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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 10 - 16  > Anti-poverty group: Utilize Olympic village as lodging for people who lost places to live due to COVID-19 crisis
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2020 June 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Anti-poverty group: Utilize Olympic village as lodging for people who lost places to live due to COVID-19 crisis

June 13, 2020

Anti-poverty NPO Moyai Support Centre for Independent Living on June 12 petitioned the Tokyo Metropolitan government to offer part of the Olympic Athletes Village as temporary accommodation to people who lost either places to live or places to stay like 24hr Internet cafes due to the COVID-19 crisis. The organization also submitted more than 50,000 signatures supporting this demand.

The more than 50,000 signatures on the petition addressed to Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Chair Mori Yoshiro were collected through an online campaign which began at the end of March.

After the state of emergency was declared at the beginning of April, the Tokyo government requested internet cafes to suspend their operations. As an urgent project to provide temporary shelters to people who are needy and living in these cafes, the metropolitan government rented rooms in several business hotels for them. The Tokyo government on June 12 ended its measure to close all-night net cafes while extending the rental period of hotel rooms until the end of June.

In the petitioning, Moyai Chairperson Ohnishi Ren pointed out that the Tokyo government’s project to rent hotel rooms is just a temporary aid. He said that given a long-term fight against coronavirus, it becomes more important for the Tokyo government to offer temporary accommodation to people who became homeless due to the pandemic and implement measures to help these people to find places to live.

In response, Tokyo government officials showed their reluctance to use the Olympic Athletes Village for emergency lodging assistance. Criticizing this attitude, Ohnishi said that people staying in hotel rooms may face various problems such as being unable to undergo residence registration, rent an apartment, and buy mobile phones, which often obstruct their efforts to rebuild their lives. He urged that the Tokyo government consider the possibility of the utilization of the Athletes Village for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for supporting corona-affected people.

Past related article:
> Housing aid needed for people who became homeless due to COVID-19 [April 8, 2020]
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