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Japan Grants Asylum To Just 303 People In 2023 As It Rejected 98% Of Applicants

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jun 17, 2024 - 01:35 AM

Japan granted refugee status to a 'record' 303 asylum-seekers in 2023, an increase from the previous record of 202 people set in 2022, the Justice Ministry announced last week.

Ukrainian refugees arrive at Haneda airport in Tokyo on April 5, 2022 (Reuters)

Beyond this, two foreign nationals were granted quasi-refugee status for 'fleeing from countries in conflict,' while another 1,005 - mostly from Ukraine - were granted permission to reside in Japan on humanitarian grounds, though they do not qualify for refugee status, the Japan Times reports. 

According to a Tuesday report from the Justice Ministry, there were 13,823 asylum-seekers who applied for refugee status last year, a more than 3x increase from 2022 - though far short of the record set in 2017 of 19,629 applicants. The 303 who were granted refugee status were recognized by the Japanese government as having had to flee their home countries over threats of persecution. 

As in 2022, the majority of those recognized as being refugees last year — 237 people — were from Afghanistan, where the return of the Taliban regime to power in 2021 has led to continued instability. Refugees from Myanmar and Ethiopia made up the next biggest groups.

Last year's applicants for refugee status made up the second-largest number that Japan has ever received in a single year, with those from Sri Lanka (3,778), Turkey (2,406) and Pakistan (1,062) accounting for the largest nationality groups.

As for the new categories - Japan revised its Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law in 2023, introducing a new status of "subsidiary protection" that grants asylum to those fleeing from areas experiencing active, ongoing conflict - even if they do not qualify under Japan's narrow definition of refugee.

Since December 1st, 1,110 applications have been made for special status - most of whom (1,101) were from Ukraine. By the end of February, 647 applicants had been granted quasi-refugee status, with 644 of them being Ukrainian.

If an application is denied in Japan, there is an appeal process that can take several years - on top of the initial application process that takes several months to begin with.

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