Jan 29, 2018
Tokyo sees 4,000 homeless sleeping in 24-hr cafes on any weeknight
TOKYO - As many as 4,000 homeless people may be finding shelter at 24-hour internet and manga cafes in Tokyo on any given weekday, the first survey on the issue by the metropolitan government showed Monday.
Over 70 percent, or about 3,000, are estimated to be temporary workers. The most common age of the so-called cyber homeless are people in their 30s and 50s, accounting for 38.5 percent and 27.9 percent, respectively, according to the survey.
A metropolitan government official said many of the homeless in their 30s likely lost their jobs in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, while many of those in their 50s were homeless because finding work is more difficult for them compared with younger people.
The survey was conducted between November 2016 and January 2017 at 502 internet and manga cafes open around the clock in Tokyo, of which 222 responded.
Of the 946 people surveyed while spending a night in a cafe, 37.1 percent said they were there while on a personal or business trip, followed by 25.8 percent who said they did not have a permanent address and needed a place to sleep.
Based on figures provided by the cafes surveyed, the metropolitan government estimates 15,300 people spend a night in the city's cafes in any given week, with 4,000 of them homeless.
The Tokyo government also interviewed 363 cafe users who have no permanent residence and found that 43.8 percent also have slept on the street. The largest group, 46.8 percent, said their monthly income ranged from 110,000 yen ($1,012) to 150,000 yen, while 10.7 percent said they had no income at all.
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