January 9, 2010

JAPAN: Cash in hand, 46 split from shelter

TOKYO, Japan / The Japan Times / Life in Japan / Kyodo News / January 9, 2010

Forty-six out of 557 jobless and homeless people staying in a temporary shelter set up by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government have apparently jumped ship after getting some spending money, metro officials said Friday. The metro government has provided those at the shelter with ¥20,000 in cash as travel and lunch expenses through Jan. 18 as part of efforts to help them find jobs and accommodations.

Homeless, unemployed people line up in a Tokyo park for free food. Many did not want their faces pictured. As Japanese industry fires more temporary workers, the queues will become longer and more common. Photo credit: Robert Gilhooly/The Age, Melbourne

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma told reporters it's unfair for some people to cause trouble for other homeless people staying at the shelter. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, 557 people were registered at the shelter. Of them, 356 were confirmed to be there while 155 were not at the facility after submitting exit notices. The whereabouts of the remaining 46 is unknown, the officials said.

Late last year, the metro government established a temporary shelter at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center to provide meals and accommodations at the request of the welfare ministry during the holiday season for people who have lost their jobs and homes. More than 800 jobless and homeless people stayed at the center until Monday, and the metro government offered the current shelter for those who could not immediately find jobs and places to live. [rc]

(C) The Japan Times