7,159 people found sleeping on streets last year
An investigation by Okinawa Prefectural Police, there were 7,159 reported instances in 2016 of people sleeping on the street, which is the most since such statistics started in 2008.
This year, the number stood at 2,828 as of the end of June this year, 95 more than the same time of the previous year.
According to Police, there has been many reports of such incident from July through October. One inside source says it’s because during the top tourist season people drink much, and then fall asleep on streets. On some days, the number of police reports of people sleeping on the street account for 30% of the total number of reports per day, and taking care of those people takes much of the police officers’ time.
There have also been many instances of theft and traffic accidents involving people sleeping on the streets, Last year, 89 such thefts were reported, and this year, there have been 26 similar thefts as of the end of June. There were 17 traffic accidents involving people sleeping on the street last year, one of them fatal.
In January, a similar accident happened in Yonabaru Town – a man who slept on the street was hit by a taxi and died. The taxi driver was arrested on the spot, on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in a fatal injury.
An Okinawa police official says, “It’s difficult for a driver to expect and notice someone sleeping on the street. We remind everyone of the danger of sleeping on the street, and especially not to drink too much to fall asleep on the street.”