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Central Japan group providing food, assistance to local, foreign residents amid crisis

Foreign residents collect food at booths set up outdoors in a Nagoya neighborhood, on April 5, 2020. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

NAGOYA -- A nonprofit organization that aids those in need distributed free food and flowers to local and foreign residents on April 5 in this central Japan city while listening to their individual worries. The recipients included people who have been left unemployed due to the growing coronavirus crisis.

The group, Manabiya@KYUBAN, set up an outdoor booth with food products including eggs, miso, and bread, some of which were donated from a food bank, and carnation flowers. The organization also held a questionnaire asking nearby residents who visited the booth about their concerns regarding the coronavirus as well as how it is affecting their work situation.

Twenty-seven foreign residents from five countries including Brazil and the Philippines, and 22 Japanese people visited the booth in Minato Ward and expressed their concerns.

A 46-year-old man from Brazil who works at a parts supply factory commented, "I haven't had any overtime since March. I'll only be working during the early hours before noon twice a week starting April 6. My wife has been dismissed from her job and our total earnings have been reduced by half."

Shiki Matsushita, 55, a Chinese resident of Japanese descent, said, "I used to work as a bus driver specifically for inbound tourism, but was fired late February. I've been searching for a job at the public employment security office. It's a great help to be able to receive food as I have no earnings."

Yuko Kawaguchi, a representative of the group, stated, "We have confirmed the current situation in which these people's livelihoods are being affected. We would like to connect our findings to governmental support and other assistance to those in need when deemed necessary."

(Japanese original by Atsuko Ohta, Nagoya News Center)

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