Tent City Of Broken Dreams

In the shadow of Tokyo's soaring skyline, a new city is rising: a tent city of broken dreams, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen.

In a nation that had not seen want or hunger since the days of World War II, homeless people are now a common sight. Charities estimate that the homeless across Japan now number in the tens of thousands.

Satoshi Ban was a construction worker, but there's not much being built these days.

"It's embarrassing," he says with an awkward laugh. "I beg for money."

He'd put in a full day's work, he tells us, for as little as four dollars.

A few dollars would buy what these people want back: their pride. Because this is the land of jobs for life, the safety net here is thin.

Unemployment payments last about a year, then, as far as the government is concerned, you're on your own.

Every society has its outcasts, its losers. But many of these are its victims. Among them are businessmen who once carried briefcases, and now carry all they own in plastic bags.

At a city park, at an improvised church service, the homeless get what help is available.

The soup kitchens are makeshift, with so many more homeless these days, there isn't always enough to go around. The lucky know not to waste a single grain of rice.

"There will be more here this winter," says the Rev. Paul Hwang. "I'm sure many will die here."

Help comes in many ways. Even a haircut can restore a sense of dignity.

For these people, this is how the Japanese miracle has ended. Because there are no nationwide figures, no one knows how many homeless there are. And with the recession deepening, no one can guess how many more there will be tomorrow.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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