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Weird News
2007-08-28 - Weird News
Windsor Genova - AHN Writer

Survey: 5,400 Homeless, Jobless Japanese Live In Net Cafés

Tokyo, Japan (AHN) -- In Japan, the Internet café has become a substitute for home. A survey of Japan's ministry of health indicated that the number of people who sleeps over at 24-hour Internet cafes for having no home or job total 5,400 nationwide, the Kyodo News reported.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's findings disclosed on Tuesday reveals what could be a widening of the rich-poor gap in Asia's richest country.

The survey was conducted from June to July this year on 1,700 sleep-over customers at 87 Net cafes across Japan with the aim of counting the so-called "Net café refugees. The survey also interviewed 362 people outside such cafes in Tokyo and Osaka.

Based on the survey, 27 percent of the Net café refugees are in their 20s while 23 percent are in their 50s. Half of the total number work on day jobs.

The ministry found that eight percent of the survey interviewees sleep in Net café because they have no homes.

In Tokyo, 58 percent of the refugees are short-term laborers earning an average monthly income of $953 while 17 percent are unemployed. Refugees in Osaka earn $683 a month. More than 40 percent of the Tokyo and Osaka refugees have experienced sleeping on the street.

The survey also found that of the refugees in Tokyo, 33 percent lost their homes while 20 percent left dorms and live-in housing after quitting their jobs.

Officials of the ministry said they will help Net café refugees by introducing them to workplaces with dormitories.

A report by AFP said Internet cafes in Japan offer sofas and showers, serve food and drinks, and even sell underwear to businessmen on break or stranded commuters. But young day laborers have taken advantage of the cheap amenities and stay there round-the-clock instead of renting and living in apartments.

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