An increasing number of low income Japanese men and women are permanently living in tiny dark cubicles at internet cafes where they play video games in their spare time while saving on rent.
Known as ‘internet cafe refugees’, they spend every night washing, sleeping and eating at the gaming centres in between what is usually low-paid and menial employment, the People’s Daily Online reported.
The worrying trend has been featured in a short documentary by Japanese photojournalist Shiho Fukada. Called Net Cafe Refugees, it reveals the lifestyle of people who moved from spending most of their time to all of their time inside internet cafes. …
Social worker Makoto Kawazoe said internet cafe ‘refugees’ such as Fumiya started appearing in the late 1990s but became a larger social issue in the 2000’s.
‘Currently in Japan about 38 per cent of people are temporary workers, most temporary workers have very short-term contracts and usually less than half of full-time employees. This disparity leads directly to poverty.
‘It’s also hard to get unemployment benefits in Japan. In our society once you lose your job, you cannot easily survive.’