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Over 3,000 Refugees In Tokyo Internet Cafes

by Nicolas See Tho

A recent survey done by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has shown that there are an estimated 4,000 “internet cafe refugees” who choose to spend their nights at these facilities because they have nowhere else to go.

The survey was conducted from November 2016 to January 2017, which covered a range of 502 internet and manga cafes in Tokyo, which are open 24 hours a day and 946 customers. The valid answers are provided by 222 cafes.

From this survey, it has been found that over 15,000 people stay at these cafes during the week and 4,000 of that number are homeless. Further studies also reveal that 3,000 are said to not have stable jobs as well. The results also show that 37.1% of the number is overnight customers which uses the internet cafes as a hotel substitute for business or personal travel. 25.8% of that number confirmed that they did not have a stable residence and were using the cafes as a housing option.

One of the primary reasons that these individuals chose not to rent a room, is due to the high initial cost of the downpayment and the inability to pay rent due over a long-term period. In terms of age, a bulk of the internet cafes appear to be older adults, with 38.6% in their 30’s and 28.9% in their 50’s.

Hiroyo Watabe, a spokesperson for the metropolitan government, explained that the high ratio of people in their 30s may reflect the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, while the large share of people in their 50s might simply reflect that people in that demographic have a tougher time finding work.

Goes to show that even in Japan, there are many who are finding ways to live under a roof in places such as internet cafes and manga cafes.



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