In the United States, it was not uncommon to see homeless people in cities and sometimes less populated areas. I hadn't really been aware of homeless in Japan. (Probably because I lived in Hokkaido for four years). I was very surprised when I was out walking along a waterway the other day, taking pictures of the tiled artistry along the way, when I saw someone sleeping under a bridge. It is fairly warm in winter and pretty nice year-round, so I guess this is a good place to be if you have to live outdoors.
I looked online for information about homeless people in Japan. I think Japan doesn't want to admit there is a problem because it isn't "pretty", but after the economy going down in the 1990's, many people became unemployed and homeless.
About eight years ago the publically funded Osaka Zoo, bought six koalas from Australia. These animals cost 120 million yen a year to feed. Osaka has the highest population of homeless in Japan, so understandably, this decision angered many people.
I couldn't find a recent statistic for the number of homeless in Japan, but the 2006 International Network of Street Papers, reports there are 25,000 homeless. I suspect the number is higher now, more than ten years and several major earthquakes later. There is also said to be three million "internet cafe refugees" moving from cafe to cafe. I'm wondering what effect the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will have.