Date: Tue, 9 Dec 97 09:38:08 CST
From: Lyn Gerry <>
Subject: (en) Homeless Protest in Japan
Article: 23634

The A-Infos News Service

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 09 Dec 1997 00:08:01 +0900
From: INOKEN <>
Subject: STATEMENT OF PROTEST (Nov. 27, 1997)

Statement of protest

Committee for Struggle against Unemployment of Day Laborers, 27 November 1997

On Saturday night, Nov. 22 SHIBUYA station with the crowd of a weekend was suddenly surrounded by an abnormal atmosphere because the area was conquered by almost 150 of officers of SHIBUYA ward office, staffs of EIDAN subway (the Teito Rapid Transit Authority), the guards and policemen. This imposingness was only to stop the distribution of the meal and meeting of the homeless people.

Since the bubble economy was over, Japan has been depressed, so the number of homeless people who are obliged to sleep on the streets, in the stations and the parks is more and more increasing, and reaches at least 3700 (by Tokyo Metropolitan Government). The policy by administration has been always eviction and dismissal not a drastic measure like welfare, job or housing, and the attitude has been stimulating prejudice and discrimination by citizens, typically in the case of attack homeless people by youngsters.

Forced eviction in SHINJUKU west exit passages on the 24th Jan. last year by Tokyo Metropolitan Government was far from the solution of the problem, and only urged the worsening of homeless people's environment and repulsion of the Japanese and foreign country's people. This measure taken by Tokyo Governor AOSHIMA who dared to say Those homeless people have a unique philosophy. They like to live like that. was condemned by Tokyo local court this spring. The judicial decision declared that homeless people's resistance was right and there was a grave defect in the procedure. Tokyo Metropolitan, driven to the wall, at last recognized homeless people's organization (SHINJUKU RENRAKUKAI) as a partner of negotiation and began the supporting program, promising that they wouldn't evict homeless people and wouldn't send them to construction camps which are like a prison.

Here in SHIBUYA (what is called young people's town in Tokyo), homeless people are also surely increasing. There are 100 people around the station and this is an increase of 30-40 people. Seeing this, staffs of the subway and the guards are strengthening the eviction underground since these two years, and homeless people can't even sit down. And more, for example in MIYASHITA park, officers of the construction section of SHIBUYA ward office are continuing to evict them, so there are no more space for homeless people to sleep or take rest. The welfare office doesn't apply the livelihood protection program (L.P.P.), though L.P.P. is an undoubted right for homeless people. SHIBUYA Police consider homeless people the peace-breaker, confirming their identity, taking their pictures, eventually violating their human rights. In this spring, it wouldn't deal with the attacks to homeless people by young which occurred often at this spring.

Administration has been letting homeless people die on the roads before its very eyes without extending a rescuing hand, though we made a proposal a lot of times to build an integral policy for them, and SHIBUYA ward office wouldn't begin an effective step. Now, homeless people say We defend our livelihood and lives by ourselves. Eliminated by society and administration, they support one another. Nobody wants to be homeless, and everybody is struggling to get rid of life on the roads. INOKEN (supporting group for homeless people) has been acting aiming to make homeless people's unity, not dividing homeless people and supporters as a receiving side and a giving side. Cooking, eating and meeting on Saturday nights in MIYASHITA park is one of our activities. And we do various activities, such as application of L.P.P. on Mondays, doctor's consultation etc..

Winter, the severest season for homeless people is correctly coming this year, too. Nothing can prevent homeless people to move to a warmer place as they have the right to live. In the beginning of November, we changed the place of distributing meals and meeting from MIYASHITA park to the basement of SHIBUYA station because it was getting cold. We chose the area where the traffic was not dense. (We cooked in MIYASHITA park and carried the food to the basement.) Until the second week, it seemed that an assistant station master assented our request to use a corner of the basement as a place of eating the supper and meeting from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00p.m. every Saturday under the conditions that we never bother the passers-by and clean the place though the staffs and the guards tried to let us leave on the pretext of the complaint by passers-by.

From these two time's experience and the fact that we did the same thing in other area underground last winter, the the Teito Rapid Transit Authority can know there's no problem at all. On the contrary, they evicted us with a lot of policemen in an eccentric way. Against our tiny activity, more than 50 of the staffs and the guards checked the area and behind them, more than 30 policemen and almost 50 riot police were mobilized. (5 micro buses) In MIYASHITA park where we were cooking, several administratives of the construction section of SHIBUYA ward office interfered under the excuse of our dealing the fire, though we used a safe portable propane gas and also made anti-fire provisions. We finished cooking pushing our way through their disturbance and tried to move to the distribution area underground with a big cook-pot, but the staffs of the Teito Rapid Transit Authority wouldn't let us go down, even interfering passersby. We protested fiercely against them but they only repeated the words This troubles passers-by. and after that they became silent and never explained more.

The intention of SHIBUYA police which keeps threatening us is obvious, that is to provoke us framing up the injury, arresting, not caring about human rights. This intention is represented by the word of the chief of defense. This is to purify the surroundings. What a discriminative word it is! And this means a naked elimination, too. They oppressed our meeting which is the minimum guarantee for us to live. They try to force us to die this winter by breaking our unity.

We went back to MIYASHITA park not being provoked, and had a meeting to the end. A lot of passers-by also accused the way of doing by police and the Teito Rapid Transit Authority.

We impeach them of attacking us like this just this time when the winter is coming with wholehearted anger. We shall never let them evict us and begin the activities of struggle of living over the winter with a big unity of homeless people.