Park homeless promised shelter

Compiled From Kyodo, Staff Report

The organizing group for a tent village in Hibiya Park in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, said Sunday the welfare ministry has promised to prepare new shelters for the 500 people there.

The homeless people, many of them believed to be temporary workers recently thrown out of their jobs, have been staying in the park and a nearby welfare ministry hall.

The ministry planned to stop allowing them to use the hall on Monday but pledged to let them stay at four other locations until Jan. 12, including unused school gymnasiums, the organizing group said.

Meals will be provided for the 500 people, the group said.

According to the group, many of the people came to the tent village after they lost their housing and used up their money. Since the opening of the village Wednesday, five people have been rushed to hospitals by ambulance, the group said.

Around 260 homeless people had been staying in the hall, and another 140 in the park. But the number ballooned to 500 in total Sunday, the group said.

“This situation is a man-made disaster caused by a wrongheaded (government) policy that allows employers to use workers as a disposable resource. We’d like the government to fulfill its responsibility” to protect workers, said Shuichiro Sekine, secretary general of a union for temporary workers.

The organizing group has called on the ministry to provide housing, food and clothes for the people in the park and hall.