The Big Issue Japan

The Big Issue Japan Foundation is a part of the international “The Big Issue Network,” an international network of street papers. They run various outreach programmes for homeless people across the country through which participants can enjoy and have fun with other people facing similar situations. These activities include football, contemporary dance, music, walking, writing, and others. Their Homeless World Cup team, called Nobushi, has been very active in the humanitarian activities after the big 2011 earthquake in Japan.

Organisation Details


Men experiencing homelessness and street paper vendors


Tokyo and Osaka

Homelessness Statistics


Number of people sleeping on the streets of Tokyo over 2016-2017 period (ARCH, 2017)


Official government homelessness count, non-profits believe the number to be two to three times as high (Japan Times, 2018; ARCH, 2017).


Number of “internet cafe refugees” moving from cafe to cafe each night (Japan Times, 2018)

Official Japanese government data shows the number of homeless people to be at 4,977, but non-profits state the actual number could be twice or three times as much (Japan Times, 2018). From 2016-2017 there were 1,412 people sleeping on the streets of Tokyo alone (ARCH, 2017).

The Tokyo government released a survey in 2018 stating the number of “internet café refugees” to be at 4,000 (Japan Times, 2018).

146,000 people were displaced due to natural disasters in 2018 (Internal Displacement, 2018).