The number of people with no fixed address who spend the night at 24-hour Internet cafes totals about 5,400 across Japan, of whom 27 per cent are in their 20s, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
In its first survey on the so-called "Net cafe refugees," the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare also showed people in their 50s comprises 23 per cent of them and that half of such people are working day-hire jobs.
In the survey conducted in June and July, the ministry gave questionnaires to about 1,700 sleep-over customers at 87 Net cafes across Japan, while separately interviewing 362 people outside Net cafes in Tokyo and Osaka.
The ministry found that eight per cent of the respondents sleep in Net cafes because they have no home. Based on this figure, the ministry estimated that about 5,400 people in Japan substitute Net cafes for homes.
In Tokyo, 58 per cent are short-term labourers and 17 per cent are unemployed. Monthly income averages 1,10,000 yen among those in Tokyo and 80,000 yen in Osaka, with more than 40 per cent of them having experience of sleeping on the street, the survey said.
In Tokyo, 33 per cent lost their home after quitting work and 20 per cent said they left dorms and live-in housing after giving up their employment.
The survey also indicated 66 per cent of the respondents experience difficulty in saving money to rent an apartment while 38 per cent showed concern over whether they could continue paying rent.