Activists said Thursday that the government needs to do more to help an increasing number of homeless people in smaller cities.

Alarmed by an explosion in the number of homeless people nationwide, the government enacted a bill in July that promised help in finding housing, medical facilities and job training.

But activists say the resources are not only scarce but only accessible to those dwelling on the streets of major cities.

“The number of people who can access the centers is limited,” said Tsuyoshi Inaba, a member of a support group in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. , where parks are studded with the makeshift, blue tarpaulin shacks of the homeless.

He said the homelessness problem is increasingly creeping out of major industrial areas into smaller cities.

The country’s homeless population was estimated at 25,296 at the end of January, according to the most recent government statistics. Activists have put the actual figure at double that.

The figures have risen sharply in recent years, as the country’s economic stagnation has sent bankruptcies and unemployment to postwar record highs.

About 70 percent of people who live on the streets cite difficulties finding a job as the reason, according to the January survey.

The government has set up about 20 shelters and homeless support centers nationwide that provide beds for up to 2,600 people, according to the health ministry.

Hiroshi Sasanuma, whose group monitors homeless areas in Shizuoka Prefecture, said that barely puts a dent in the problem.

“I’m very concerned,” he said. “They don’t have a clear idea of what measures should be taken to solve the problem.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.