Japan-United States Homeless Service Providers Exchange

July 1, 2002
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The Japan-United States Homeless Service Providers Exchange is an innovative two-year exchange project jointly organized by Japan Society and the Japan NPO Center in Tokyo.  The exchange brings together homeless service providers in Japan and the United States to share their ideas on and solutions to meeting the needs of the homeless in their respective countries in practical and effective ways.  The project also will facilitate a technical and informational exchange for the benefit of specific projects in each country.  Articles on the project and a final publication in Japanese also are part of the project.

For ten intensive days in July 2001, thirteen homeless service providers and local government officials from Japan visited New York and Boston.  They met with diverse and committed individuals from nonprofit organizations, businesses and government agencies to learn about programs and services in the U.S., and to learn more about ways in which the three sectors work together to achieve common goals. The Japanese left with a rich understanding of some of the more successful programs in New York and Boston, as well as an introduction to some of the failures in both cities.

In July 2002, Rosanne Haggerty, Executive Director, Common Ground Community visited Japan for just over two weeks to help facilitate the technical and information exchange.  She met with homeless service providers in Tokyo and Osaka and will be speaking publicly in Japan.  The goals of her trip were to help advance work undertaken by Common Ground in New York and a number of homeless projects in Japan, such as the work of Furusato No Kai, Sanya MAC, and  Sanyukai.

Exchange Participants – July 2001
Sen Arimura is on the staff of Nishinari Labor Welfare Center, which provides services to day laborers, and is the Secretary General of Kamagaseki Reform Forum.  He is also a professional cartoonist, depicting day laborers and homeless people in magazines, newspapers and manga. He is a leader among homeless service providers, but his real interest is in the revitalization of communities so that the old, young, children and the poor can live in harmony.  He is a graduate of Ritsumeikan University.

Takeshi Aritome is Director of Homeless Services in the Life Welfare Department of the Welfare Bureau in the Tokyo metropolitan government. He is the central person responsible for setting policy and determining services for the homeless in Tokyo and spearheaded the first White Paper on the Homeless, which was published in the spring of 2001. He is the former director of the Johoku Welfare Center in the Sanya district of Tokyo, and coordinated local government efforts with private organizations.

Yuichi Ichino is an instructor at Sanya Maryknoll Alcohol Center (MAC), which was founded in 1979. Its program, which normally takes from 16 to 20 months, combines various physical and psychiatric therapies, training and individual counseling to help residents become independent and financially responsible.  After graduating from the University of Kyoto in clinical psychology, he worked at Ueno Clinic, a psychiatric clinic. In 1993, he resigned to get treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse at Sanya MAC.

Mikio Ikeda is the Chief of the Care Group, Public Assistance Section of the Life Welfare Department in the Welfare Bureau of the Tokyo metropolitan government where he coordinates the management, planning and administration of Tokyo’s regional welfare offices.  He has extensive and practical experience as a caseworker in the Koto district of Tokyo.  He joined the Tokyo metropolitan government upon graduation from Hitotsubashi University.

Takeyoshi Jinno is a correspondent with Asahi Shimbun in Osaka, specializing in freedom of information, nonprofit organizations, and urban and housing policy. Currently, he has been reporting on the Sanya and Kamagaseki communities in Tokyo and Osaka, concentrating on day laborers, the homeless, the development of civil society and social welfare issues, including homelessness. He is the author of Freedom of Information.

Yuki Matoba has worked on the staff of Furusato no Kai since 1998, consulting with the organization’s clients and is now in charge of the visiting nurse service, a new program.  She is a graduate of Keio Junior College of Nursing and is currently a junior at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, majoring in public health.

Megumu Mizuta is the executive director of Furusato no Kai, an organization dedicated to providing assistance to the homeless in the Sanya area of Tokyo.  Over the years he has worked in a number of organizations providing services to the homeless and day laborers, and most recently opened Furusato Hinode-kan, one of the first temporary housing facility for women. He is the author of a number of publications on the homeless in Japan and NPOs.  He attended Shimane University.

Yasuhiro Nomura is the Chief of Liaison and Coordination in the Public Assistance Section of the Life Welfare Department in the Welfare Bureau of the Tokyo metropolitan government, and is in charge of policy on the homeless in Tokyo.  He is one of the main writers of the Tokyo Homeless White Paper published in March 2001 by the Tokyo metropolitan government, and plans to make use of the U.S.-Japan Homeless Providers Exchange in the development of homeless policy of Tokyo.

Junichi Ohsako has been a staff member of Sanyukai, which was established by Catholic missionaries and Japanese medical doctors.  The organization provides free medical service for the poor, as well as meals and housing assistance. Their clients are the homeless, day laborers, single people and the elderly.  Sanyukai’s activities depend upon contributions and volunteers.  In its l7th year, Sanyukai has six full time staff and 100 volunteers and 3,800 individuals and groups who contribute money and goods.

Mako Oiwa is an architect specializing in residential architecture. She currently works for K Planning Office and Gondola Architectural Office, designing private residences and public toilets, and is currently preparing to open her own architectural office.  She is a graduate of the Faculty of Housing, Japan Women’s University.

Hajime Osaki is a partner in Takumiya Architects and focuses on private housing and community facilities.  He also conducts research on city planning for the Tokyo metropolitan government.  Since l998, he has been a member of Furusato no Kai’s secretariat, conducting research and designing homeless shelters in the Sanya district of Tokyo.  He is an author and translator of many publications.  He is a graduate of Nagoya Institute of Technology, specializing in city planning.

Kazuhide Yamada, a certified public accountant and management specialist, is the developer and owner of Mansion Appreciate, a chain of welfare homes for the increasing number of aged laborers who are dependent on welfare programs.  He founded Hotel Sunnyside, a hotel chain and started a personnel agency for construction workers, and converted Hotel Sunnyside into Mansion Appreciate.  He is a graduate of Kyoto Industrial University and the Small and Middle Business Agency.

Yoshinori Yamaoka is a founder and managing director of the Japan NPO Center and is professor in the Faculty of Social Policy and Administration at Hosei University. Japan NPO Center is a leader in the development of non-profit organizations and civil society in Japan.  He has worked as an urban planner and for Toyota Foundation, and is the author of a number of publications on Japanese foundations, public non-profit activities, and the role of philanthropy in society.  He is a graduate of Tokyo University School of Architecture, specializing in urban planning.

  • July 1, 2002 – July 1, 2002