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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 16 - 22  > Action to connect needy to public help takes place in a Tokyo park
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2020 December 16 - 22 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Action to connect needy to public help takes place in a Tokyo park

December 20, 2020

A life-counseling action took place on December 19 in Tokyo's Hibiya Park in order to connect people who lost jobs or places to live in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic to public assistance. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), the Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren), civic groups, and welfare organizations hosted this event.

Lawyer Utsunomiya Kenji, Min-iren Chair Dr. Masuda Tsuyoshi, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Dr. Koike Akira (Upper House), JCP Vice Chair Tamura Tomoko (Upper House), and JCP Yamazoe Taku (lawyer, Upper House) advised a total of 52 people who visited the park for advice. Foodstuffs prepared with cooperation from the Japan Family Farmers Movement (Nouminren) were handed out to 120 people in need.

A man in his 70s walked for 1.5 hours to get free "onigiris" (rice balls). He said he had worked for more than 20 years as a day laborer in the construction industry, but with little job openings available, he could no longer pay the rent. He said he had once thought of applying for public assistance but decided not to after being told by a municipal employee, "You must enter a homeless shelter to receive welfare benefits." He said, "I've heard conditions in such facilities are so abhorrent and dehumanizing that many people run away."

A 69-year-old man said he saw a group of people in front of a nearby train station who were promoting this life-counseling service, and said, "I have only a few coins left in my pocket and don't have enough money to feed myself tomorrow. I came here thinking that maybe I can get some assistance."

A former taxi driver who is 68 years of age said, "I injured my lower back and had to give up my job." He said he now lives on the street because he had to move out of the taxi company's dormitory upon termination of his employment.

Past related article:
> Zenroren and other civic organizations provide relief to laid-off temporary workers in tent village [January 1–6, 2009]

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