Although we could barely manage to dodge lockdown in Japan, Japanese society has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 particularly, in terms of a national economy as well as any country. This Corona-crisis has made wealth disparity explicit. For instance, we now know who can work from home and who can’t. Apart from medical service workers and civil servants, so-called essential workers engaged in nursing care and sanitation work kept serving even during the state of emergency engaged. They are the ones who are at risk of infections but at lower pay than office workers.
The Japanese government decided to pay benefits of JPY 100,000 to all the people living in Japan, however it became evident that those who don’t have permanent addresses cannot be benefited by this new system. Thus, this inequitable situation motivated us to focus on the essential worker families, the homeless, refugees and emigrants in financial difficulties under COVID-19. We have learned that these are the ones who are the most vulnerable people and first to be sacrificed by disasters.
CWS Japan collaborated with a partner FBO (Operation Blessing Japan) to distribute hygiene products such as hand sanitizer and face masks to about 80 supporting groups for homeless, emigrant laborers, children’s feeding programs, DV shelter, nurseries, nursing and healthcare facilities for disables and aged people across Japan. Most of these recipient organizations were identified by member churches and organizations of ACT Japan Forum.
Through this assistance, we developed a network of those FBOs supporting vulnerable groups. We will be using this network for our outreach activities for future disaster relief.