For those that live in Japan, you know about the homeless problem in cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. You know the deal about the value of cardboard boxes and the nice racket set-up to “employ” the homeless by buying the boxes and then reselling them to recycle facilities. But I bet you did not know about how Nike is just doing it in Shibuya.
I found the post below on Alter.net: I will further discuss the homeless problem in upcoming posts or podcasts.
G8 Dispatches: What Does Nike Have to do with Tokyo’s Homeless?:
“Like many other foreigners, we arrived in Japan holding stereotypes of Japan as a prosperous country, not one where tens of thousands of people live in the streets. Surprised by the level of visible poverty and homelessness we saw, we realized our assumptions were wrong. The next question was how to write about the issues of homelessness and displacement with relation to the policies of the G8 and international financial institutions. Last night the answer to this question appeared.
Under the bright-as-day glow of bustling Shibuya Square, we had the honor of meeting organizers from Miyashita Park. Used for a wide range of activities by the community and activists during the day, Miyashita Park is home to dozens of people by night. But change is on the horizon for the park: it has been sold by the municipality to Nike.
Yup, Nike. The brand name, the sneaker, the swoosh that just does it. Nike has bought the park. It is private now, no longer the domain of the people of the neighborhood. Nike is in the process of building walls to keep out the community, and of course closing it at night so it is no longer anyone’s home. Privatization of parks by international corporations, causing more displacement and homelessness – thanks, Nike, for helping us make the connection.
- 30,000 people live on the streets of Japan, most of whom are single, older men.
- private developers and corporations run massive work programs which “hire” these same people who have been displaced, to work on job sites where they have to pay for every meal as well as their housing.