Saturday, January 20, 2007

Homelessness in Japan By Cheng Ya Bin (Mike) Takushoku University

Good afternoon everyone. Today I want to talk about the homeless in Japan because, whether you like it or not, homelessness is a problem in society that is affecting our lives. After you have heard my presentation, I hope you will decide to care about this special group of people. In my presentation, first I want to tell you about the homeless situation in Japan. Then, I want to talk about the problems ta are caused by homelessness and last I will talk about some solutions to the problem.
Ok, let me start with some information about the homeless in Japan. The population of Japan is about one hundred and twenty-five million and the number of homeless people is about twenty-four thousand. Half of them are in Tokyo and Osaka. According to the latest research in 2006, the number of homeless in Tokyo is less than the year before. Most of the homeless are between the ages of 50 and 60. The youngest is 26 and the oldest one is 78. Also, thirty-one point eight percent of them have lived this kind of life for over 3 years, 14.9% have lived this kind life from between 6 months to a year. The most common reason for them to become homeless is bankruptcy, or something like this, which forces them to be homeless. The second biggest reason for them to become homeless is a family problem. Eighty point four percent of them are searching for work to do. Nineteen point six percent are not. One third (1/3) of them are woman. Fortunately, in Japan there have been no cases of homeless children reported.

Ok, I have told you about the homeless situation in Japan. Now I’ll talk about the problems caused by homeless. Once I wanted to relax in a nearby park during a break from my part time job. How I wished to relax myself at that time, so I walked into the park. Suddenly, a big voice shouted out, “what are you doing here!” I was so astonished. I stopped and looked around, at last I saw that a homeless person was sitting at the top of a chute and staring at me. What a horrifying face! I had to leave straight away. In this case, the homeless person made the public park seem as if it were his private place. So, on the one hand, homeless people encroach on the public’s rights, On the other hand, when people go into parks that homeless people occupy, it seems like people encroach on rights of the homeless. So this situation causes trouble very easily.
The second problem caused by homeless is the urban aspect, because homeless people will stay anywhere they want, Even in center of a city. So that will give people a bad impression of the city, especially the people who come to the city for the first time; they can’t forget it for a long time.
Homeless people do not only cause problems for the public, they cause problems for themselves too. For example, they sometimes can’t get enough food, they can’t get enough clothes, and they aren’t well treated when they are sick. All in all、they can’t get basic things to live. These are the problems that are caused by homelessness. So how can these problem be solved?
Japan has enacted a law to help the homeless to get back into society. The main spirit of the law is, first, helping homeless people to get a job. Second, helping them to get a place to live. Third, taking care of their mental and physical health. However, this is not easily done. There are several reasons for this. First, because most of the homeless are older people, it is difficult for them to master a new skill in order to make a new life. Second, some of them do not want to accept another’s help, even the mental patients who don’t know what people are doing for them and don’t know to accept the help. So there are still many things that need to be done to help carry out the law.
I’ve talked about what the Japanese government is doing for the homeless. And now, let’s think about what we can do for this special group. As far as I know, there are three ways this can be done. The first is to buy the magazine which is called “The Big Issue”, because all the profits from the magazine is helping homeless people to live. Second, the Korean and American churches in Tokyo, always organize people to help the homeless, so you can contact them and take part in their activities. The third thing you can do is take the clothes that you will never use to the church and let them help you give them to homeless people. Homeless people need to change clothes and they need clothes as protection against cold. Of course there are still many more ways to help the homeless. If only you care about the homeless, you will find a way to do something for them.

Ok, I’ve talked about the Japanese homeless situation and the problems caused by it, and what the Japanese government has done for the homeless. Finally, I suggested three ways in which you can help them. I hope from now on, every one of you will care more about the homeless, because they really need your help, and you will be rewarded by what you have done. So every one of us, let’s do what we can to help the world to be more beautiful. Thank you!


Shinia no godouhai e homuresu no shakai fukki wo ooen shimasen ka? [Can you help homeless seniors re-enter society?] (n.d) Retrieved January 20, 2007 from:

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