BBC News Online visited a park in Osaka where residents have formed a homeless people's association.
Homelessness was largely unknown in Japan until the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s and unemployment began to rise. Osaka, Japan's second city, was hit hard by the downturn in the construction industry.
The city has Japan's largest homeless population of 7,700 officially, or more than 10,000 unofficially. However it is still rare to see people sleeping on the street.