Volunteers engaged in FY19: 3,738
- Capital: Tokyo
- Population: 126.5 million
- Urbanization: 92 percent lives in cities
- Life expectancy: 84.2 years
- Unemployment rate: 2.4 percent
- GDP per capita: US$43,279
Source: World Bank
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. Habitat Japan has continually mobilized volunteers under the Global Village program. In the financial year ended June 30, 2018, a record number of 1,430 GV volunteers from Japan were sent on various Habitat builds including the first team to Africa. With the launch of the Project HomeWorks program in Japan in April 2017, Habitat’s volunteers help to improve the living conditions of older people and people with disabilities.
The housing need in Japan
In Japan’s rapidly aging society, more people over the age of 65 are now living on their own. Many of them live in rental homes and tend to be isolated. Some need help with organizing their living space, cleaning and other daily chores due to their frailty. People with disabilities who live alone may face similar challenges.These vulnerable groups may have to leave their low-cost rental apartments if the living conditions worsen or become unsanitary. But affordable housing is often out of their reach due to limited availability and landlords’ reluctance to accept their applications. They may feel less isolated through regular visits and assistance with sprucing up their living environment. With the launch of the Project HomeWorks program in Japan in April 2017, Habitat’s volunteers help to improve the living conditions of older people and people with disabilities. Habitat Japan continues to mobilize volunteers under the Global Village program. In the financial year ended June 30, 2019, a record number of 1,474 GV volunteers from Japan were sent on various Habitat builds.
How Habitat addresses the need in Japan
International volunteer builds
Teams of volunteers from Japan are regularly sent on Habitat’s Global Village trips to build homes in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world. Strong youth engagement contributed to a record 86 teams comprising 1,474 volunteers who were mobilized in fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.
Habitat Japan reaches out to a total of 2,700 young people through 44 campus chapters. Students advocate and raise funds as well as volunteer with Habitat locally and overseas. Campus chapter members are also strong supporters of the Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign that rallies young people to volunteer, fundraise and speak out for the need for decent homes.
When a major disaster strikes, Habitat Japan appeals for funding to support post-disaster reconstruction efforts. In the event of a domestic disaster, not only are funds raised but campus chapter members are mobilized to clear debris and disseminate information on the revitalization of homes, among other needs. Habitat Japan took on its first major disaster response after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan in March 2011. Habitat also responded to the Kumamoto earthquake in April 2016.
Launched in April 2017, Project HomeWorks mobilizes local volunteers to improve the living conditions of vulnerable groups, particularly older people and people with disabilities. Volunteers help to clean their homes and make simple repairs. Habitat Japan also offers counsel and support to vulnerable households who are looking for affordable homes. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019, more than 400 volunteers have helped to spruce up the homes and find new apartments for 65 families.