Down and out in Tokyo

Published by Al Jazeera English, Oct. 26, 2014

Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts – and the homeless – beg to differ.

Tokyo, Japan – Minoru Ebata’s living quarters stand out in the upscale Tokyo neighbourhood of Shinjuku. The 64-year-old sleeps on a makeshift bed on the sidewalk off busy Koen Dori (Park Street), a pedestrian overpass somewhat protecting him and a few piles of his possessions from a cool autumn drizzle.

“It’s hardest when it’s raining,” he explained about his two years of living outdoors.

A short walk down the street, beneath the next overpass, finds Kazuo Oka, who makes about 3,000 yen (US$28) a day collecting recyclable cans, and is proud of the sidewalk dinners he makes on a portable stove. Continue reading …

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