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Japan bans sleeping in terminals

May 22 2009
Local support groups fear rough sleepers will be banned from other facilities next A bus terminal in Sapporo, Japan, has started banning people from sleeping there, in the run-up to a G8 summit which will be held in the area in July. Mainichi Japan, the oldest newspaper in the country, reported a representative of the operating company explaining it was prohibiting people from sleeping in the terminal in order to "strengthen security ahead of the summit". Japan has large numbers of homeless people, and the official figure for Sapporo is of 109 homeless living in the city. Up to 30 of them used the terminal as a safe place to sleep at night, especially in the freezing winter, where the temperature can reach -12 degrees Celsius. The operating company, which raised episodes of theft and arson as reasons for closing the terminal, is said to be considering having guards patrol the terminal at night. However, at the moment it is only 'asking' people to leave when they are found sleeping. Local support groups have expressed concerns and are investigating the reasons for the move. It is feared the rough sleepers will be forbidden to sleep in other facilities following the closure of the bus terminal.