Net Cafe Refugees

Tadayuki Sakai, 42, sits in his private booth at internet cafe in Tokyo, Japan. He worked for a credit card company as a regular worker, known as salaryman, for 20 years. He moved to an internet cafe shortly after quitting his salaryman position. He currently works as telephone operator and temps at a friend’s computer systems company.

The number of temporary low-paid workers without benefits and job security has surged in the last decade, reaching the third of Japan’s workforce. An income gap between lifetime workers and their poorer ‘temp” colleagues has widened significantly as they earn up to 40% less than those on full time contracts. Some temp workers hop from one job to another, sleep at 24-hour computer cafes because they have no money to pay rent between jobs.


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