[Hpn] Tokyo, Japan - Major step in move to help homeless - The Asahi Shimbun
(Japan) - July 19, 2002
H. C. Covington
H. C. Covington" <email@example.com
Tue, 23 Jul 2002 05:05:45 -0500
Major step in move to help homeless
Bill helps job-hunters, but discourages squatters.
- stipulates responsibility of central and local governments
to provide homeless with job opportunities and places to live.
The Asahi Shimbun - Japan News - July 18, 2002
Proposed legislation to help homeless people support themselves and to
discourage others from resorting to homelessness cleared a Lower House committee
Wednesday, but prospects of its passage in the waning days of the current Diet
session are unclear.
The bill, a product of the whole political spectrum, addresses the need to
encourage people to re-enter the economic mainstream, as well as providing
``appropriate steps'' to discourage people from setting up camp in parks and
other public places.
The bill would allow operators of public facilities to take necessary measures
against the homeless. The suggestion is that they would have the right to evict
squatters if their presence prevents the general public from making full use of
The committee also cautioned actions should not be taken at the expense of
violating the human rights of the homeless.
The bill is a united effort by the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito,
Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), the Social Democratic Party and Hoshuto
(New Conservative Party). It also has the support of the Japanese Communist
Party and Liberal Party, although they did not help create it.
The homeless bill next goes to a plenary session of the Lower House, then to the
Upper House before it becomes law. It remains unclear whether the bill will make
it through the full legislative process within the current Diet session, ending
The bill is intended to help the homeless find opportunities for stable
employment and places to live for those who hope to be self-sufficient. It also
provides counselling for those who are on the brink of becoming homeless, to
encourage them to remain in the social mainstream.
The bill would help provide the homeless with temporary quarters and supply
daily personal needs, as well as help safeguard the rights of homeless people.
It calls for a nationwide survey to assess the extent of the homeless problem,
which would allow the central and local governments to formulate policies.
It aims at prompt action, and thus has a 10-year limit. Progress would be
reviewed after five years.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimates there were about 24,000
homeless people nationwide in September 2001, or about 4,000 more than in 1999.
Of the total, about 70 percent were in Tokyo and Osaka. Most of the rest of the
homeless were concentrated in urban areas such as Nagoya and Yokohama. But
ministry officials said the phenomenon is spreading to other regions.
The bill stipulates it is the responsibility of the central and local
governments to provide the homeless with job opportunities and places to live.
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H. C. [Sonny] Covington, Editor
Homeless and Housing News