A government study revealed that there are only 3065 people without a home in Japan. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has released the results of an annual study on the number of homeless people in the country’s parks and riverside areas.
Conducted in January of that year, the researchers found 3,065 homeless people, a decrease of 383 compared to last year and the lowest total since the study began in 2003.
Of the 3,065, about 91% were men, about 6% were women, and the remainder visually indeterminate gender due to obscuring clothing or other factors. Broken down by prefecture, Osaka had the highest homeless population observed at 888, followed by Tokyo with 661 and Kanagawa with 454.
There are only 3065 people without a home in Japan
On the surface, that would be a pretty low rate of homelessness, given Japan’s current total population of something like 125 million people. However, aspects of how the study was carried out may have resulted in numbers lower than the actual reality of the situation.
The first is the focus of the study on parks and riverside areas. It is true that in Japan, the vast majority of homeless people spend their nights sleeping in parks and undeveloped riverside areas.
Compared to many other countries, the share of homeless people literally sleeping on the streets, sidewalks or in shop windows in Japan is very small.
It’s not like there are absolutely no Japanese homeless numbers in purely urban settings, especially during the day, so not including these areas in the study would mean at least some level of underreporting.
The second is the method by which numbers were collected for parks and riverbanks. Local government officials visited sites in their territories and reported the number of homeless people they saw there, that is 3065 people without a home in Japan, so any homeless people out of sight or out of the park at the time of the site visit were not included in the count.
On the other hand, assuming that there were no major changes in the study methodology or in the diligence of those who carried it out, the decrease in the number of homeless people can still be seen as a positive evolution, considering that there was no notable increase in the number of homeless people. homeless people in areas outside Japan’s parks since a year ago.
The counterpoint to this, however, would be the question of why the observed homeless population has declined, specifically whether it is the result of better social support or economic improvements that allow more homeless people to have secure housing, or whether the drop it’s the grim result of homeless people passing away. That said, it’s still too early to say that Japan’s homelessness problem is solved.
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