An aid group is urging Tokyo's Taito Ward Office to apologize for barring three homeless people from a shelter set up for a recent typhoon because they were not residents of the ward.
The office came under attack after revelations surfaced that the three homeless people were turned away from the shelter during Typhoon Hagibis on October 12.
Ward officials reportedly told them that non-residents of Taito Ward could not use the shelter.
Mitsuo Nakamura of ASILE, a group that provides support for the homeless, visited the Taito Ward Office on Monday to protest the action.
He said turning away homeless people runs against the principle of a Japanese law giving top priority to protecting the people during natural disasters.
He demanded that the office offer an apology to the three men and work toward fundamental improvements in the handling of such people.
Taito Ward chief Yukuo Hattori told a ward assembly session on Monday that he is very sorry that some homeless people passed uneasy nights as a result of his ward office's poor judgment.
He said he takes seriously the fact that the office failed to anticipate that homeless people or other non-residents would go to the shelter, adding that the office humbly accepts the criticism. He pledged that the office would come up with specific measures to prevent recurrences.