Tent village residents still out of work

A tent village [known as Haken Mura] for laid-off temporary workers set up in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park over the New Year’s holidays was officially declared closed Sunday at a symposium to discuss unemployment issues, but many of those who stayed in the village remain jobless.

The group that organized the village, consisting of labor unions [including NUGW Tokyo Nambu] and citizens’ groups, reported at the symposium the results of a questionnaire it recently conducted on around 260 of the 630 unemployed people who stayed in the tent village or attended advisory meetings in the spring.

According to the survey, which received responses from 108 of the 260 people, only 13 had been able to find jobs while seven had been hired as temporary workers, mostly earning ¥200,000 or less per month. Fifty-five respondents were still searching for jobs and 48 said they had not been feeling well.

“The people who ended up coming to the tent village have disadvantages from the start, considering their educational and professional backgrounds, and many of them are suffering from depression triggered by the fact that they cannot find jobs,” a member of the group, which will disband Tuesday, said.

Eighty-one respondents are receiving welfare benefits from local governments and nine others are receiving unemployment insurance payments, and at least 46 were in debt.