Japan

Diversity Soccer Association

Originating as the street soccer program by The Big Issue Japan Foundation, the Diversity Soccer Association was founded in 2017, and became a registered charity in 2020.

With a vision to realise a truly socially inclusive society where nobody is ever left out, Diversity Soccer Association tackles a range of issues concerning social exclusion in Japan through football.

A number of activities are included in their programming, including conducting surveys and research on social inclusion through sport, networking with overseas organisations, supporting regular practices of Nobushi Japan (their flagship ‘homeless’ soccer program) and other partners, and organising the Diversity Cup Tournament.

Tomoyuki Hoshino has come on as Diversity Soccer Association’s first ambassador. A renowned novelist, Tomoyuki Hoshino has been a supporter for many years, and his recent work features an inclusive football community, modelled after Nobushi Japan and other programmes of Diversity Soccer Association.

Organisation Details

Participants

Any vulnerable and socially excluded person of any age, who is experiencing difficulties concerning homelessness, social withdrawal, psychiatric disorder, disabilities, addiction, LGBTQ, etc.

Locations

Nobushi Japan’s practices are held in Tokyo and Osaka, and there are partner organisations in Miyagi, Fukushima, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Okinawa.

Homelessness Statistics

1,412

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

3,992

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

4,000

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

Relative poverty is a serious concern in Japan. Official figures show the rate of relative poverty as 15.4% as of 2018 (Statista, 2020).

According to a survey conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, there are 3992 homeless people in Japan as of 2020 (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 2020), but non-profits state the actual number could be twice or three times as much (Japan Times, 2018).

This is because these official counts only include ‘homeless’ as a narrow definition of ‘those who sleep on the street and public spaces’. But when considering ‘homelessness’ in a broader sense to include those who stays in 24-hour internet cafés, fast food restaurants, or hostels every night, the number would become larger.

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).