"Even with numbers approaching 25,000 in Japan, homelessness is an issue that is often ignored. Of these 25,000 people, 80 percent are men, the majority of whom are living on the streets because they are unemployed. When the need for day-labourers in the construction industry decreased with the collapse of the Bubble economy, many workers were left with no place to go.
To the majority of homeless, prospects look grim. With no home address, they can't find employment. This is where The Big Issue helps. Many are now able to make a liveable wage."
"Since its 2003 launch in Japan, around 640 people have been selling copies, chiefly in Tokyo and other urban areas, and 54 of them have subsequently found jobs.
The Big Issue Japan Foundation will provide help for homeless people to learn basic job-hunting skills."
The Japan Times, 09/11/2007
"Thanks to the movement, there are success stories where homeless people have managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and off the streets. Toshiyasu Nagakura, 57, was not always homeless. However, when he came down with a stomach ulcer, he lost his job, and could not pay his rent. He started living on the streets in July last year. Nagakura knew about the Big Issue from television and signed up as a vendor. Nagakura is grateful: ÔIf it weren't for the Big Issue, I don't know what would have become of me.' Shuichi Shiratsuchi, 56, is one of the successful ones. Shiratsuchi was homeless until three years ago. But now he lives in his own apartment in Nakano, Tokyo. Shiratsuchi worked for years at pachinko parlours. But he was let go when he was 46 years old. He looked for a similar job but his age became a problem. Soon, he was unable to pay his rent and ended up living on the streets in the shopping area in Nakano. Shiratsuchi became a Big Issue vendor and diligently sold magazines from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, in December 2006, Shiratsuchi "graduated" from the Big Issue. He now works six days a week as a janitor at a college.
Asahi Shinbun 11/17/2007
"The Big Issue helped former vendor, Mr. Toyomura, to get back on his feet, and he now has a home, a job, and has rekindled his relationship with his son. The Big Issue is not only a source of income for the homeless, it's a chance for them to reconnect with the people around them. Vendors cannot return unsold magazines, so they have to manage their own budgets. This is a key part of the Big Issue project. Rather than rely on charity, vendors work to help themselves."
Tokyo Weekender 12/10/2007