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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Homelessness in Meijo Koen


The efforts of Rev. Daniel Rea to address the homeless population in Nagoya, Japan's 4th largest city, include an out-reach to other churches active in the area addressing this pressing social problem, in an effort to co-ordinate a united policy for tackling the issue.

Homelessness in Meijo Koen, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Homelessness is manifestly low on the priorities of policy-makers in Nagoya and Aichi Prefecture as a whole and the problem has been left to churches and local NGO's to provide short-term, make-shift solutions to a social concern crying out for decisive, city-wide governmental action.

We visited the MIR Restoration Church, a short walk from Tokai-dori Station on the Meiko Line from Kanayama Station situated in an area of vast public housing blocks, housing a large proportion of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants.

MIR Restoration Church, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

The MIR Restoration Church provides a now, sadly, run-down shelter for five people behind its main church premises, where homeless men can find accommodation and access day work in local factories and businesses as well as claim state benefits. The building is far from ideal and faces closure from the city authorities, who seek to have the structure condemned as unsafe.

Down the street, the Pentecostal Assembleia de Deus shares premises with a Filipino congregation the Immanuel Christian Fellowship both active in the area for social welfare and care for the disadvantaged.

Immanuel Christian Fellowship, Tokai-dori, Nagoya

Later we visited Meijo Koen, Nagoya's main inner city park, close to the tourist attraction of Nagoya Castle, where a small population of homeless people have moved into the interior of the grounds near the lake, a popular place for cherry blossom viewing in spring. It seems they may have been moved away from the entrances to the park under pressure from the authorities, though this has not been confirmed.

Assembleia de Deus, Tokai-dori, Nagoya, Aichi

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