Ms. Lesley-Anne Knight, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, visited SAN-YA area in Tokyo on Saturday, 27 March, in the afternoon. She was accompanied by Fr. Narui, SVD, the executive director of Caritas Japan, Mr. Tadokoro, the secretary general of CJ and myself. Geographically, the address of "SAN-YA" is not officially existing on a map but is well known area in Tokyo as a town for day laborers. There used to be a number of low-cost inns in the area. Because of prolonged recession, many of these workers lost their daily wages and forced to be homeless. Adding to the poor economic climate in Japan, many of them are now aging and in real need of assistance to survive. Therefore, instead of these low-cost inns, today's SAN-YA has quite a number of newly built old folks homes all over the area. They can not continue to live on a street to receive government subsidy since it requires one to have a real address. Many of these newly established houses by local private inn owners provide aged workers an address to receive the government subsidy and deduct a monthly rent which includes meal service from the money to sustain the business.
We visited the NPO called "SAN-YU-KAI" which means friendship society of San-ya, established in 1984. The NPO runs clinic which provides free medical care and a shelter house. They also conducts counseling service and free lunch. (Photo above: In front of the clinic)
Ms. Knight concluded her 10-day visit of Japan, organised by the foreign ministry of Japan, with visiting the Cathedral of Tokyo archdiocese and left for Rome on Sunday.
This is the Holy Week. There will be the Chrism Mass on Tuesday at 10 am in Niigata Cathedral and on Wednesday at 10:30 am in Sapporo Cathedral. Then Mass on Holy Thursday, the liturgy on Good Friday and the Vigil Mass on Easter (Saturday night) in Niigata Cathedral are all at 7 pm. Then the Easter morning Mass at 9:30 am in Niigata Cathedral. Join us for the celebration.