When Typhoon Hagibis struck Tokyo on Oct. 12, news emerged that three homeless people had been turned away from an emergency evacuation facility in Taito Ward. As the story spread, it varied in tone and content on social media. Some thought the persons refused entry were not actually homeless, while others thought that even if they were the officials at the facility were right to reject them because they weren’t registered at addresses in the ward.

Mainstream media later checked and found the story to be true. Apparently, the staff at the facility, an elementary school, didn’t know what to do and called their supervisor, who said not to admit them if they couldn’t prove residency. A member of an organization supporting the homeless asked if there was another facility these people could go and staff replied that there wasn't, though there was a place where foreign tourists could go and, presumably, it would accept the homeless as well.

Taito’s mayor later apologized at an assembly meeting and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a Diet session that the matter required attention. Officially, it was deemed inappropriate to turn anyone away from safety during a disaster, and there is no evidence that other Tokyo facilities refused homeless people. At least 90 people died as a result of the typhoon, and so far that number seems to include one homeless individual. In any case, those with no access to shelter are obviously at greater risk when the elements turn rough.