Internet Cafe Refugees

Shiho Fukada

Director, Photography and Video, Producer: Shiho Fukada
Editor and Producer: Eric Maierson
Associate Producer: Arkasha Stevenson
Graphics: Joe Fuller
Executive Producer: Brian Storm

The number of temp workers in Japan has been steadily climbing – from 16% in 1985 to 34% in 2007. As more and more companies continue to replace costly full-time employees with cheaper temp workers, an income gap between lifetime workers and their poorer temp colleagues has widened significantly. They now earn up to 40% less than those on full contracts. This has swollen the ranks of an insecure economic underclass, reducing part-time workers to second-class citizens. Called ‘Internet café refugees’ by the Japanese media, they hop from one job to another, often sleeping at 24-hour internet cafés because they have no money to pay their rent between jobs.

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