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Jesuits support homeless executives in Japan

The Jesuit order in Japan is reaching out to the growing number of middle-aged men who have lost their jobs from failed corporations.

The figure, about 30,000 according to Church sources, grows steadily upwards as the recession deepens. There are 6000 on the streets of Tokyo alone.

Japanese law does not allow the homeless to sleep out in the open.

Eventually in 1998, with outside help, some of them formed an association 'Nojiren' in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.

Fr Shimokawa Masatsugu SJ is a member of Nojiren, a kind of union for the homeless.

Shimokawa says Nojiren has had some success. Last year it was instrumental in encouraging the Government to pass a bill promising jobs, medical help and counselling to those on the brink of homelessness.

"By forming relationships of companionship, the homeless are becoming more and more self-supporting," he said. "Exploiting their own possibilities, they act as partners in building a better society."

Independent Catholic News

Nojiren Online
It is still winter for the homeless (Social and Pastoral Bulletin)
Homeless in Shibuya take new action (Social and Pastoral Bulletin)

8 May 2003