- Population: 126.9 million (July 2015 est.)
- Urbanization: 93.5 percent lives in cities (2015)
- Life expectancy: 85 years (2015 est.)
- Unemployment rate: 3.3 percent (2015 est.)
- Population living below poverty line: 16.1 percent (2013 est.)
- Access to improved water sources: 100 percent (2015 est.)
- Access to improved sanitation facilities: 100 percent (2015 est.)
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Japan
Habitat for Humanity International opened an office in Japan in 2001 to handle the increasing number of Global Village volunteers from Japan and to provide guidance to several campus chapters that had been formed. In November 2003, Habitat for Humanity Japan was officially registered as a non-profit organization. HFH Japan’s main activities are in mobilizing volunteers for overseas builds and local disaster response efforts as well as raising awareness of Habitat’s work. When disasters strike, HFH Japan also appeals for funds to support rebuilding efforts in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere.
The housing need in Japan
In Japan, government aid has helped reduce the number of homeless people from 16,018 in 2008 to 6,541 in 2015. Japan, however, has a rapidly aging population. By 2025, one in five people will be above 75 years old. It is estimated that about 40 percent of them will live on their own. Among the younger generation and female-headed households, unemployment and poverty are becoming more visible although these issues are less pervasive compared to other higher income countries. About 14 percent of female-headed households say that they encounter many challenges to adequately improve their living conditions.
How Habitat addresses the need in Japan
In response to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, HFH Japan sent volunteers to worst-hit Iwate and Miyagi prefectures to help families rebuild their lives. Habitat’s campus chapter volunteers continue to engage with families in the affected areas. Annually, other Habitat campus chapters will come together to commemorate the March 2011 earthquake through cleaning up neighborhoods and other activities.
Fundraising for rebuilding
In 2006, Habitat for Humanity Japan became a member of Japan Platform, a non-profit organization that pools government funds and private donations to support disaster response efforts of Japanese non-governmental organizations. Funding from Japan Platform and other sources were channeled through HFH Japan for disaster response efforts in Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Nepal, and domestically in the earthquake-affected Tohoku region.
Supporting disaster response efforts
HFH Japan launched its first disaster response project after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region, northeastern Japan, in March 2011. Habitat mobilized volunteers to clear debris, and repair damaged houses and community centers. Following the April 2016 earthquakes in Kumamoto, HFH Japan is mobilizing youth volunteers to disseminate information on the revitalization of homes while supporting operations at the Nishihara Disaster Volunteer Center.
Global Village program
More than 970 volunteers mobilized by HFH Japan built homes with Habitat families in the Asia-Pacific region for the financial year ended June 30, 2015. The most popular destinations included the Philippines, Indonesia and India. HFH Japan also works with the local governments as well as local non-governmental organization partners to address the housing needs of vulnerable groups by mobilizing volunteers.
HFH Japan engages with young people through 33 campus chapters with a total of 1,500 members. Students advocate and raise funds, as well as take part in Habitat builds overseas. Campus chapter members are also strong supporters of the Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign that galvanize young people to volunteer, fundraise and speak out for the need for decent homes as a way out of poverty and toward self-reliance.