Jiko Sekinin, a question of responsibility

by Haruka Ichikawa

I disagree with the thinking of jiko sekinin. Of course, there is the thought that we should live by ourselves, but I think the government should protect the nation. And the situation in which there are many poor people (for example, net cafe refugees and homeless people) shows that the government cannot protect both Article 25 of the Constitution and the people. But people should exert the greatest possible effort if they want to be protected by the government. Moreover, if the government doesn’t help people, it is the responsibility of the state. Therefore we should try to live by ourselves and action positively to solve our problems. But if we cannot solve the question, we rely on the government. So I think that we must not depend on the state much.

Anne Allison says that workers’ wage fell by 4 percent, homelessness increased, far too few in the population received welfare, and all the while profit of corporations doubled, stock rose in value by close to three times, and the pay of government officials tripled. I think that the view that it is individual self-responsibility is circulated even if since academic ability is lower than other persons, it will set in the disadvantageous state, and the right to life will be taken by intense academic ability competition and entrance-into-a-school-of-higher-grade competition. However, even after the Great East Japan Earthquake, people who are driven away to a misfortune by a sudden catastrophic disaster, and cannot stand up only by individual power have occurred in large quantities. There is no other way but to help each other. Regular employment is reduced and, probably, it should also be called such a “social disaster” that the post of the stable occupation cannot be taken. Such a “social disaster” cannot be made into the cause of individual capability or efforts, and those who exist difficult cannot be neglected. The Constitution was produced as a joint contract that will guarantee the level of the life. Therefore supporting people who attacked by poverty and unemployment and recovering hope is the responsibility that the state was mandated by people.

Today, the problem of poverty is not lost in the world and at home. What on earth can we do? Our power may be small and it may be rare to be able to do. The present condition will still change nothing, if we not only wait for the government to do passively, but do not act it positively.

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The problems of the homeless and refugees

by Hitoshi Haruki

In this class, I have learned about refugeeism, such as net café refugees and homelessness. Especially I have been interested in homelessness. Homeless people have little money because they often do not work as full-time employees, but instead have part-time jobs.

These days many people tend to think homeless people do not deserve human rights. For example, homeless people do not have a home, so they use fast-food restaurants as a place to sleep. They buy a cup of coffee, which is 100 yen, and they stay in a fast-food restaurant all night. For fast-food restaurants, these customers are troublesome because the homeless are shabbily clothed, and customers dislike homeless people. Furthermore, homeless people may be malodorous, so restaurants want to kick homeless people out. I think this action is legal, but the method used to remove homeless people from the restaurants and the correspondence of homeless people should be very careful. In McDonald’s, they made a notice about refusing entrance of homeless people. Some people criticize this as a violation of human rights. I agree with that criticism, because homeless people have the right to enter McDonald’s. That being said, I still think homeless people should not use fast-food restaurants to stay overnight.

According to Anne Allison, in this situation homeless people have no hope and I agree with that idea, so the government should help homeless people so they can have hope for the future. I suggest that the government should help many homeless people to work as regular employees. For instance, the government can increase the number of employment offices and government offices should hire homeless people. Another good idea is to give companies subsidies if they hire homeless people.

In some developing countries, wars are currently happening, and people who live there are in danger. Under the threat of losing their lives they may decide to escape from their country. So, there are many refugees in developing countries. For some people it is inevitable to be refugees. When refugees leave their countries, they have to find new connections such as workplaces. However, many refugees cannot work for a good company. They work in dangerous places and have to do hard work. Moreover, they get less information about workplaces than normal citizens. Therefore, they are less likely to get a good job.

To summarize, these days the number of refugees in Japan such as homeless people and net café refugees as well as the refugees in developing countries rise. In response the government should work quickly to create a policy to deal with homelessness. Also, refugees are less likely to get a good job because they do not know a lot of information about workplaces. Thus, people must think of methods to solve this problem.

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Struggles of living in Japan on minimum wage

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...

English: Homeless man, Tokyo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Teppei Funatani

In my opinion, if people live poor lives, there are three steps that they have to overcome.

First, uneasiness for my future. Living in Japan costs a lot of money. Food, rent, medical expenses, and so on. Also we should pay about 15,000 yen every month for a pension when we reach 20 years old. How do I manage my everyday life if I can only earn minimum wage?

In the article “Homeless face uphill fight to get life back,” a man who was in his mid-40s worked for a data management company as a temporary worker and earned only 160,000 yen a month. He lived alone and had no hope for his future. As this article tells you, if you live hand-to-mouth, there is no room in your mind to think about your future. You can barely support yourself and this vicious circle probably never ends unless a miracle happens.

Next, apathy of my life. Let’s imagine that even though you work as hard as you can, you can only get the lowest salary yen a day and you cannot get a bonus. It is likely that you will lose interest your job and don’t want to work anymore. It is natural that you complain about your lower salary, although you work as long as white-collared workers do. However, you soon realize that your dissatisfaction does not bring you anything and you have no choice but to give up.

Finally, a sense of despair for everything. As above, you feel anxiety for your future at first, and next you give up having hope. And you come to the final stage of your poor life. As Anne Allison said in her book Precarious Japan, because of depression and insecurity over jobs, the number of people who commit suicide has remained around 30,000 ever since 1998 (2013). The number of unemployment was 2,460,000 people in March, 2014 (Statistics Bureau, May 5, 2014). Even in large companies, a lot of employees are fired. It is easy to imagine that you lose your job and be homeless. This idea gradually is damaging your heart and you think that your hopes for the future come to nothing. Then you decide to commit suicide.


Anne Allison. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Homeless face uphill fight to get back life. (May 20, 2014). Retrieved from http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001271711

Labour Force Survey, Monthly Result-March 2014-. (May 2, 2014). Retrieved from http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/roudou/results/month/index.htm

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