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Urgent appeal from Homeless activists in Osaka, Japan

Sketch1, on behalf of the Osaka Unemployment and Homelessness action committee | 19.01.2006 12:03 | Repression | Social Struggles

Immediate Email / Fax / Letter protests needed to prevent violent eviction and detention of Homeless people in Osaka! The average age of those affected is 55! Please make an effort to address your concerns to the Japanese authorities, any international pressure means a lot to the unemployed dispossessed of Osaka!

Comrades and affinities;

Saluton from Osaka. by the way, this mail is really urgent appeal of homeless liberation movement in osaka. you might not believe that there are poor people... however, following msg is so important fact of japnese islands. especially in osaka, biggest violence and harassments to the homeless comrades are an official one. so, we have been engaged
in the class war against the city government/their subjects for at least 5 years. hospitality of osaka city? NO KIDDING! on the roadsides, parks...etc, you can see, there is a lot of dirty violence of this city by city authorities!! their politics for the poor are really violence to the poor like a NAZIS/FASCISTs did!!! tomorrow or a few days later, "merciful" oSSaKKKa city with over hundreds guards(or thousand guards and officers with polizei pigs) will attack to the 30 homeless comrades.
yes, this is the hiden reality of their hospitality.
anyway, if you will be able to do something, we strongly want you to do the protest against the branches of osaka city as soon as you can. any protests to the osaka city authorities and executional committee of World rose convention are welcome by our comrades!

(please BCC send your
protests to: and )

thanx. in solidarity.



VI VENKOS! NI VENKOS!! NO PASARAN!!! (rebel_JILL/a working poor)

To members of the media,

Please excuse the suddenness of this mail.
We are the the 'Unemployment and Homelessness action committee', working with homeless movement groups and aid groups in Osaka prefecture.
At this time, at Utsubo Koen park and Osaka-jo Koen park in Osaka city, forced eviction proceedings have been initiated against 30 homeless
people. The speed of the proceedings has been exceptionally fast and it appears that the evictions will take place sometime between January 20th and 23rd.
We see this incident as an enormous human rights violation perpetrated by the city, already a lawyer team and plaintiffs have been assembled (with 17 homeless living in tents at the sites as plaintiffs) and litigation has been launched on January 11th against the city for the
cessation of eviction proceedings; at the same time we have entered a demand for a provisional halt to the evictions. From this point on, we intend to endeavor to the best of our powers to halt the expected evictions.

Concerning this matter, we would like to bring these stories to the attention of those interested, and so we have contacted you.
By all means we will happily accommodate any media interest in the matters concerned.

Unemployment and Homelessness Action Committee (失業と野宿を考える実行委

(Kamagasaki Iryou Renraku Kaigi, Kamagasaki Takidashi no Kai, Kamagasaki Patrol no Kai, Nagai Kouen Nakama no Kai, Koureisha Tokubetsu Shuurou Kumiai Junbikai, Osaka-jo Kouen Yorozu Soudansho, Nishinari Kouen Yorozu Soudansho)

Contact Information:090?9700?0296(Mr. Kanatsu)
    06?6647?8278(Kamagasaki Iryou Renraku Kaigi)

(Below is a detailed account of the situation as well as a call for assistance)

<We need everyone's help!>

All of the people living in tents at Utsubo Kouen Park (about 20) and one part of Osaka-jo Kouen Park's tents (5) are being exposed to a forced eviction crisis by Osaka city. Made involuntarily homeless by unemployment, these men have put up tents in parks and on street sides, earning their livings working jobs such as can and magazine collection,
waste removal etc.; they have lived on their own strength with the help of neighbors.

Instead of extending a helping hand to these people, under the name of 'illegal occupation', the city is taking away the very tents that allows them to work out a lifestyle while attempting to kick the occupants out into the cold weather and onto the roadsides. In Osaka city, at least
200 homeless people die on roadsides annually. These dead are victims of homeless eviction policies, of murderous policy. In order to put a stop to Osaka city's unjust human rights violations we now need the cooperation of a number of people.

<The story up until now>

Utsubo Kouen park, where some tens of homeless people live, has been prepared by Osaka City over several years for the 'World Rose Convention 2006' (from May 11th-17th 2006). Up until this point, the tent village autonomous organization has held negotiations with the park's western office and has cooperated in discussions for the transfer of the tents.
However, since last year Osaka city has changed its attitude, handing out documents on October 4th stating "get out of the park by November 30th", refusing to dialogue with the autonomous organization and beginning 'individual visits' to tents in order to prepare for eviction.
Protest marches have occurred a few times, demanding dialogue, but the city's stance has not changed; finally the process of forced eviction has been begun by the administration.

With regard to Osaka-jo Kouen Park, preparatory construction for this year's 'National Capital Tree-Planting Fair in Osaka' (March 25th-May 28th 2006) has served as the reason for the eviction underway. The park's eastern office has denied the proposals for tent transfer and as soon as it had stopped responding to dialogue, sealed the entrance during visits, barring concerned individuals and supporters from
entering the office, even refusing to receive correspondence, continuing a pattern of conduct that is unthinkable for public employees.

Amid the 'individual visitations' that prepare the way for eviction, there was an incident where a homeless friend was approached on November 11th 2002 by personnel who took out a knife threatening him to 'leave the park' (although the park office acknowledged the truth about this incident, there was no action by the city and no apology by the personnel involved), again on October 27th 2004 a wheelchair-bound
comrade trying to build a tent was surrounded by personnel and was heaped with abuse, such as 'this one looks about dead!', provoking an 'assault incident' and the arrest and imprisonment of our homeless friend.
Since last year, patrols and 'persuasion' by park personnel has intensified and harassment and interference like the nearly complete enclosure of two tents by fencing have occurred. Just like Utsubo Kouen Park, by the end of November documents demanding departure were distributed, bringing us to the present day.

<The Initiation of the Eviction Process>

In both parks, park personnel distributed an 'explanation meeting notice' on January 5th to each tent. After January 11th, the 'explanation' period expired and on the 13th, an 'exclusion directive' was issued. It is believed that at 1 o'clock on January 17th, the 'exclusion' period will expire, 'warnings' will be issued and after an extremely short window, an 'administrative directive' will be issued and
forced evictions will commence.

Administrative proceedings against homeless have happened nationally since last year, January 24th against the tents at Nagoya's Shirakawa Kouen park (mobilizing more than 600 personnel and guardsmen). In Osaka, the removal of the 'Karaoke village' in December 2003 at Tennoji and the forced eviction of many homeless tents and belongings in front
of Imamiya Junior High School in December 1998 are understood as the first wave of state action to have occurred.
As soon as the paperwork was in motion, four people from Utsubo Kouen park and two from Osaka-jo Kouen Park opened a lawsuit against Osaka city for a halt to the administrative proceedings of the 11th. At the same time, an appeal has gone forward for a temporary restraining order.
However, Osaka city has issued a letter of objection and on the 13th rejected the application for restraining order. Without a moment's delay, the city issued an exclusion order that same day.
After the 14th, as more comrades added themselves to the plaintiff group (9 from Utsubo Kouen park, with 2 planning to add themselves), they issued a protest against the rejection of the restraining order and planned to further demand the cancellation of the exclusion order however there are fears that the city will not wait for the courts and
begin forced evictions.
Osaka City is moving with an unthinkable speed (according to one lawyer, administrative action against regular citizens are often deferred several months), and so we have very little time.

<Shelters are No Replacements for Tents>
Osaka City has proposed 'choices' such as the Osaka-jo Kouen park shelter and the 'Independence Aid' center in exchange for homeless comrades leaving their tents in both parks.
However, these are not choices.
Osaka-jo Kouen Shelter is an institution established three years ago.
Conceived as part of Osaka-jo Kouen's 'normalization' i.e. tent eviction, it was only those pitching tents in the park who became targets (for those homeless sleeping without tents, in a much harsher situation, they are contradictorily refused entry to the shelter).
However, the living environment of the shelter is extremely rough, individual space does not even fill two mats (2.5m by 2.5m), with thin partitions, privacy is non-existent and the permitted amount of belongings is limited to several pieces of cardboard. Only a single meal of white rice is provided as a guaranteed meal for the day. In the end, residents cannot eat without gathering aluminum cans and people's
living conditions decrease markedly compared to their lives while living in tents.
Once admitted to the shelter, the tent which one had been living in is torn down by the park administration and for those who inevitably feel that 'this is awful', there are no tents and they are essentially kicked to the roadside. Despite the obstinate 'persuasions' of the park personnel, the number of people entering the shelter is only a third of
those living in tents. The number of those who can't stand these 'persuasions' and have had no choice but to surrender their own autonomy and leave is unknown.
Now, the west park administration office is extending the term of the Osaka-jo shelter, which was planned for closure at the end of last year, and attempting to move our friends at Utsubo Kouen park inside (already some comrades who could not avoid entering are inside). However, the shelter's essential problem is that this extension serves only for a few months. Because of this, there are no homeless comrades who wish to enter it proactively (Osaka-jo Kouen Park is the same).

In the same way, the other 'choice' of the 'Independence Aid Center':
although one can get three meals a day, shared rooms mean no privacy and there is a six-month limit for residency at the shelter. If one cannot find work on one's own, there is only a return to the streets.
These institutions are simply 'preparations for eviction'. With no prospects after entry and no guarantees after leaving, the shelter serves as no replacement for the tents that our friends have pitched with their own power (along with relationships of mutual aid).

<Work for the homeless! Livelihood protection without prejudice!>

Unemployment is the largest cause of homelessness. Amid ongoing firings, restructuring and the expansion of irregular employment, homeless who have lost their jobs and everything else will keep increasing. As long as the government does not take responsibility and actuate radical shifts in unemployment policy, the homeless problem will
definitely not be going away. With the progress of restructuring and de-regulation, in the midst of a situation of 'recovery without employment', forcing the unemployed to 'help themselves' will not solve the problem. For the unemployed who include homeless, the national and
regional governments must take responsibility and guarantee work.
Presently, as a fruit of the homeless and day-workers' struggle against unemployment, a program called 'Work for Older Workers' has been opened in Kamagasaki, and within the city, approximately 3,000 homeless are registered (for those above 55, light work is provided in a rotating system three times a month). Disregarding the importance of this program, the city has stricken funds from its 2005 budget and is on the path to 'reduction and abolition' of these services.
We think the very opposite, and appeal for the expansion of this special employment programs' scope.
The discriminatory application of 'Livelihood Protection' (Seikatsu Hogo) is another cause of homelessness. Even now when a homeless person goes to the welfare office, they are turned away at the entrance because they do not have an address. Even disregarding the 'Livelihood Protection' clause that 'takes as principle care for a residence', if
one applies for the program from a tent or living on the streets, they are usually admitted to a hospital or other institution. On one hand, in hospitals and other institutions, huge expenses are racked up for care and the pay structure funnels this money from the administration to
the administrative bodies behind hospitals and other institutions.
We are not institutionalists, we demand direct transfers from the tents and roadsides into apartments under the application of 'Livelihood Protection'.

<The Right of Residency is the Right to Live>
The problem of Utsubo Kouen Park and Osaka-jo Kouen Park is by no means a problem only of the tens of people living there. As long as the direction of this country remains oriented towards the policy-based abandonment of human beings, people will only lose their jobs and continue to be expelled to the roadsides. For these people, putting
their belongings on the road or in a park, pitching a tent etc., shouldn't these natural rights to live be recognized? (Japanese parks were originally after all, places of refuge) If forced evictions occur, and fences are built, 24-hour guardsman patrols begin, it will be impossible for homeless to live in these parks (already the construction of new tents is being obstinately obstructed). This will rob not only those comrades now living in the park of their right to live, but untold numbers chased into homelessness in the future.

For us, the right of those who fall unavoidably into unemployment to pitch tents and live on the roadsides is an existential right guaranteed in the Constitution's 25th amendment, a right that must be upheld according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

<What is the point of this construction in the first place?>

'We're doing construction here, so get out!' is the unchanging attitude of Osaka City but really, for what and for who is this construction done?
When viewing the figures, the 923 million yen budgeted for this year's Osaka-jo Kouen Park 'Greening Fair', the 200 million yen management expenses for the Osaka-jo Kouen shelter (mostly this is personnel and building lease cost), the yearly budget for the 'Independence Aid Center' of 1 billion yen (the majority of cost being personnel), and
comparing these to the figure of the homeless person gathering aluminum cans, worth approximately one yen each, we cannot help but feel that something is amiss.
On January 11th, the section chief of Osaka City's Yutori to Midori park management and his attorney were arrested in connection with suspicion of holding talks with landscaping companies. While this corruption and nepotism continues, wealthy Osaka City is attempting to evict our homeless friends; again we appeal for your anger.
If they succeed in evicting these homeless comrades, the operation will be judged by the Yutori to Midori Promotional office as a success, and it seems that things will only escalate (actually, this seems already to be confirmed).

We would like to again ask 'What is this construction for?�
Absconding with the rights and means of our homeless comrades to live, forcing deaths by the roadside - which is most important for Osaka City:

'success' or 'money'?

This we would also like to ask.
If the same thing happened to you yourself, and your family, how would you feel? This too we want to ask.

<Please help our comrades at Utsubo Kouen park and Osaka-jo Kouen park>

Regardless of these harsh conditions, the comrades of Utsubo and Osaka-jo Kouen parks are not crushed, the reverse, they are strengthening their organization. With the opening of administrative process on the 5th, organization within the park on the 7th followed by an emergency meeting, and along with comrades from Umeda, Ogimachi, Nagai and Nishinari Kouen parks and from Kamagasaki, we have led successive protests to the west and eastern administrative office of the park. The team of lawyers is assisting strongly and from everywhere there are many people already raising voices of protest against the city.
We will not allow this crisis to end as it wants to, instead this is a good opportunity to strengthen the ties between us and open the future together, to fight together until the end.

We appeal for your assistance!

<Concentrate your protests on Osaka City>
This is very simple and should not take much time. Please send messages like 'STOP FORCED EVICTIONS!' to:

mayor of osaka city: junichi seki
TEL: 06-6208-7231
FAX: 06-6202-6950
〒530-8201 1-3-20, nakanoshima, kita-ward, osaka-city

your protest opinions to(japanese words only-they are racists!):

*Your protest opinion to(other languages!):

City of Osaka, Chicago Office

c/o JETRO Chicago
401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 660
Chicago, Illinois
60611 USA
Tel: 1-(312)832-6002
Fax: 1-(312)832-6066

City of Osaka, Dusseldorf Office

c/o JETRO Dusseldorf
Konigsallee 58
40212 Dusseldorf
Tel: 49-(211)1360241
Fax: 49-(211)326411

City of Osaka, Singapore Office

5 Shenton Way
#37-01 UIC Building
Singapore 068808
Republic of Singapore
Tel: (65)6220-8588
Fax: (65)6224-9980

Bureau de Representation
de la Ville d'Osaka a Paris

29, rue des Pyramides
75001 Paris
Tel: 33-(1)4015-9366
Fax: 33-(1)4015-9172

City of Osaka, Shanghai Office
Room 407, Shanghai International
Trade Center
2200 Yan An Road West
Shanghai, China
Tel: 86-(21)6275-1982
Fax: 86-(21)6275-1983

*office of 23th Zenkoku-tochi-ryokuka osaka fest
TEL06-6920-5941 FAX 06-6920-5971

*office of executive committee of World rose convention 2006

FAX:       +81-6-6631-8741
TEL 06-6631-8760

Seibu Houmen Kouen Jimusho (西部方面公園事務所)
TEL:06-6441-6748 FAX:06-6441-6797
〒550-0004 Nishi-ku Utubo Honmachi 2-1-4 (西区靱本町 2-1-4)

Toubu Houmen Kouen Jimusho (東部方面公園事務所)
TEL:06-6941-1144 FAX:06-6943-6877
〒540-0002 Chuu-ou-ku Osaka-jo 3-11 (中央区大阪城 3-11)

Yutori to Midori Shinkou Soumubu Kanrika (ゆとりとみどり振興局総務部管理課)

Yutori to Midori promotion department's opinion form:

Please copy any emailed messages to / or 06-6374-2233(FAX)

<Organize for January 17th Monitoring!>

At 1 o'clock on the 17th, there is a possibility that a 'warning paper' will be issued. In order to support our comrades at Utsubo and Osaka-jo we're calling for organization at the parks.

<Gather at the parks for the days of administrative action!>

Sometime after the 20th through the 23rd (excepting Saturday), there are fears that administrative action could take place. In order to protect the tents, we think we should do all we can. We call for organization on the parks on that day.

Unemployment and Homelessness action committee
06-6647-8278(TEL/FAX) (Kamagasaki Patrol no Kai)

Osaka-shi Nishi-ku Futago Taishi 2-1-2
Care of: Kamagasaki Iryou Renraku Kaigi


Sketch1, on behalf of the Osaka Unemployment and Homelessness action committee
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  1. Standard letter for you to send to authorities — Sketch1