Officially, Japan had 15,759 homeless people as of January, almost unchanged from a year earlier, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Monday.
The figure has declined since 25,296 were recorded in the first study in 2003, falling to 18,564 in 2007 and to 16,018 last year, but the downward trend seems to have ended due to the worsening economy, according to the ministry.
Of the 15,759, 14,554 were male and 495 were female, while the gender of the remaining 710 was unknown.
While homeless were found in all 47 prefectures, Osaka had the most at 4,302, followed by Tokyo with 3,428, Kanagawa with 1,804, Fukuoka with 1,237 and Aichi with 929.
Homeless people in the 23 wards of Tokyo and in government-designated major cities accounted for about 70 percent of the overall figure at 11,245.
The ministry expressed concern that the figure could rise because an upward trend has been seen in many urban areas.
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