FORWARDED APPEAL (Japan): Eviction threat at Utubo Park and Osaka Castle Park in Osaka 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding an appeal to you regarding the forced eviction of homeless people in Utsubo park and Osaka castle park, in Osaka, Japan. It is believed that the city authorities will mobilise hundreds of city officers, guards and security police to destroy the tent village where the homeless people currently reside. Though protests have been made against this decision, final papers have been issued and it is believed that the eviction may take place within the week.

With 10,000 homeless people living in Osaka, this news causes grave concern, not only for this proposed eviction but for future ones that will no doubt take place. Though the Osaka city authorities have offered ‘shelter’ for the evictees, this is not a viable alternative for their future well-being.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

Homeless people in Utsubo park, Osaka castle park are now in the face of eviction threat. Call for the international protest against Osaka city government.

Jan 5, 2006, Osaka city launched legal procedure for eviction called “administrative subrogation” against around 30 homeless people in Utsubo park (all of the residents) and Osaka castle park (part of the residents).

At the earliest, administrative subrogation will be executed in Jan 20-23. The city authority will mobilize probably hundreds of city officers, guards, and security police to destroy tent village of homeless comrades.

One year ago, Jan 24, 2005, Nagoya city evicted homeless people in Shirakawa park using same method, mobilizing more than 600 officers.

(see pictures of Shirakawa Park Eviction in Jan 24, 2005)

In recent few months, Osaka city have stopped negotiation with homeless comrades in these parks, where the city have been planning reconstruction for events like “World Rose Convention 2006” and “National City Greenery Fair in Osaka”.

Oct 4, 2005, the city issued written order to homeless people demanding to leave Utsubo and Osaka castle park until Nov 30, 2005. Despite several protests carried out by homeless comrades and supporters, the city has not changed the attitude.

In Osaka, there are more than 10,000 homeless people live in the streets, parks, riversides. The largest reason of their homelessness is unemployment, but the government have taken no fundamental solution for the unemployment issue, and rather tried to cut down social welfare expenses. Every year, at least more than 200 homeless people die in the streets in the city.

Faced with the eviction, homeless people in two parks sued Osaka city in Jan 11, calling for suspension of the eviction procedure. But so far, the Osaka district court has denied ordering for suspension.

This time, Osaka city have offered a “shelter” or “self independent centers” for evictee as alternative housing for eviction, but we stress that these accommodations cannot be the alternative. Both facilities lack adequate space for individuals (only small cot, and no privacy guaranteed), and they can’t bring all of their belongings (only several luggage are allowed). And in several months they have to find job by themselves. If they can’t make it, they will be homeless again, this time “on their fault”. So naturally, no homeless comrades in the parks want to go these shelters voluntarily.

Lacking any viable alternative and due process, the eviction process is nothing but a violation of constitutional right of Japan (article 25, the right to live) and International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (article 11, the right to adequate housing).

To stop eviction against 30 comrades of Utsubo park, Osaka castle park, we call for international protest action against Osaka city authority. And we want to stress that this is not only for 30 comrades, but for all of the homeless people in Japan. They are representing more than 10,000 homeless comrades in Osaka city, and 30,000 homeless comrades in Japan, who now often threatened by eviction, and live under growing tension of social exclusion.

Please send copies of your letter to the Mayor of Osaka City to:

Kamagasaki Patrol (member of No-Vox Japan)
TEL: +81-90-9700-0296
FAX: +81-6-6374-2233

Peter Shimokawa
Tel: 81-3-3465-0831
Fax: 81-3-3465-8630
”Shibuya Free Association for the Right to Housing and Well-being of
“Asian Coalition for Housing Rights(ACHR)”



24 January 2006

Mr.Junichi Seki
Mayor of Osaka City
1-3-20, Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-si, Japan
Fax: +81-6-6202-6950

Subject:  Forced evictions of homeless people

Dear Mayor,

Please allow me to convey my deep concern regarding the information  on the city governments plan to evict some 30 homeless people presiding residing in Utsubo park and Osaka castle park.

Such an act violates the international treaties the government of Japan has signed such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1966, Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 1979. etc.   It violates as well the 10 March 1993 Resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights condemning forced evictions as prima facie gross violations of human rights, in particular the right to adequate housing.

Moreover, conducting forced evictions because of some events like “World Rose Convention 2006” and “National City Greenery Fair in Osaka” goes against the report by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan in 1993 on forced evictions which are often justified because of the holding of an international event such as world fairs, international conferences, global celebrations and others.

As you are well aware, shelter is intricately connected inter alia to the right to work.  Thus it is not enough that that the government provides a temporary shelter which  is judged inadequate by homeless people and Japanese civil society organizations and can sometimes  be used later  to condemn the homeless as  recalcitrant.  It should address the question of unemployment, the main reason why there are homeless people in a highly industrialized and prosperous country like Japan.

We therefore ask your government to:

1. Stop the eviction and demolition of the tents of 30 homeless people in Utsubo park and Osaka castle park.

2.  Consult the affected persons and civil society organizations on the short and long term solutions to the issues of homelessness and unemployment in Osaka City.

We sincerely hope your government will act favorably for the  city?s homeless.

Sincerely yours,



Western Park Office
Fax: +81-6-6441-6797
2-1-4, Utsubohonmachi, Nishi-ku, Osaka-si, Japan

Eastern Park Office
Fax: +81-6-6943-6877
3-11, Osakajyo, Chuou-ku, Osaka-si, Japan

City of Osaka Chicago Office
c/o JETRO Chicago
401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 660
Chicago, Illinois
60611 USA
Tel: 1-(312)832-6002
Fax: 1-(312)832-6066

City of Osaka Dusseldorf Office
c/o JETRO Dusseldorf
Konigsallee 58
40212 Dusseldorf
Tel: 49-(211)1360241
Fax: 49-(211)326411

City of Osaka Singapore Office
5 Shenton Way
#37-01 UIC Building
Singapore 068808
Republic of Singapore
Tel: (65)6220-8588
Fax: (65)6224-9980

Bureau de Representation
de la Ville d’Osaka a Paris
29, rue des Pyramides
75001 Paris
Tel: 33-(1)4015-9366
Fax: 33-(1)4015-9172

City of Osaka Shanghai Office
Room 407, Shanghai International
Trade Center
2200 Yan An Road West
Shanghai, China
Tel: 86-(21)6275-1982
Fax: 86-(21)6275-1983


Mr. Miloon Kothari
UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing
Att: Ms. Cecilia Moller
Room 4-066/010
UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211, Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9265
Fax: +41 22 917 9010

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

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Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-002-2005
Countries :
Issues : Land rights,