picture of the day

Tough times

43 Comments

Homeless people sleep at the Hanzomon subway line entrance to Shibuya Station in this photo taken at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning.

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my heart feels for them

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So sad to see this... breaks my heart

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Never mind them! Japan has to bail out the euro or buy more US dollars first!!!!!!!!!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Bring them food folks. I join groups of students all the time and do it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There but for the grace of God (and my wife's salary) go I...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, there were 13,124 homeless (confirmed) in Japan in 2010. Back in 2003, there were 25,296 homeless. In 2010, Tokyo-to 3,125, Osaka-fu 3,338, Kanagawa-ken 1,814 confirmed homeless. (Actual figures are higher).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hear that many of them actually quality for public housing but can't be bothered to apply for it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

After I became exhausted waiting on the train platform, a homeless person gave me a piece of his cardboard. "Lie on it, its freezing out." Even though we are always ignoring them. It was so touching. @aquarius_rabbit

One of the tweets on 3.11

3 ( +4 / -1 )

recruit them all into the JGSDF

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Everybody now can become one of them in a moment. That disturbs me very much... Ahh, stupid capitalism surviving...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

West side of Shinjuku used to be famous for the large number of people living in the cardboard box city that was there, they got cleaned out eventually and were never able to set themselves up again in that location to the degree they were.

It used to be quite a site to see what they had done with the cardboard boxes with windows and all sorts of arrangements. I think they got cleaned out just prior to the football world cup.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't know if they are still there, but I remember the pathway along the Sumida river in Asakusa about 8 years ago, one or two homeless people there had built small, plywood houses with a door and window. I saw a pair of shoes outside the door. Down on hard times but still showing some dignity. Good luck to all of them; life can be tough.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One reason the government has counted fewer homeless in recent years is that the police have chased them away from parks. Then the government goes out to parks to count them. The official counters do not go down to riverbanks, which is increasingly where they are living because of police harassment. Surprise! Fewer homeless. What a great job government officials are doing, eh?! Like radiation, n'est-ce pas? If we see too much, we turn off one of the wave readings, and voila, problem solved. JGSDF? Where do you think TEPCO and its minions are getting thousands of disposable employees at this point? They are being recruited into the Fukushima Tokkōtai.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are not there any Homeless Shelters in Japan? Where people fallen on hard times can get assistance be it food, shelter, counseling and a place to apply for Govt funded job training or to await an opening for Govt housing. Like the Section 8 program we have here in the US. The Govt pays I think 80 to 90 percent of your rent until you are making enough money to survive on your own.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most people (young) don't realize how thin the line can be. When you're young and healthy, it's easy to maintain a job if you're willing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hear that many of them actually quality for public housing but can't be bothered to apply for it.

That's not simple. These guys need to work to buy food, they want to stay in areas where they have acquaintances not homeless (the little left of a normal life). The public housing tend to be far away from everything, they can't afford the ticket to commute and come to do their gomi sorting jobs, they would be totally isolated.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whenever, I see homeless people in a rich country like Japan, I get angry! When I look around and see so many empty properties, I get angry!

When I was 16-years, I worked to help homeless alcoholics. After that I worked for over 20-years, in London to help homeless people.

I wrote a policy on equal opportunities which was adopted by the government. I helped more than 3,000 people find a home.

If you think the homeless are homeless because of them, think again, you may be next.

Whenever there's a big rain or its very cold, I always say to my wife, "bad night for the homeless!"

Just look at the increases in homeless in America, because people lost their work, then their homes.

There's not enough low rented accommodation which can be provided by housing associations and housing co-operatives.

8 ( +8 / -1 )

Also, I would encourage people to buy the Big Issue from street vendors. Many Japanese hesitate to buy from someone standing on the street like that, and the more 'normal' they see it is, the more they may do it themselves. I also try and discard my issues in places where they could be picked up and read by others (e.g. on trains). The more people see there are real interviews and articles in there, the more likely they are (hopefully) to buy their own copy next time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

owwww.... heart breaking =(

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can a person who has extra realestate register it with the Govt as a home for a program wherein the Govt pays most of the rent for people who can rent it when they make below a living wage and or are homeless.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Things are tough all over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The government should increasing taxes on gambling to fund social program,i'm sure many of them left a small fortune in pachinko stores.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The government built all of these temp houses for the mega-desater victims could have they done something for the homeless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What happens is a person needs an address for services and these people have no address. Do not let them fool you the government and public employees are heartless. They have no compassion, none at all.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's a common sight for years, I watched a documentry on it a few years ago. They don't generally show up until the stations about the close, they camp, then by morning rush they are gone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

issa1,

your comment is an insult to homeless people and typical of someone who does not understand the homeless problem, branding them as gamblers, alcoholics etc. It is true for some of them but not all of them. The new "Working Poor" are also joining the homeless, and also using soup kitchens.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

TO ZICHI

Of course,what i did not refer to all homeless - It may seem harmless but pachinko is a problem of social order and must be seen As a public health scourges. I know people who have lost absolutely everything with this addiction.

No, this is definitely a disease !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I remember my first experience at seeing homeless people in Tokyo. It was one evening about 2 years ago when I had dinner with some friends in Kannai near Yokohama. As I was walking back to the Kannai station, I took the short cut through the subway tunnels and walked passed those underground shops and restaurants. As I got to near the tunnel exit to the train station, I noticed that there was a small city of cardboard housing being constructed (similar to photo taken for this article). There were security guards down there because its a business area, and I noticed that they allow them to stay underground when the mall closes so they don't have to be outside in the elements. Maybe about 50 individuals as an estimate from what I can see. It broke my heart to see people living like this, but at least the police and security let them stay down at night without harassment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is a sad photo, no doubt. I recall staying at a hotel in Asakusa for a week last February....one night I was out later than usual and realized that most of the subway exit and stairs was being set up with cardboard for sleeping purposes. Not just the sleeping there is the issue, but I wondered how they all got through the long boring day and cold evening. It's not a lot of fun trying to kill a full day even with a little money in your pocket...imagine doing it all day with virtually nothing in your pocket.

I felt kind of guilty knowing I would soon be in my hotel room and enjoying a hot bath.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are not there any Homeless Shelters in Japan?

There are many government housing projects in Japan, but the thing is, some of these homeless were actually businessmen or executives in some big companies until they made a big mistake in their careers. And instead of killing themselves, they just "die" in the face of the government -- which means no records as to where they are living and that they are indeed still living. No properties (even cars), no taxes, no juuminhyo, nothing but the clothes and other resources they have (bicycle to carry those cans, cardboard boxes to sleep in, etc).

It's still a matter of honor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The super filthy rich politicians like Ichiro Ozawa with over 500 private HOMES all over Japan and overseas too live in their own lala world, while the weakest in this country are treated worse than a dog or a cat. Look at how regular Japanese buy CLOTHES, HATS etc..for their DOGS!! Do these same people who are so in love with their pets ever stop and wonder, OH THAT MAN or WOMAN living on the cold, cold streets may be suffering, may be hungry, may be sad and lonely, etc...NAW, better to go to my office, work away like a robot get back to my house and buy toys etc..for my DOG since my own Japanese family cares more about the DOG than about their own father, just pathetic in my book!! By the way, Shinbashi station is worse than this picture JR Shinbashi here in Tokyo, I need to use it some times to go over to Nihon TV and every time I go there very early in the morning I can not believe this is TOKYO JAPAN!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Ultrack, the Japanese are far more determined to support themselves than most of our American brethren. Going to a homeless shelter is a shameful act, and few Japanese will debase themselves by going. I still hope for the best for them, though, and that they are able to support themselves soon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Mex Fukuoka

but the thing is, some of these homeless were actually businessmen or executives in some big companies until they made a big mistake in their careers. And instead of killing themselves, they just "die" in the face of the government -- which means no records as to where they are living and that they are indeed still living. No properties (even cars), no taxes, no juuminhyo, nothing but the clothes and other resources they have (bicycle to carry those cans, cardboard boxes to sleep in, etc).

It's still a matter of honor.

I hear you, the Businessman or Executive does not return home and just disappears in effect makes himself homeless. But what about Tenacity to not give up in the face of adversity to have the wherewithal to face his family and say I messed up so we are going to do things on our own. Like start his own business, I'm sure he has a degree. To me having Tenacity and not giving up is the highest form of Honor.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's wonderful to hear of the compassion of the Japanese people in helping out these unfortunate people. Ganbatte Japan!!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not that easy.

Know a few homeless as well as few people on social welfare(this is NOT unemployment benefits, etc). Neither life is easy, yes, homeless don't get money-aid, shelter, etc but many do prefer it over going onto social welfare.

Sound strange not at all if you know what social welfare entails. First of all you have to give up all personal belongings(house, car, etc) to be elligible. PR people can apply.

Than you will be housed in either a dorm(with crims, etc) where you have to do all the cleaning, preset meal-times and cooking and the money you get is the leftover after expenses. 2 person per room communal bath(restricted times), etc.

If you got a family you get more but might still be reduced to live in a 6 tatami(1dk) apartment for 2-3. Also you have to look for work at given times(little aid from the ward besides lip-service).

I know a guy that is a single foreign parent to his child(J-mother died) and who has to support his kid on 10man/month(Child raising support are deducted from monthly payments/can't earn,receive more than goverment allows).

In short the goverment will allow you to receive X-monies/month only and also impose many other rules. Don't follow them and you are canned = homeless Granted Social welfare does give you 100% medical(but than they do that for kids under 6) and water-bill is covered.

Apart from that they do NOTHING and never contact you, explain anything, etc.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Forgot to add the rules at the dorms are strict, Have a fight/disagreement = you are out. Have drink even outside = you are out, Visit a pachinko, etc = you are out. and that is for starters.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ It"s Me

Thanks for the info. It's sounds like the J Govt doesn't want people to get comfortable depending on Social Welfare because the rules are so strict. But it might be better than living in cardboard, at least the homeless can apply and the Dorm living sounds like a shelter But with no counseling which is strange because people are in the situation of needing assistance for a reason. At least the people with families are allowed to be together even though the space may be really small but still no counseling. I don't get the no counseling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Utrack.

They do have some counselling of a sort at Hello Work. But social welfare itself is rather useless(remember the workers can't get fired so they don't really pull their weight nor to they know about the outside conditions). Easier to use one of the NPO"s that work as a go-between you and the ward/city-hall.

Most of the dorms are NPO too. And yes it is a rough deal and agreed better than a cardboard box at the station. As for goverment housing anyone can apply, quiet a few families that live in them. Cheap rent as it don't go up(granted no frills/elevators/etc) but many use them to save up money to buy a house and move out later on.

Now this will get me some hate but do try to get in touch with your local Komeito official, those guys do carry quiet a bit of power and are pro-foreigner, etc. You don't be need to be a Soka Gakkai member to do so. Mine helped me a lot when I got stuck a few times.

Same way there is a lawyer association here called "Ho-Terrace" that will either work free or cheap(5000Yen/month) in case you need them for disputes. Lawyers are all volunteers. Seen them cancel loans or cut them in half and arrange easy payments/months.

Just need to get to know the local system and sources. Most don't and that includes japanese.

Nearly forgot "homeless" her means a person that is NOT living at the registered address. Many homeless do use a PO Box or a friends address to receive welfare payments. Same way you can walk past one and won't know it. Homeless here don't equal a squatter, etc as many got money to spend for a room, etc. Seen employed salary-man that are considered homeless(i.e. refuse to go home, etc).

HTH.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ It"s Me

Thanks again for your Comments. You give a wealth of information and I hope it reaches the people who are in most need of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi

When I was 16-years, I worked to help homeless alcoholics. After that I worked for over 20-years, in London to help homeless people.

Many thumbs for your effort and +1 thumb for your comments :) But JT allow me only once... :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good on you Zichi and Japan Gal for helping these folk! What they do need in the short-term is warm blankets and food - definitely NOT under any circumstances sho-chu. Some of these blokes have chronic problems when they get on the drink, and on the punt at Pachinko. Sadly, the root of so many of their demons. I just hope there are more Japanese versions of Zichi and Japan Gal realizing this is a very real problem on their doorstep.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BurakuminDes,

The homeless need a helping hand to get up, not a kick in the face, to stay down!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well said Zichi. I will try my best to help the few homeless blokes I see in my town this winter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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