Japanese expats volunteer to clean up parks, streets
It's a habit inculcated back in their homeland, so why not do it here too, they say
For nearly two years, a group of Japanese cleaners has been quietly tidying up Singapore's parks and streets.
But they are not new recruits to the 70,000 or so cleaners here. They are expats who do so for free, out of love for their temporary, adopted home.
Once a month, up to 15 of these cleaners - who are members of Tokyo-based non-profit environmental group Green Bird - head out in a uniform of matching green vests to tourist spots such as East Coast Park and Little India to spend an afternoon picking up trash.
Being responsible for keeping one's environment clean is a value that is taught to Japanese from a young age, said volunteer coordinator Junko Kurata, who moved here in 2011. She declined to give her age.
You have to take care of your country to keep it clean. You don't just throw all the responsibility to someone else.
- Volunteer coordinator Junko Kurata