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Okinawa workers suffering from global financial crisis

Date Posted: 2008-12-11

Okinawans who moved to mainland Japan to work are finding themselves in trouble as companies cut work force numbers to cope with the worsening recession in Japan and the overall decline in the world economy.

Government agencies and private support groups are mobilizing to aid displaced workers such as those who worked in the country’s largest automobile factory in Aichi Prefecture, and who’ve now been laid off. For many Okinawans, the relocation meant selling or giving up their homes in Okinawa, and now they’re homeless. A Homeless Protection Center has stepped in to help, but officials say there are limits to assistance available.

Disgruntled workers returning from Aichi complain of abusive treatment by their former employer. “We were fired and lost our rooms and the company dormitory,” said one, adding “coming home was bad because we lost our home, too.”

Prefecture officials say “this year has young homeless people increasing.” They attribute the rise to the higher levels of temporary and seasonal workers who’ve been let go because of the economy, leaving them with no place to live and no job prospects in sight.

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