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NYTimes - Japan's Homeless and Youth Violence


Omnipotence personified
15 Mar 2003
From Dec 17th, International section of New York Times. Full article at -http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/17/international/asia/17JAPA.html

-For Japan's New Homeless, There's Disdain and Danger

"KAWASAKI, Japan 窶 The memory of how three youths pounced on him one night with sticks and fists twisted Masahiko Sugai's face with pain...the bruises around his eyes, visible for days after the beating, testified to a new kind of crime: attacks by young men and boys on middle-aged men who have become homeless after losing their jobs and who, in the cold logic of Japan's post-bubble-economy years, are useless.

"We're most afraid of boys," Mr. Sugai, 51, said one afternoon in early September as cars and trucks rumbled overhead on the Rokugo Bridge. "They're the most dangerous."

"A month later, in an unrelated case, 10 boys were arrested here for randomly assaulting three sleeping homeless men. The boys 窶 the youngest was 10, the oldest 16 窶 told the police that they were "killing time," "getting rid of stress" and "disposing of society's trash." They came from normal homes and earned normal grades at school."

"More than 1,000 homeless people are believed to be living here in Kawasaki, an industrial city that has fallen on hard times. Many live in cardboard boxes near the main train station."

"'"This is Japan here," Isamu Ishikawa said, by way of introduction, in September. "This is the Japan where people who want to work can't find work.'"

"Next to the nearby tennis court, a young woman and man dressed in white were playing badminton. They did not seem to see the people under the bridge."


A decent article. Lots of things current issues hinted at in this one and many themes left unexamined. It is, after all, a short piece. It is a chance for all of us to stop and think. - M
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