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Protesters continue to oppose plans for Nike park in Shibuya

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“We simply want to bring sports closer to people with this project,” Nike spokeswoman Yoko Mizukami said. “

By paying a backhander to local council for naming rights to a public park ? If Nike care so much about 'sports for the people', then why not hand out free sneakers and sporting goods in the third world where Nike have a bad reputation for child labour and sweat shops ?

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and is paying 17 million yen a year for “naming rights.”

Can Japan Today please publish the WHOLE story and disclose details about the FULL amount of money paid by Nike for this park. The 17 million yen is just for the naming rights. Please print all of the financial details and stop making this news story sound like it is only 17 million yen.

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I love this protest! There arguments are so pathetic they make me laugh.

“This is just an excuse to get rid of the homeless,” Awesome! They shouldn't bloody well be there in the first place!

“Don’t take away our space for self-expression.” Why not? Take your right-wing rants somewhere else! Try Yasukuni shrine.

This park is the best thing to happen to Shibuya for half a century. Shibuya is famous for being the hub of Tokyo's youth, so why the hell shouldn't they build facilities for them? My guess is the stigma of skateboarding in Japan. It's still a crime! Many small towns in Australia have built similar facilities for the local youth and have found the crime rate dropped by over 60% in most cases just for giving the kids a place to hang out and be themselves. BUT! This is Japan. Kids are not supposed to enjoy themselves, are they? They are supposed to spend their entire youth with their heads stuck in books learning how to become another drone for Japan-Inc, right?
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It is sad that these people are being thrown out but it something that they know that they may have to deal with while living on the street. Hopefully this will spark useful discussions on how to assist the homeless but I don't think they should have priority to be living in the park. It's a communal space and Im happy to see that it will be given a skate park to encourage outdoor active lifestyles.

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Homeless need a place to stay. I am with the homeless and not Nike and I am a skater. Don't you just hate these commercial enterprises who just jump on the band wagon where they think they can make money on the expense of the down trodden people? I bet there is hardly any crime among the homeless in Miyashita Park in the first place. If Nike wants to build a skate park, there are already many skate parks around Shibuya and more skateble objects you can possibly imagine in a big city like in Tokyo. The last thing this city needs is yet an another skate park on top of a skate park built by a brand with no understanding of the skateboard concept. Just go to Setagaya Park or Komazawa Park or for that matter, just google skate park in Japanese. スケートパーク and you will find out that there are quite many.

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I am going to Miyashita Park myself. Nike, don't you have anything better to do than pick on some homeless? Absolutely disgraceful. No class.

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sakurala:"Hopefully this will spark useful discussions on how to assist the homeless but I don't think they should have priority to be living in the park."

You should do a little research, the Tokyo government build special housing several years back for the "homeless" when Shinjuku ward decided to put in "decorations" along the covered walkway for Shinjuku station to the Tokyo government office buildings in order to stop them from living there and the "homeless" refused to go their claiming it was to far from where they make their money (collecting, newspapers, can for JR garbage bins and others as well as panhandle) then they offered train tokens and other things like job search help all refused, most of those special units are still empty today.

This is just another BS from people unwilling to work and just want to be near were they can collect just enough money to buy their booze live for free and like in Ueno park cut into the city electricity grid and get free electricity.

I can't wait till they some how find a way to get these guys out of Ueno also, I wonder what would happen if I climbed the city lamp post behind my place and attached an extension cord and started using the city electricity without paying! I would guess I would be arrested for stealing, but I go through Ueno and see this all the time and having been to this park only a few times years back I saw the same thing, why do they think they deserve a free ride???

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This is just another BS from people unwilling to work

Strange. You said that they were working by collecting newspapers, can for JR garbage. There are plenty of parks where homeless get kicked out too. Japan is big enough and tolerant enough for different types of people. I am surprised that you would be judging them in a manner like you do. Labeling them as lazy and what not. Some had no choice but to be homeless after they got fired from their previous jobs too and just didn't have enough strength to get back into the game so they found a new way to survive.

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As a Canadian bystander, I rather suspect that if this were a Japanese company there would be no protest.

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limboinjapan/ Disillusioned, this is an argument about a public park being sold off to a multinational retailer, rather than local council keeping the park clean and free of the homeless. This is not an argument about the homeless (although I wonder what your opinions would be if you were in your 40's or 50's and out of work in Japan. My bet is that you wouldn't last even 1 week).

As for your defence of the so-called homeless shelter system in Japan, the best example of the Japanese governments hypocrisy and lies over shelters for it's homeless is every New Year in Tokyo. They lay on tent shelters with food and a little cash, get their PR department to splash it all over the TV and printed press, and then close them down after about 2 weeks.

This is not about the homeless. The only reason that park was over-run with the homeless is because Shibuya Ward did not spend their tax income and left it to rot. The homeless problem is just a consequence of Shibuya Wards incompetence.

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neogreenjapan:"There are plenty of parks where homeless get kicked out too. Japan is big enough and tolerant enough for different types of people. I am surprised that you would be judging them in a manner like you do. Labeling them as lazy and what not. Some had no choice but to be homeless after they got fired from their previous jobs too and just didn't have enough strength to get back into the game so they found a new way to survive."

Sorry but you haven't read much on this lately have you?

And I also am guessing you don't live near these places, or have children!

I do in both cases and I have become so bad in our local park and the river side near us that parents can't let their children go there anymore, these men defecate and urinate when and where they please they put their blue tarp homes right in the areas the children play, they sit around late at night drinking then the next day yell at the children try to play because they are sleeping.

I am not Japanese and I lost everything several years ago during my divorce I had no money and 2 children but somehow I was able to go to my ward office and navigate all the Japanese red tape and get some help including day work, so if they really want out they can.

There are several places all over Tokyo some Tokyo government some ward that are free for the "homeless" for a certain period of time BUT there are conditions and those conditions include they must participate in the Job programs and once they have found work they are moved to public housing other conditions include hygiene.

If they are really only "homeless" out of loosing their job and serious about getting back on their feet then there are options, they can even get welfare for some time but again that also comes with conditions and for a single male of working age that means taking any job offered.

And please don't give the usual BS reply of that means Cheap labor job or exploitation etc... it means working and any job offered of found by the government will be at least minimum wage and public housing rents are base on your earnings so it is livable until they can find better.

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"This is not about the homeless. The only reason that park was over-run with the homeless is because Shibuya Ward did not spend their tax income and left it to rot. The homeless problem is just a consequence of Shibuya Wards incompetence."

So now the park will no longer rot and will be cleaned up so more people can enjoy. What's wrong with that?

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limboinjapan is still banging on about the homeless. You seem to have a bit of a complex about them don't you ?

I also live near Shibuya right by Yoyogi Park and I also have young children, but we have never had any issues with the homeless in Yoyogi Park nor in Shibuya. In fact, the real issues are with the gangster-backed agencies who take fees from otaku to photograph girlie models in Yoyogi Park. And if the homeless in your local park really are defecating and yelling at the children, then just call the police or sort them out yourself.

Because of your ranting about the homeless (who let's be honest, despite their stink are pretty harmless) you completely miss the point here. You have children in Shibuya-ku ? You care about your taxes in Shibuya-ku ? Then you should also be joining the demonstrators in protesting about your local councils incompetence and money-grabbing attitude to their work.

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Perhaps nike could sponsor an outreach centre for homeless people and some real, genuine community projects to assist the disadvantaged. The people posting here who describe the homeless as lazy etc are like the scarecrow and tinman all rolled into one. No heart and no brain! The causes for homelessness are many and complex and a little bit of empathy wouldn't hurt! I wonder how you would cope if you were suddenly unemployed because of the global downturn or your company going bankrupt. Would you have enough money to pay the rent for a year or more? But then again from the sounds of it you are probably just a spoiled brat who still lives with their parents!

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So now the park will no longer rot and will be cleaned up so more people can enjoy. What's wrong with that?

Paulie, that's the point. We are paying taxes in Shibuya-ku. And in this overcrowded, skyscraper-ridden borough, we expect our local council to do that job. Not take money from a corporation such as Nike to do it. Also, we are not all skateboarders here so most of us would just like park space, not P-Rod sponsored concrete bowls.

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northlondon: " I wonder what your opinions would be if you were in your 40's or 50's and out of work in Japan. My bet is that you wouldn't last even 1 week)."

You just lost that bet! Read what a previously wrote and I was already over 40 at the time but I do agree that I cannot get a full time job due to my age so I made my own thing, first did day jobs and anything else I could get then worked my way back up to running my own business, thing are still hard and I have a hard time during the lean months but I manage, if you are Japanese most wards in Tokyo offer free classes to upgrade skills that can at least get you some work and public housing being based on your income make even that little work enough to keep you off the streets.

As for your:

"this is an argument about a public park being sold off to a multinational retailer, rather than local council keeping the park clean and free of the homeless"

I think @hamiltontruther has it right, there is a long history in Japan of corporations doing this sort of thing and my local swimming pool, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds are all sponsored by Japanese sports companies for as long as I have been her 19+ years and this is the first time I have ever heard anyone protesting such a thing.

My son's Junior high has a big sign boar in the computer room saying that the computers were donated by Fujitsu.

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"About 200 protesters banged drums and waved..."

200 "protesters" in a city of 10 million plus is hardly news worthy ! Waddya wanna bet as many as 180 of these folks were just slack jawed gawkers ! The other 20... Todai anti-nuke boneheads with another lame attempt at "sticking it to da man" ! Some things never change.

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Sorry Limbo. I live in Tokyo have a wife and I am a dad. And I still skate. I am sorry to hear about your break up but I am happy that you got back up on your feet again. Not all got as much strength as you do. Miyashita Park is a tiny park, I go through it when I don't feel like waiting for a green light when heading to SHibuya Station from Harajuku area. It's not pretty but I still would think it would be better to let stay there then kicking them out and as I said earlier, there are many places where you can play football or skate in Tokyo. Shibuya ward being bribed by Nike. How sad.

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"Perhaps nike could sponsor an outreach centre for homeless people and some real, genuine community projects to assist the disadvantaged."

From Nike's website:

"In fiscal years 2005 and 2006, Nike contributed more than $100 million in cash and products to support nonprofit partners around the world."

"We will invest a minimum of $315 million in grants product donations and in-kind support through 2011 to give excluded youth greater access to sport programs designed to unleash human potential."

Anyone have the numbers for say... Uniqlo ? Mizuno ? Mikasa ?

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@northlondon:

I cannot speak for Shibuya as I don't live there but your TAX comments are precisely the point!

What is wrong with the city council saving money that can be used for other project that cannot get sponsors?

The school computer donation/sponsorship program in my ward made it that the ward save enough money so they did not have to raise daycare fees and that was a great relief for the single parent households (of which my ward has one of the largest in Tokyo).

The swimming pool sponsorship made it that the local elementary school has an indoor pool ( something that was not in the budget ) and that the children can use it all year round, so what if it has corporate logos, the kids don't care all the care is they have a nice modern clean pool they can use and an added bonus was that seeing it was built in the School ( actually under ) they have a larger play ground behind the school where originally part of that was going to have the outdoors pool.

A win win for all in my book.

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I tend to agree that this is more a case of an anti-FOREIGN corporate protest. Doesn't just about everything in Japan revolve around big Japanese corporations?

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This is getting too much into a discussion about Nike. Personally i am against any company doing this kind of stuff whoever or whatever they are.

Some say that most teh homeless are lazy or useless hobos etc, well let me give you some facts. I was working with homeless in London in the 90s. Over 60% of under 25s had been put into care due to abuse or neglect from family members. Over 30% of all ages were judged to have svere mental problems. The percentges are differnet in each country, but it is you will find the problems are similar. These homeless people are humans and it can happen to anyone. The fact that Nike make such a fortune distorts us from seeing the real facts which are the need to ensure the vulnerable do not end up here and if they do there is support in place to help them. I think the fact so many are blaming Nike when it should be society says something.

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So if times are hard and money is scares then you reduce your needs if there is a way that does not hurt anyone to get more then use it.

If cleaning the park and building a place closer and safer for the local children to use means a corporate name and logo (and not forcing people to buy or use the products) then so be it, save the money for other more needy things.

Maybe the saving can be used for better aide facilities for these homeless.

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The homeless are a valid issue but I think the emotional sentiment behind the protests are for the reasons I stated. Also, let's face it, some people want to protest for the sake of protesting, which is their right, but to say that upgrading a park somehow undermines that right is a bit silly.

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Branded:

I don't know the numbers on the numbers for Japanese corporations but one of the ones you mentioned sponsors the Local elementary school skimming pool I mentioned in my previous comments,

I'll let you guess which one:))

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As far as what I think, is that in Japan if you fall through the cracks it's quite tough to get up again. Shibuya not dealing with this problem and then just getting bribed by Nike is very sad. On top of that, Nike is not really a skateboard brand and now they try to expolit that market. It gives enough reasons for me to get upset. In any case, I respect your views but have to agree to disagree with you here.

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@neogreenjapan:

I truly believe that it is the reasonability of society to help those in need!

I was raise that way in my home and society, but I also believe that if those in need do not try and help themselves then society is no longer responsible.

Japan has places that can help these men and it has programs for these men ( although I do think there needs to be a lot more and a few more laws against age discrimination and key money,)

If Shibuya is not dealing with it there are other wards that are and all these guys have to do is move there and ask, that is why there is a larger portion of single mothers in my ward not that the divorce rate is any higher than the rest of Tokyo but because the help offered is better. (its just a train ride away and for all it grandeur Tokyo is still quite small and you can go from one ward at one end to another at the other end in less then an hour)

As for Nike, well I truly believe that had this been a Japanese corporation like all the ones near my place it would have not been an issue or made the news.

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As for Nike, well I truly believe that had this been a Japanese corporation like all the ones near my place it would have not been an issue or made the news.

While I don't agree with the other things you say, this though I do not agree with. Shibuya, construction workers and Nike made a deal. Not a nice deal. They never thought of the homeless but only themselves. Shoving the down trodden even more in the gutter.

No Nike. Happy that many Japanese care and don't sell out to soul less capitalist enterprise. Keep up the spirit and the resistance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUL9Ifx_7q4&feature=related

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also believe that if those in need do not try and help themselves then society is no longer responsible.

Disagree, here. People always need to help and society too in order to have a better society.

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neogreenjapan: "Disagree, here. People always need to help and society too in order to have a better society."

These is a great expression that goes like this " You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink!"

What this means is that help is available and if they do not wish to take it then we have done our part.

It is not up to society to force them into doing anything and it is also not up to society to accept or feed their unwillingness to improve their situation or to furnish them with anything that they are not willing to at least work for.

Again I do believe in helping people get out of a bad situation but I will not give my time and money if they are just going to sit around and do nothing.

A little anecdote. I had 2 friends both out of work and one on the street I arranged to help both of them even though I was not doing well at the time, one still had a place to live and a few others helping him the other was not even that well off.

The one in the worst condition with help from friends and the city got back on his feet and is now doing OK,by doing any little job we could find him and by working hard to help himself and by giving up a few bad habits that he could not afford and were part of his problem.

The other just sucked up our help and did nothing to help himself except complain about the unfairness of things to the point that even though he had more friends than the other guy we all finally gave up and told him enough was enough, he is now leaching of others and still lamenting his life but will still not help himself or admit to some of the reasons he was in his mess and give up several bad habits he could not afford and in his situation should not even be thinking about let alone doing.

Are we supposed to pay for this guys unwillingness to work other then the few jobs he is willing to accept?

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Nike bought your democracy, which was for sale.

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Excellent post, sf2k

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“Ideally, public space serves as a laboratory of democracy and civility,” said Christian Dimmer, who specializes in urban planning as a researcher at the University of Tokyo

So what of the great democracy and civility experiment is bums sleeping in tents?

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The homeless in this issue are not contributing any tax yen. Why should they be given any 'preferential' treatment?

This deal allows the local government to earn money and still retain ownership of the park. Why is that so bad?

For all you people in support of the protesters/homeless, let me ask a couple of simple questions. Is it the right of the homeless to claim any park as their own? Should their 'rights' be confined to just parks? If they were camping out in a public space next to your abode, how would you feel?

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forinagai: " Is it the right of the homeless to claim any park as their own? Should their 'rights' be confined to just parks? If they were camping out in a public space next to your abode, how would you feel?"

Good point,!

What if they decide to make their homes in lets say the empty lot next to your place (that someone else owns and pays tax on) and they also decide to cut into your home electricity and use that without paying.

Would you accept that?

When I go through parks (especially Ueno) that is what they are doing taking electricity from the lamp post, those are our taxes that pay for that and our taxes that pay for the parks for all to enjoy, but they seem to think that somehow they can use it with complete disregard for others.

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Does anyone even skateboard anymore? Skateboards parks as socially acceptable forms of urban revitalization is a dated Western idea. And how is that "safer"? Is there going to be an ambulance on duty?

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