Shiho Fukada's “Japan's Disposable Workers,” produced in collaboration with MediaStorm  and the Pulitzer Centre , documents the life of Internet cafe residents who earn too little to rent their own apartments.
Internet cafes have existed in Japan for over a decade, but in the mid 2000s customers began using these spaces as living quarters. According to the film, at least 38% of Japan's workforce are temporary workers, earning 50% of their salaried counterparts.
The cost of living in Japan's large cities can be expensive, and the cramped semi-private booths of Internet cafes provide a safety net of sorts, one step above living on the street.
The “Japan’s Disposable Workers ” series of documentary film shorts explores the labor issues affecting Japan in three sections, illustrating a larger, ongoing global labor crisis at work.
Previous films in the series based on Fukada's work include “Overworked to Suicide” and “Dumping Ground.”
“Overworked to Suicide ” documents working conditions in Japan after the recession of the 1990s, when Japan's white-collar salaried workers would increasingly work arduous hours for fear of losing their jobs, resulting in increased rates of depression and suicide.
“Dumping Ground ” tells the story of Kamagasaki, Osaka, which used to be a thriving day laborer's town. Today, it is home to approximately 25,000 unemployed and elderly men, many of whom are also homeless.