hard enough.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

There are too few articles like the story of Haroon Qureshi who has lifted my spirits and the spark of his humanity lit up my day.

"As-salamu alaykum", sir, and "Allah Hafiz"!

5 ( +14 / -9 )

nice guy.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I personally know and have witnessed the humanity of Haroon san and his Otsuka mosque team. Selfless man, a role model for us, our children and society in general. May Allah SWT continue to bless and protect you.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

A man loving his neighbor

THIS is the meaning of life and our purpose people

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I often ask Japanese people why there are no benches or other public seating in the streets and station concourses of Japan, and they answer I get is that homeless people might sleep on them. So, in order to stop the homeless from resting (which is cruel in itself) Japan stops everyone from being able to rest. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. The attitude of many in this country towards the homeless is really ugly.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I agree with many post about how the Japanese see homeless people. The police also think the same as the general public here in Tokyo. Its basically up to individuals to help. Many people who do help are international people.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I'd hate to see Tokyo become another NYC, Los Angeles or Tacoma in terms of the growing number of homeless folk, but I think that adding benches or more public "seating" doesn't address the root causes and only ends up causing "problems" for those of us who work hard and pay our taxes.

I guess that makes me one of the "coldhearted". Whatever.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Thank you Mr. Qureshi, you are an amazing man!!!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I'd hate to see Tokyo become another NYC, Los Angeles or Tacoma in terms of the growing number of homeless folk, but I think that adding benches or more public "seating" doesn't address the root causes and only ends up causing "problems" for those of us who work hard and pay our taxes.

I guess that makes me one of the "coldhearted". Whatever.

Glad you answered your own question.

It is utter naivety to believe that those in better positions worked hard to be there while

those at the bottom of the ladder didn't or are not working hard. I am sure alot of people

who felt the same when people like Bill, Gates, Steve Jobs, Bezos just started out.

We have a saying that "no condition is permanent" which to some extent is true.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

A total of 3,824 homeless were confirmed in Japan in January 2021, according to data released by the welfare ministry in April. But Tenohasi points out that the figures only include those counted during the daytime, estimating the real number is much higher.

Keep up with the trend or love for low numbers for issues that are bad. It helps with the feel good

factor when comparing. If I venture to Osaka Nishinari, Ebisucho and Tsutenkaku area I can easily count

hundreds of homeless people.

C'mon continue to keep those bad numbers low.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is utter naivety to believe that those in better positions worked hard to be there while

those at the bottom of the ladder didn't or are not working hard.

I don't know about you, but I did and still do.

If that makes me coldhearted, then so be it.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Unbelievable, those down votes to some very warm-hearted comments. To those people, care to tell us why you down voted ??

JT for the article. We need more like this.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Finland solved its homeless problem by giving every one of them an affordable home. Help with addictions and job training.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

In Osaka the homeless bed down near the river out of the wind in the winter. Why? because the homeless are not dumb. They realised the air temperature around bodies of water stay about the same has the water temperature. The water temperature is much warmer than the air temperture and air gets warmer the closer you are to the water. 4000 seem to be very low number so I suggest to inspect around the waterway at night during winter of Major cities to get the real number of homeless

6 ( +6 / -0 )

About 20 years ago the homeless figure was 20,000 to 30,000.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It’s nice hard-working people (who pay taxes) can also be passionate and caring about the less fortunate.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Muslims are suppose to donate 2.5% of their wealth and give it to the needy, Mr. Qureshi is doing it and beyond by extending a helping hand to those at detention centers, I applause him.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"In Japan, we have a culture that does not support those who do not work hard enough or even considers it fine to let them fall. Basically, we have no acceptance of failure, no matter what the reason is," Seino said."

Yes indeed, and that's one of the reason why people that are not strong to handle the pressure end up committing suicide.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Outside of my business (whilst in Japan) I often found myself buying a big issue or making a contribution to a homeless person in Kobe and Osaka.

There are more than a few and really are grateful for some pleasant words too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kenji Seino, director of Tenohasi, a nonprofit organization that Qureshi works alongside, said the great emphasis society places on "hard work" and "self-responsibility" discourages empathy for the homeless.

I saw an old homeless guy sitting on the pavement near Yotsuya station, very down and out and appeared to have mental problems. When I walked by again a bit later some younger fat salary man was standing over him shouting how he should be working and taking care of himself more, so of course I had to tell the fat guy to get lost.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The New Working Poor are homeless people who have jobs but can't afford to rent a room/apartment. Almost one in six Japanese, which would be 22 million people, live in poverty.

Poverty rate 15.9%.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Never thought some posters also have hearts and kind words to say until today. Mr Qureshi, thank you to you!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

On the other hand there are supposedly empty houses all over the place that can perhaps be repurposed by the government to help with this situation https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/want-to-live-in-an-abandoned-house-in-japan-here%E2%80%99s-why-it%E2%80%99s-not-really-%E2%80%98free%E2%80%99

If there's will and leadership of course.

Big ask I know. Sad

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ Mark. "Muslims are suppose to donate 2.5% of their wealth and give it to the needy" .. but this never happens in their own countries. People live in extreme poverty in Muslim countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc... how come? This is not about Islam, it is about humanity that you find in all religions (Buddhism., Christianity, Hebraism, Hinduism,..)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Tokyo-m

I actually think Japan is not too bad towards the homeless compared to some places I’ve been. In the county I grew up in here in the States, you can be cited and possibly arrested just for sleeping at a bus stop. In certain municipalities they actually spend hundred of thousands of dollars to physically modify public spaces just to prevent the homeless from lying down. And at least in Japan you don’t see people going out of their way to harass or even assault the homeless (something that happens daily where I live). On the bright side, more people are starting to understand that chronic homelessness is a factor of mental illness and substance abuse and the attitudes towards helping the homeless (at least here in the states).

I often ask Japanese people why there are no benches or other public seating in the streets and station concourses of Japan, and they answer I get is that homeless people might sleep on them. So, in order to stop the homeless from resting (which is cruel in itself) Japan stops everyone from being able to rest. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. The attitude of many in this country towards the homeless is really ugly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@drlucifer

Your comments have nothing to do his post. And to be fair, there is some legitimacy in what he is saying. In cities where public spaces were dedicated to the homeless they saw an immediate spike in drug related deaths, violent crimes against the homeless, and most importantly, those who took refuge in these areas were less likely to agree to medical treatment, social welfare services, and counseling. Basically, they’re utopian yet naive ideas to help the homeless actually resulted in the creation of govt sanctioned shanty towns, which essentially disincentivized many homeless in these areas from admitting themselves into govt assistance programs. So not only did this kind of idealism absolutely fail to address the root cause of homelessness, it also left thousands of homeless worse off than they were before.

Glad you answered your own question.

It is utter naivety to believe that those in better positions worked hard to be there while

those at the bottom of the ladder didn't or are not working hard. I am sure alot of people

who felt the same when people like Bill, Gates, Steve Jobs, Bezos just started out.

We have a saying that "no condition is permanent" which to some extent is true.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We are talking about Japan and the perception of homeless as being lazy which i debunked as not true. I don't know where he is from or what the situation regarding the homeless is in his country. I won't spend my time arguing about something I have no knowledge about, if homeless are dying in his country due to drug abuse it is not the case in Japan and no relevance to peoples cold perception of the homeless here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder what going to happen to the Olympic villages once the games are over. They built rows of high rise homes for the athletes. I wonder if they will open the doors to the homeless. I doubt it!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A very uplifting article! It's a relief to read there are people who do care and do help.

Years ago in Hamburg I sat down on a bench that turned out to be a homeless man's bed. When he came over to see who's sitting in his "bedroom" we talked over an hour, from losing his job in his 50s to losing his apartment in his 60s, his miniature rent, the unavailability of even a small apartment he could afford and I learned that being homeless is a full-time-job. You need a safe place for the night, food, drink, a place to wash yourself and your clothes if possible, you can't pay for public transport so you keep walking all day around the city collecting deposit bottles. You don't have health insurance so your only option to see a doctor is by the local community services for the homeless.

After a few years your health will be in a state that most jobs that require physical work are no longer accessible for you. And when you find a place to sleep, you will always keep an eye open in case some heartless people will kick you or set your sleeping bag on fire.

Eye's idea of empty houses is a good one: Government gets empty house, helps transforming it to a livable place, puts homeless people in, people have a home - no longer homeless. In reality it's a bit more difficult: Villagers will not want homeless people in their vicinity and the poor guys will have to work hard to gain status as neighbours.

The idea is still good. Alas, this is Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@drlucifer

you didn’t debunk anything. Re-read your posts. Also, the claim you supposedly debunked is based on the unproven assumption that all Japanese simply dismiss the homeless as being lazy, which ironically, is pretty ignorant.

https://ecobear.co/knowledge-center/homeless-people-in-japan/

We are talking about Japan and the perception of homeless as being lazy which i debunked as not true. I don't know where he is from or what the situation regarding the homeless is in his country. I won't spend my time arguing about something I have no knowledge about,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@drlucifer

”The Broader Japanese Society and Homeless People

On balance, the general Japanese public tends to ignore homeless peopleand “give them space.” By this, it is meant that homeless people in Japan are rarely harassed by anyone, including law enforcement. 

Courts in Japan have provided homeless people in that country a far broader set of rights than is seen in the United States. For example, a considerable percentage of Japanese homeless people live in what commonly is called homeless encampments in the United States. 

These tent communities tend to be located near rivers or in parks. Japanese courts have ruled that these homeless tent communities on public land cannot be merely dismantled by the police or anyone else. Homeless people in these tent communities are protected by the same due process rights that apartment renters have. In other words, in order to dismantle a homeless person’s tent or a tent community, the regular eviction process must be followed.”

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Inspiring. Haroon bhai is a man blessed with a generous heart. "We may have different religions, color or race. But I request everyone to try and feel the pain of other members of this huge (human) family, and do what they can. Some people say that what I do is 'sugoi' (great), but I say it is 'atarimae' (natural)" - Mr. Haroon Qureshi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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