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Manga Cafe Resident Arrested for Attempted Robbery

posted on 2007-10-18 03:30 EDT
Customer attempts to rob a Tokyo cafe he used regularly

On Tuesday, a young man was arrested by police in the Asakusa area of Tokyo for the attempted robbery of one of the manga cafes where he occasionally stayed. The suspect, Makoto Kawai, allegedly entered the cafe after midnight and, threatening the counter clerk with a razor cutter, demanded 1 million yen. The police were called, and the suspect was arrested at the scene.

According to reports, Kawai relocated to the Tokyo metropolitan area from southwestern Japan's Kagawa Prefecture in June after fighting with his parents. Once he arrived in Tokyo, he joined the growing demographic of young people living in manga and internet cafes. (The current term used by the media to describe the people living in manga and internet cafes is "Net Nanmin", which literally translates as "Internet Refugees.") Although he did manage to secure daily, one-shot jobs, living in the cafes began to affect him. In a statement, he said, "...I've begun to hate this lifestyle."

Although many manga and Internet cafes in Japan are open 24 hours a day and do not discourage people from staying overnight, many critics from the Japanese government and media are beginning to view the phenomenon of people "living" in the cafes as a social problem.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun


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