2014: December November October September August July April March February
In December 2014
- A Regular Meeting for RAFIQ Volunteers
As a result of our efforts in reaching out to people at various events,
and as a result of the increasing number of people who are looking at RAFIQ's
and KV Net's (the Kansai volunteering information site) websites, awareness
of refugees is spreading, and RAFIQ is receiving increasing numbers of
applications from those who wish to volunteer.
As such, from January onwards we are planning to hold regular monthly meetings.
These meetings will consist of introductory lectures and other refugee-related
events for volunteers.
Registered volunteers and those who are thinking of registering as volunteers
are invited to take part in all the following events:
An Explanation of RAFIQ's Activities (Usually on the 3rd Saturday of every month, from 14:00 at Minna no Ie,
Reports on the previous month's activities are presented.
An Introduction to Asylum Issues by RAFIQ: Let's Know More About Refugees (Usually on the 3rd Saturday of every month, from 15:00 at Minna no Ie,
This introductory session, which we used to hold several times a year,
is now to be held monthly. The same content will generally be presented
every month, though specific topics may vary depending on the refugee applicants
who are present.
Please attend as many times as you like. You may need to attend many times
in order to gain an understanding of Japan's complicated system, including
issues such as the refugee status application process.
Cost: 1,000yen (800yen for RAFIQ members, 500yen for students)
An Introduction for Volunteers (Usually on the 3rd Saturday of every month, from 15:00 at Minna no Ie,
Only for those who have attended the "Introduction to Asylum Issues"
lecture mentioned above. The next event will be held on Saturday the 17th
A Lecture for RAFIQ Volunteers: "What is a Refugee Supporter?" (We are planning to hold these lectures once every two months, although
this is under discussion.)
For each bimonthly lecture, a volunteering activity is chosen as a topic.
The first topic, from February onwards, is "Translation Matters"
A Visit by RAFIQ to the Western Japan Detention Centre (Usually on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Meet at 12:30 at JR Ibaraki
We go to visit detained refugees on a monthly basis. A short lecture, "What
is the Immigration Bureau?" will be provided for those who are attending
for the first time.
The next visit will be on the 13th of January (Tuesday).
Nanmin Cafe (Usually on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. From 19:00 at Amanto, Nakazaki-cho,
Supporters and asylum seekers gather to discuss various issues. The venue
is Salon de Amanto, a cafe which provides shelter for asylum seekers.
Organiser: Neo Nanmin Cafe Network
Cost: 1,500yen (includes a Nepalese curry and a glass of Chai tea).
- A Special "Real" Edition of Kansai TV's "Anchor" Programme
was Broadcast, Dealing with Refugee Issues
On the 20th of November, a special "Real" edition of Kansai TV's
"Super News Anchor" programme was broadcast. Its title was "Refugees
Who've Come to Japan", and it elicited reactions from all over the
The programme was made in full partnership with, RAFIQ. It could not, however,
have been made without the contributions of asylum applicants, supporters
and supporter groups, and lawyers. Asylum applicants and supporters discussed
their thoughts and ideas, while lawyers described the status of the application
system in Japan. We are very grateful to all of you.
One group recorded the broadcast, and they all watched it together in order
to learn more about the issues it discussed. It seems an increasing number
of people who want to volunteer or accompany RAFIQ on visits to detention
centres have been searching for RAFIQ online, and filling out the form
on our website.
Text and photographs from the programme can be viewed via the "back
numbers" section of the "Anchor" website (Japanise web). Please check it out if you missed the original broadcast.
- Over 4,500 Asylum Applicants in 2014!
On the 4th of December, the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) issued
a press release which stated that over 4,000 asylum seekers had come to
Japan in 2014 – the highest ever annual number.
JAR's research is based on figures provided by NGOs which support refugees.
3,500 asylum seekers came to Tokyo, 500 to Nagoya, and 40 to Osaka. RAFIQ
also helped provide these figures.
These figures represent a huge increase on the previous highest figure
– 3,260 in 2013. New "highest ever figures" are being set year-on-year.
An article in the December 11th edition of the Mainichi Shimbun revealed
that the number of asylum seekers was actually higher than that provided
by the NGOs. According to this article, over 4,500 asylum seekers came
to Japan in 2014.
A specialist committee was set up in October 2013. It consists of academics
and representatives from refugee support organisations. A report was prepared
by the Minister of Justice's private consulting group, the "Immigration
Control Policy Consulting Group", which was set up to debate the refugee
application system. This report makes suggestions in four areas, including
eligibility for protection, and clarity of process. It also includes opinions
which do not agree with its findings.
If it is not accepted at the final meeting on the 11th, it will be proposed
to the consulting group on the 12th.
- A Sri Lankan Man Dies while in the Custody of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau
– Questions Asked About His Medical Care
On the 22nd of November, a Sri Lankan man, who had just been detained at
the Tokyo Metropolitan Immigration Centre, died while in custody.
According to reports, he was complaining of pains in his chest when he
fell ill. Despite this, he was moved to a different room, and left there.
Another detainee, who went to check on his condition, saw that he was unconscious
on the ground. He was then taken to hospital.
Two more deaths occurred in the Eastern Japan Immigration Centre in March
2014. In October 2013, another death occurred at the Tokyo Immigration
Centre. Japanese immigration centres, including the Western Japan Immigration
Centre in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, operate a system wherein detainees
cannot elect to visit hospitals in order to see doctors. Doctors visit
the immigration centres, but only for a few hours a week, and never on
weekends. There is no doubt that there are issues with the healthcare at
these institutions. If a detainee wishes to see a doctor, they must make
a request to the immigration centre, and receive special permission. They
have no idea when making the request how long it will take for them to
If immigration centres wish to detain people, then they have to protect
the lives of detainees who have chronic diseases, or those who contract
such diseases. In cases of emergency, doctors at immigration centres must
act quickly in coordination with external hospitals. If immigration centres
cannot do this, then their detainees should be allowed provisional release
(i.e. they should not be detained there).
Supporters' groups and the deceased's family have held press conferences,
and the public have been informed of what happened via NHK and other media
Register Your Objection:
To receive a form that allows you to express opinions and ideas relating
to the Ministry of Justice, send a fax to 03-3692-7393.
Tokyo Immigration Bureau General Affairs Section Phone Number: 03-5796-7250
Tokyo Immigration Representative Fax: 03-5796-7125
- New Book: "The Rights of Refugees Under International Law" by
James C. Hathaway (Published by Nippon Hyoronsha)
The Japanese translation of this book, written by Prof. James C. Hathaway,
a world-renowned authority on international refugee law, was published
on the 20th of November 2014.
Prof. Hathaway describes the aims of his book as follows:
"This book attempts to clarify the true nature of the extremely particular
systems and structures which surround the international rights of refugees.
It is not only a description of the rights that refugees should have. It
also provides an analysis of how these rights should be implemented in
various countries, and therefore offers a balanced view."
Hisashi Owada, the former head of the International Court of Justice, provides
the following introduction to the book:
"In the international community of the 21st century, we are in the
middle of a huge transformation from a state-centric legal system to a
human-centric legal system. The rights of refugees is a central issue in
this transformation. What are the international standards that Japan must
meet when offering asylum to refugees? I expect that this book will have
a place on the desks of all those who take an interest in guaranteeing
In November 2014
- 13 Years of Activity, Aiming to Strengthen Support for Refugees (RAFIQ
General Meeting Report)
At our general meeting, our joint representative Tanaka provided explanations
on: "the state of affairs concerning refugees", "a report
on RAFIQ's activities", and "RAFIQ's objectives, September 2014
– August 2015)". Our treasurer then gave a statement of our income
and budget. All of the above were accepted, to applause. Joint representatives
and steering committee members were introduced.
"The State of Affairs Concerning Refugees" & "A Report
on RAFIQ's Activities"
All over the world, an increasing number of people are living as refugees,
and this trend is becoming more widespread. Japan is seeing a year-on-year
increase in numbers of asylum seekers. However, the number of applicants
to which Japan actually grants asylum decreases every year. Between January
and December 2013, six applications were accepted. (Two applications were
accepted at the first stage; three applications were accepted at the second
stage, after an initial appeal; one application was accepted after its
rejection was successfully overturned in court.) This is an acceptance
rate of 0.1%, close enough to 0.
The tentative figure for asylum applications made in the first half of
2014 (January – June) is over 2,200 (according to UNHCR). There are fears
that 2014 will see over 4,000 applications made in total. As the Ministry
of Justice rushes to streamline the process, the number of applicants who
lodge a formal appeal when their application is rejected is increasing.
As this trend continues, in June 2013 the Refugee Forum (FRJ) announced
a proposal for a new asylum law. Following on from this, a special committee
concerned with the refugee recognition process has been set up within the
Ministry of Justice. It is planning to produce its findings before the
end of 2014.
Ishikawa-san, an FRJ member, and Shogo Watanabe, a lawyer, are sitting
on this committee. Although there are terrible problems with the composition
of the committee, they are both working hard to secure the best possible
outcome, and are receiving support from the FRJ.
As for RAFIQ's own activities, we have mainly been involved with providing
support to asylum seekers who have been provisionally released. We have
provided new shelters, as well as medical support and support from the
Amanto group. We have also been able to provide food for refugees from
the Osaka Food Bank. We have also provided legal support to those who are
applying for provisional release, making an application for asylum, or
appealing against the rejection of their application. Our links with lawyers
are getting increasingly stronger.
In terms of educating the public, we provide an introductory lecture in
Immigration Bureau-related problems once a month, when we go and visit
detainees at immigration detention centres. We also hold two introductory
lectures on refugee-related issues a month. We take part in various events,
and appear as guest speakers along with refugees and asylum seekers. Our
activities have not yet permeated the public consciousness, however.
Our objectives for the new year have been formed in accordance with the
three year plan that was established last year. We intend to enhance our
current activities, and improve the support we provide to refugees.
Up to now, RAFIQ's activities have been funded almost entirely by our members.
Since the amount of administrative work is increasing, however, we are
aiming to become an organization that has full time staff. We would also
like to increase our number of members and attract more volunteer staff.
"Points Concerning Legal Support for Refugees" A Lecture by Keiichiro
Mr. Hara is an Osaka-based lawyer who has a great deal of experience in
dealing with refugees' cases. He presented various examples of the cases
he had been involved with, by describing the roles of lawyers, supporters
and refugees. He also talked about other matters of interest to lawyers
and supporters, including his thoughts on refugees' court cases, the relationship
between the treaty and the refugee recognition procedure, questions related
to who is eligible for refugee status, and more.
Here are some thoughts on what Mr. Hara had to say:
It is very important for refugees to contact a lawyer as soon as possible
after they have made their application. However, refugees do not attempt
to go to court in order to win asylum in Japan. Instead it seems they start
looking for a lawyer once their application has been rejected. As supporters,
we do our best to establish whether applicants are eligible for refugee
status, and try to secure lawyers for them. However, the problem is that
not all lawyers are familiar with issues of asylum and, as a result, all
refugee-related cases end up being dealt with by a small number of lawyers.
Mr. Hara mentioned that there are examples of refugee supporters who are
involved with refugees for a particular, specific reason. For example,
they may have been part of a Japanese community in a refugee's country
of origin, or they may be part of a religious group. As such, while they
may be familiar with the situation in a refugee's country of origin, these
supporters often lack a full understanding of the situation for refugees
in Japan, and the issues they face. I thought about this, and considered
to what extent such organisations, made up of individual refugee supporters,
can understand refugee-related issues, and how much support can they really
offer. I think it's important that they coordinate with us, and that we
continue our education activities.
Furthermore, I realised that when it's time for a verdict to be delivered
in court, how close we are to the asylum seekers in question (how much
we understand them) is important. There are a number of problems: In many
court cases, verdicts that are not in accordance with UNHCR's Refugee Recognition
Standards Handbook are delivered. In others, the standard of proof that
is required to prove an asylum seeker's eligibility does not comply with
international standards. We should bear in mind that the verdicts delivered
in these courts have an enormous impact on people's lives.
Reports were produced on the Amanto group, which provides shelter for refugees,
and on the Osaka Foodbank.
We also watched a DVD, provided by RAFIQ, of our visit to Hong Kong last
autumn, when we met with various refugee support groups.
The Amanto Group operate a building (a "shelter") which is used
by staff as a shared house, and which provides temporary accommodation
for refugees who have been provisionally released.
The owner of the Amanto Group was not previously very well informed about
refugee-related issues. After the shelter was set up, however, they started
organising a number of locally based activities in order to think collectively
about such issues. They planned the monthly Nanmin Cafe gathering, as well
as other local events, and by ensuring that refugees take part in neighbourhood
association events, they do their best to help refugees feel part of the
Even after they have moved out of the shelter, refugees occasionally drop
by the Amanto cafe to report on their situation, or for a discussion. In
that sense, it really feels like a home to them.
Despite being less than two years old, the Osaka Food Bank now receives
discarded food (for example, food that is nearing its use-by date), from
40 companies, and distributes it to around 70 organisations who are in
need of it.
RAFIQ used to make use of a similar system known as "Second Harvest",
who would deliver food to refugees that were staying in shelters. The contents
of these deliveries were not known until they arrived, however, so we decided
to use the Food Bank instead. Now we receive a list of available food,
from which we select what we require and make our requests. Receiving this
food is a real blessing for refugees who have been provisionally released
and are unable to work.
After our General Meeting, a gathering of supporters and refugees was held
in another room.
We enjoyed socialising and eating food prepared by refugees. We ate spring
rolls and chicken curry with sweet potatoes, made by a Vietnamese refugee,
as well as an Iranian dish made with potatoes and eaten with bread.
- We Attended the Appeal Hearing and for State Compensation Relating to the
Death of Mr. Suraj, Followed by a Debriefing (October 15th)
(Takegaki's report and impressions.)
I had received information that admission tickets to the appeal hearing
would be allocated on a lottery basis. In the end, however, fewer than
50 people applied for tickets, meaning that everyone assembled could attend
the hearing. I had thought that the trial would be concluded during this
session. In the end, however, the session consisted only of a 10-minute
explanation from Taniguchi-san, the lawyer, on his opposition to the defendant's
(the state of Japan, its Ministry of Justice and Immigration Bureau) grounds
for appeal. The state of Japan now has until the 26th of December to submit
a written rebuttal to these oppositions. The third session of the appeal
hearing will therefore take place at 10:30 on Wednesday the 21st of January,
in the same court.
Following the session at the high court, I attended a debriefing session
at Hibiya Library, organised by APFS (the Asian People's Friendship Society).
Once again, there was astonishment at the unjust nature of the state's
dangerous actions and the attempts at covering them up, as well as at the
nonsense spouted by Japan's (forensic) medical experts and their deference
- A Summary of the Second Session at the High Court:
The lawyer, Taniguchi-san, once again spoke logically and persuasively,
explaining how unjust the state's claims are. I was moved by this.
Taniguchi-san's Main Points:
- In the video and photographs that show him being suppressed, Mr. Suraj
is not acting violently, but suppressive actions are shown, such as the
covering of his eyes.
- It has been pointed out in other countries that similar suppressive actions
- The claim made by the state in the first court hearing, that the cause
of Mr. Suraj's death was a heart condition unrelated to outside interference,
was completely missing from the documents listing its grounds for appeal.
This indicates that the state's claim was unreasonable.
- Furthermore, in the documents listing the state's grounds for appeal, the
state appears to have suddenly discovered the presence of another, different
ailment. The very fact that this was brought up so suddenly and without
prior mention raises doubts.
- The state presented the opinions of a number of forensic pathologists as
evidence, but these opinions simply stated that Mr. Suraj was experiencing
stress since he was probably about to be deported. The fact that his nose
and mouth were blocked was not mentioned at all. These were extremely biased
- The state suddenly introduced a main factor contributing to Mr. Suraj's
death. It is not clear whether this main factor was an illness or not.
- The forensic pathologists claimed that, if Mr. Suraj had suffocated, there
would be red marks on his face. Since there were no such marks present,
they concluded that the cause of death was not suffocation. However, their
opinions ignored the fact that it's possible for red marks not to appear
in cases of suffocation.
- Even assuming that Mr. Suraj did have some kind of illness, he was pushed
to the ground, and the people who pushed him to the ground cannot avoid
taking responsibility for doing so
- A written opinion was produced with the cooperation of a doctor from the
UK. There were almost no doctors in Japan who would help.
- There is a new concept of "posture-related suffocation", a concept
not yet accepted by the scientific community. The state says that unless
someone is slouching for 30 minutes or more, it isn't a case of suffocation.In
other countries, however, cases have been reported of victims suffocating
after only five minutes in a slouched position. In the first trial, the
cause of death was determined as "being put in a slouched position,
with his nose and mouth blocked".
- No clear trend can be seen in past decisions made by the judge, Takizawa-san.
While some cases have been decided by the exchange of documents only, and
in others participants have only been given a minute or two to present
their arguments, this time 10 minutes were allowed for the presentation
of arguments and counter-arguments, which already makes this case something
of an exception.
- The next session (21st January 2015) will probably consist only of counter-arguments
by the state, though it is also possible that the case will be concluded
on that date.
Text: H. Takegaki
Before the claim for state compensation was made, Mr. Suraj's family lodged
a criminal complaint against the Immigration Bureau. The prosecutors decided
not to indict. The Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution launched an
investigation into the validity of this non-indictment. The results were
received on the 28th of October. (See below.)
When the claim for state compensation went to the district court, Mr. Suraj's
family were victorious, and were awarded damages. (The cause and effect
was recognised, and the court proposed 5,000,000yen in compensation.) Despite
this, in the criminal case it was decided that there was no causal relationship
between Mr. Suraj's death and his treatment by the Immigration Bureau.
We think this decision is questionable.
|Death During Forced Deportation: Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution's
Verdict on the Validity of the Decision not to Indict
October 30th 20:59 NHK News
Four years ago, a Ghanaian person who was being forcibly repatriated from
Narita airport died after being suppressed by Immigration Bureau officers.
Prosecutors decided not to indict these officers, a decision which the
family of the deceased have stated is unjust. The committee for the Inquest
of Prosecution has determined that the causal relationship between the
officers' suppressive actions and the death of the deceased is unclear,
and that therefore there are no issues with the decision not to indict.
The decision not to indict is therefore deemed valid.
In 2010, a Ghanaian man, who was 45 at the time, was found to be residing
in Japan illegally, and was set to be forcibly repatriated from Narita
airport. Before departure, he was pinned down in the passenger jet's cabin
by officers from Tokyo's Immigration Bureau. He then lost consciousness
and died. Charges of assault and cruelty by special public officers were
filed against 10 Immigration Bureau officers.
The Chiba district prosecutor's office decided not to indict any of the
officers. In response to this decision, the wife of the deceased stated
that he had been gagged, had his head pinned down, and had subsequently
died of suffocation. As such, she stated that the decision not to indict
was unjust. An official statement to this effect was made in April to the
Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, concerning 9 of the 10 defendants.
In response to this, Chiba's second Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution
stated that the officers' suppressive actions were within the scopepermitted
actions, and that the causal relationship between their actions and the
deceased's death was unclear. It was therefore determined that there were
no issues with the decision not to indict, which was deemed valid.
In March this year, the Tokyo district court acknowledged the causal relationship
between the officers' suppressive actions and the deceased's death. The
state was instructed to pay 5,000,000yen in compensation. Both the deceased's
family and the state are appealing to the Tokyo High Court.
In October 2014
- Report: World Nanmin Day (September 21st)
The "World Nanmin Day" event took place on the 21st of September in Nakazaki-cho hall, Osaka. It was organised by the Neo
Nanmin Cafe Network, of which RAFIQ is a member.
The World Nanmin Day programme included dance and music performances, as
well as a symposium and talks about refugee-related problems. There was
also an area where visitors could sample cuisine from refugees' home countries,
eating as much as they liked for 1,000yen. A number of stalls were set
up outside the hall, operated by groups and individuals who support the
cause. RAFIQ had a stall, as did Friends of RAWA, the Japan Burmese Relief
Center and J-Fun Youth, which are members of World Refugee Day's western
Japan action committee.
This year, World Nanmin Day took place on September 21st, meaning it coincided
with the International Day of Peace. As such, the theme was "Creating
a Town We Can Share with Refugees", and the focus was on living peacefully
in Osaka alongside refugees who have escaped war and persecution in their
The Neo Nanmin Cafe Network organises the Nanmin Cafe event, which takes
place on the evening of the third Thursday of each month, in Nakazaki-cho.
Participants discussed the content and structure of the World Nanmin Day
event at these gatherings.
Finalising the content took a long time, and because there wasn't time
to do much advertising beforehand, the voluntary help of high school and
university students who were contacted by RAFIQ and who turned up on the
day itself was gratefully received. The event attracted considerable media
attention, and many interviews took place.
A student at Ristumeikan Uji High School (Kyoto prefecture), who helped
host the event, wrote the following email detailing their impressions:
|My name is M. A. I attend Ritsumeikan Uji High School, and I recently helped
host the World Nanmin Day event. I had attended Nanmin Cafe events before,
and heard about RAFIQ's activities, but taking part in World Nanmin Day
was an extremely valuable experience. It gave me an insight into who the
refugees supported by RAFIQ actually are.
I distributed flyers on the day, and although it proved difficult at first
because only a few people accepted them, towards the end of the day more
and more people took a flyer, and I ended up handing out more than a hundred
in total. I think it was a good opportunity for ordinary people to learn
about refugee issues in Japan.
I also learned a lot about cuisines from refugees' home countries, and
deepened my friendships with them. Furthermore, I interacted with people
who are involved with other refugee support organizations, and was stimulated
by these discussions.
I speak for all the members from Ritsumeikan Uji High School when I say
that if there are other opportunities like this in the future, we'd love
to do all we can to help.
In around October, with the help of S-san from J-FUN, we're planning on
holding a fair in our school cafeteria, allowing people to sample food
from refugees' home countries. This will be similar to the fair that was
held at Ristumeikan University's Kinugasa campus.
- Over 2,000 Applications for Asylum in the First Half of 2014 (According
UNHCR have announced the number of asylum applications that were made in
the first half of 2014 (January-June). 2,248 applications were made in
Japan in the first half of the year, which means that over 4,000 applications
can be expected for the year as a whole. The total for 2012 was over 2,000,
and the total for 2013 was over 3,200.
This year, the situation has worsened in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan,
Palestine, and elsewhere, and the global number of refugees has increased.
We have to think about what can be done to stop the increase in the number
Asylum Trends, First half 2014 (UNHCR)
Information about the 2nd quarter in Japan (April – June) is on page 30:
"TABLE 12 Top-10 nationalities of asylum applicants by country of
asylum: Second quarter 2014".
- A new online book of Asahi Shinbun articles: "Mukokuseki: A Country of 2nd Generation Refugees. The Battles of Children
Living in Japan"
A new online book entitled "Mukokuseki: A Country of 2nd Generation
Refugees. The Battles of Children Living in Japan" was published on
the 11th of September.
Online books are similar to e-books, except that they are not downloaded
onto a device, but rather read as an online website. The book can be read
for up to a year after purchase.
"Mukokuseki: A Country of 2nd Generation Refugees. The Battles of
Children Living in Japan" was a column published in the Asahi Shinbun
between the 20th and 30th of August. It introduces members of student groups
who, along with RAFIQ, are affiliated with the World Refugee Day's western
Japan action committee.
This year, it will be 60 years since the Convention Relating to the Status
of Stateless Persons came into force. Japan, however, has not even ratified
this convention, and it seems there is a lack of concern about the fact
that there are stateless people in Japan. Living as a refugee can be considered
an individual's own decision, but being stateless is not something that
these individuals desire. It is also extremely difficult for such individuals
to acquire Japanese nationality through their own efforts. As a country,
we have to ask ourselves how we intend to take care of these people, who
are living within our borders.
|The authors of the online book mentioned above: Kazuki Ito and Taro Tamaki
Published by: The Asahi Shinbun Company
Approximately 14,000 refugees and their families have been granted the
right to reside in Japan. Around 60% of these are from Vietnam, while the
remainder are mostly from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. The children born
to people who come to Japan in order to escape war or persecution have
few troubles with Japanese language or culture. On the other hand, many
are unable to register their births in their parents' country of origin,
and are consequently stateless. They are stuck between their "home"
countries and Japan. Despite this, these children are starting to find
ways of making the most of their roots.
[Published in the Asahi Shinbun (20th-30th August 2014)]
- Introducing Quality Film Festivals in Kansai
A number of quality film festivals which touch upon refugee-related issues
are taking place in Kansai this autumn, and we would like to introduce
Note from Keiko: I recently watched the Korean film Way Back Home, as well
as the Indian film English Vinglish. Both films made a lasting impression
on me. I watched them on a weekday, but there were quite a lot of other
people in the cinema. I was happy to see that there's an appetite for these
kinds of films.
October 17th – 19th Queer Film Festival
Location: Toyonaka Danjokyoudosankaku Centre Step (Toyonaka City, Osaka
October 25th – 26th Refugee Film Festival
Location: Kansai Gaukin Daigaku Nishinomiya Seiwa Campus
November 22nd – 28th Hu-Rights Osaka 20th Anniversary: "Films Aim for Freedom – Seven
Days of Encountering Questions".
Location: Dai-Nana Geijutsu Gekijio (Osaka City)
In September 2014
- A number of Kurdish asylum seekers went on hunger strike at the East Japan
At the start of September, news arrived that Kurdish asylum seekers being
held at the East Japan Immigration Centre in Ushiku City, Ibaraki Prefecture
had gone on hunger strike. For more information about what happened afterwards,
we spoke to Kimiko Tanaka from an organisation called Ushiku no Kai (set
up to consider problems at the Ushiku immigration centre). She has been
interviewing asylum seekers being held there:
The hunger strike took place between the 1st and 8th of September. Some
people stopped their hunger strike because of issues such as worsening
medical conditions, but spirits remained very high throughout the strike.
Throughout this period, the participants encouraged each other not to consume
anything except tea or coffee. The immigration authorities threatened the
participants by saying that their actions would have a negative impact
when it came to them being provisionally released."
The following is taken from Ushiku no Kai's homepage, where it was published
on the 6th of September:
"Kurdish asylum seekers who hold Turkish nationality have been on
hunger strike at the East Japan Immigration Centre since the 1st of September.
Tanaka-san, from Ushiku no Kai, spoke to some of these Kurdish refugees
in late August. She received a letter from them written in Roman script,
and addressed to the Centre. She was asked to write it in Japanese on their
behalf. This letter clearly explains the reasons why these refugees have
gone on hunger strike. As such, we have reproduced it below.
One of the main reasons is that the Kurdish refugees have been refused
provisional release, one after another, since mid-August. This is despite
them already being refused entry to Japan at Narita airport, being transferred
to the Ushiku centre, and being held there for the long term. They are
refugees, and have a number of medical problems. The immigration authorities
tried to persuade the hunger strikers to abandon their strike by threatening
them, saying it would have a negative impact when it came to them being
provisionally released. The hunger strike is still going on, however.
|The letter from the refugees to the Immigration Centre:
"We are Kurdish asylum seekers who are currently being temporarily
held in this Immigration Centre. We thought we would write a letter to
the head of this Centre about the problems that we have had here.
First of all, we should point out that Japan has signed a law which compels
it to accept asylum seekers from all over the world. Every other country
accepts Kurdish refugees. Why doesn't Japan consider Kurdish people to
For the past 2-3 years, the governments of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria
have collectively been massacring the Kurdish people. This is not a new
or unusual thing. Kurds have been forced from their homes for a long time
now. 31 Kurds are currently being held at the East Japan Immigration Centre.
We face many problems in our home country. That is why we are seeking asylum
When you feel ill, you go straight to the hospital, you get seen by a specialist
doctor, and you can get the medicine you need. For us, it takes a month
or more before we can even see a doctor. We are humans. We are not animals."
The following information is taken from The Kurds and Kurdistan, by Kiyoshi Nakagawa (published by Nanposhinsha).
The ethnic group known as the Kurds has a population of between 25 and
30 million. They currently live in an area that covers a number of countries,
including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and are therefore
considered a large "ethnic minority", and the world's largest
group of stateless people. The area inhabited by Kurds has been known as
Kurdistan since ancient times, but the area was conquered by the Ottoman
Empire and remained under Ottoman rule until after the First World War.
During this period, Kurdistan's borders were repeatedly redrawn, its parts
split and merged into several other countries. In fact, this is still happening
- Who are the Kurds? (p. 24)
The Turkish government does not recognise Kurdish culture, and is pursuing
policies of cultural assimilation. As a result, the Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK) has been fighting against Turkish security forces since 1994,
in the same of self-determination for Kurds.
- Turkish Kurdish Refugees (p. 363)
The Turkish army has engaged in a practice of wiping out entire villages
which support PKK guerrillas. Over 3000 villages were destroyed and depopulated
between 1992 and 1995. Over 3 million Kurds have been forced to leave their
place of birth.
Individuals who are suspected of participation in political activities
or guerrilla activities are persecuted, as are those who avoid military
service. The persecution usually escalates to involve the individual's
family as well. (This is why Kurdish people flee to big cities, and are
seeking asylum in the EU as well as in other countries.)
(End of Quoted Material)
Turkey, in particular, is friendly with Japan, with whom it has close economic
ties. Asylum seekers from such "friendly" countries who come
to Japan seeking protection are never officially recognised as refugees
by the Japanese government (though they are sometimes given special permission
to remain in Japan.) They spend long periods on provisional release, and
sometimes end up being taken back into detention.
Countries in Europe and North America are accepting many Kurdish people
Recently, it is not only Kurdish refugees who have faced this problem in
Japan. Syrian refugees are not being recognised as such either. It is easy
to see that Japan would rather protect its economic interests than it would
the people of the Middle East.
We cannot allow Japan to refuse to recognise as refugees those who ask
us for help, and to detain them in immigration centres while preparing
to deport them, or to simply release them provisionally for an indefinite
period. These asylum seekers went on hunger strike in order to make themselves
heard by the outside world. We cannot ignore them. They need to be provisionally
released immediately, and the rules for recognising asylum seekers needs
to be revised urgently, in line with immigration policy and UNHCR guidelines.
In August 2014
- The concluding observation of the 6th state report examined by the Human
We would like to inform that the Human Rights Committee issued the concluding
observation of the 6th Japanese state report examined on 24th July. From
the side of NGOs in Japan, Japan Federation of Bar Associations, Solidary
Network with Migrants Japan, Amnesty have submitted their reports.
The comments about the issues of refugees from the committee are described
in "Expulsion and detention of asylum-seekers and undocumented immigrants".
- Expulsion and detention of asylum-seekers and undocumented immigrants
The cases of ill-treatment during deportations, which resulted in the death
of a person in 2010 is referred to the case of Mr. Suraj from Ghana. Unfortunately,
there is no description about the case of the deceased detainee at the
immigration center in the publication.
19. The Committee expresses concern about reported cases of ill-treatment
during deportations, which resulted in the death of a person in 2010. The
Committee is also concerned that, despite the amendment to the Immigration
Control and Refugee Recognition Act, the principle of non-refoulement is
not implemented effectively in practice. The Committee remains further
concerned at the lack of an independent appeal mechanism with suspensive
effect against negative decisions on asylum as well as at the prolonged
periods of administrative detention without adequate giving of reasons
and without independent review of the detention decision (arts. 2, 7, 9
- The State party should:
(a) Take all appropriate measures to guarantee that immigrants are not
subject to ill-treatment during their deportation;
(b) Ensure that all persons applying for international protection are given
access to fair procedures for determination and for protection against
refoulement, and have access to an independent appeal mechanism with suspensive
effect against negative decisions;
(c) Take measures to ensure that detention is resorted to for the shortest
appropriate period and only if the existing alternatives to administrative
detention have been duly considered and that immigrants are able to bring
proceedings before a court that will decide on the lawfulness of their
(CCPR-Center. 2014. )
"the principle of non-refoulement" can be defined that prohibits
states from returning refugees in any manner whatsoever to countries or
territories in which their lives or freedom may be threated. In Japan,
if asylum seekers are declined their refugee application, given a disqualification,
and accordingly put in detained, they can be forcibly returned to their
country in the future. Furthermore, Appealing becomes more difficult for
those without supporters, when they would like to prepare appealing and
documents related to their trial.
This observation about the immigration and refugee system has been repeated
for a long time. In other words, we can be argued that the Japanese government
has not put enough efforts to change the current system, and it eventually
represents the government's unwillingness to protect refugees and support
The observation has also mentioned a number of other humanitarian topics
such as gender issue, hate speech, sex slaves under the wartime, capital
punishment, the Secret Information Protection Act, and the hazards of Fukushima
Daiichi Nuclear plant and so on.
Please kindly have a look the below original observation.
- About the supports by Food bank OSAKA
Regarding to the RAFIQ livelihood support for asylum seekers, an NPO "Food
Bank Osaka" has given a dramatically change in a positive way.
We asked some questions to Mr. Takahashi in charge of RAFIQ livelihood
Q1: What is the main change after RAFIQ started to collaborate with "Food
(RAFIQ used to have a collaboration with only "Second harvest"
as one of the livelihood support, but currently we started working with
"Second harvest" and " Foodbank OSAKA".)
A: The main change is that RAFIQ and "Food bank OSAKA" has a "contract".
Besides, RAFIQ does not have a contract with "Second harvest",
while refugees are using "Second harvest" individually.
Q2: Please kindly explain the details of supports from "Food Bank OSAKA".
A: "Food bank OSAKA" has been established very recently, and they
are trying to increase the number of food providers so far. Once we are
informed from the providers that they are ready foods, we make a request
sheet written with item names and quantity, send the sheet to them, and
then will be able to receive the foods.
For example, we were delivered 19th July, cookie, fruit jerry, tomato can,
salt, and CalorieMate. From July, the "Costco" has kindly started
to support us, and we receive fresh items such as banana, bread, cut vegetables,
avocado, mango, and pineapple once a week.
Q3. How are the refuges reacted ?
A: They seem very glad. Particularly, asylum seekers who are not allowed
to work are able to save their lives. At the same time, refugee supporters
are also very pleased the warm supports from Foodbank Osaka. This is because
refugee supporters are sometimes hard to keep supporting asylum seekers
only with our virtuous mind, and it is concerned that the heavy burden
can hinder the sustainable livelihood supports.
In July 2014
- The assembly of "World Refugee Day 2014 in Kansai" was held on
June 15th, 2014
First off, Ms. Tanaka from our committee opened the assembly by explaining
its purposes and the response Japanese Ministry of Justice is urged to
take given the increasing number of asylum seekers in Japan (with numbers
such as more than 2,500 asylum seekers in 2012 and only 6 approved the
status in 2013).
Between June 3rd and 5th, politicians such as Mr. Namba, Mr. Fujimatsu,
Ms. Itokazu and Mr. Mataichi addressed the refugee issues with a focus
on the "reform of the preparation act for the administrative appeal
act" at the congress, shedding light to the issues surrounding asylum
Mr. Shogo Watanabe, a lawyer, member of “experts of refugee issues” at
the Japanese Ministry of Justice and advocate of refugee issues, gave a
lecture named “A Reality and Issues of Refugee Status: 32 Years After Its
Enactment in 1982,” explaining why Japan has a surprisingly low refugee
status recognition rate with slides.
Ms. Akiko Ogawa from Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) discussed world's
affairs surrounding refugees and asylum seekers after speeches by three
asylum seekers in Japan.
- "A Briefing Session for Inspection at the Detention Centres in the
U.K." on June 17th, 2014
Written by Takegaki
Date: Tuesday June 17th, 2014 18:30~20:00
Venue: Bengoshi Kaikan (Tokyo) 3rd Floor
Organizer: Tokyo Bar Association Committee on Protection of Foreigners'
Attendee: About 20 people
Briefing Session: MC/ Mr. Kouichi Kodama
1. About the Detention Centre ; Ms. Chie Komai
2. About the Inspection Committee ; Ms. Kumiko Niitsu
3. About Bail Trials ; Mr. Sosuke Seki
4. About Living Facilities after the Bail ; Mr. Mitsuru Namba
General feedback for the session: Like the same briefing session two years
ago, I am overwhelmed by the huge difference between the UK and Japan (in
terms of attitude towards asylum seekers or foreigners, both soft’s and
hard’s of accepting facilities, the weight of the reporting committee,
the criteria of bail trials and so on). However, the average 28-day detention
period may be problematic. Also, the living facilities, employment and
pension after the bail are insufficient, making it hard for me to understand
the gap from the well-established detention centre.
Given this briefing, a question was asked at the diet and a relatively
good answer was given (the Immigration Bureau commented: “there are issues
that Japan too needs to address”); this is a great progress.
- About the detention centre (Reporter Ms. Chie Komai)
Two detention centres (one for men and the other for families) were inspected
The words of the president of the detention centres weighs:
- Other than the ministry of law officials, the centres were entirely managed
by a private corporation (G4S).
- Although there are various people detained (other than asylum seekers)
at the centres, their average detained period is 28 days, which is short.
More than 90% leave the centre within 6 months. However, like Japan, the
maximum detained period is unlimited.
- Rules for visits: Registration is open for 24h a day, 365 days. Visits
are allowed between 14:00~21:00, 365 days. Rooms are open from 8:00~21:00.
- Facilities: Principally two people per a room. There are a shared kitchen,
a gym, English classes, an art room, a library, a music room, and a PC
room. Internet and cellphones are available to use. Medicines are provided
from 14:00~16:00 all year everyday, where you can see a doctor and receive
- Relationship between detainees and the workers: They play Billiards, ping-pong,
BBQ and cultural events together.
"We can face each other with respect by creating relationships. There
used to be anti-deportation activisms when detainees were deported, but
we discuss and come to a solution these days. Every problem could be settled
down based on understanding and respect."
- About the inspection committee (Reporter Ms. Kumiko Niitsu)
Unique characteristics: Regular and independent audit, visits without advanced
notice, care and contribution for human rights protection, funds and staffs
of their own. The results for the audit are published, and 97% of recommendations
are accepted, while 65% gets actualized.
- About bail trials (Reporter Ms. Sosuke Seki)
Bail trials are performed by the immigration and refugee tribunal. The
judge is chosen from people with experience of being a lawyer. The home
office used to be in charge of choosing the judge like the immigration
office before, but today the ministry of justice chooses, increasing the
Trials are public, finishing within 3~6 days after the application, with
the publicized reasons for continued detention. The criteria for standards
for the bail are publicized on the Internet. The subject of the trial can
join the trial through the Internet. Additionally, the bail rate is not
researched lest the rate should pressure the judge (according to an NGO,
the rate is around 30%?).
- About Living Facilities after the Bail (Reporter Mr. Mitsuru Namba)
Livelihood support is done in accordance with the immigration and refugee
law (article 4: supports after bail; article 95: support for applicants).
Supports are given to asylum seekers in the process of receiving the refugee
status. Shared house is provided by the border agency (a house we inspected
can hold 5 families in 2LDK). Living expenses will be covered: 56 pounds
(about 6,000 yen) for a single adult a week. Paid by electronic money (limited
shops available for use).
Working is prohibited entirely-seems like there are many people working
illegally. If caught, you will get detained; however, we heard that it
was hard to get caught.
- Submission of "A Request for Early Detection of TB Patients and Prevention
We submitted “A Request for Early Detection of TB Patients and Prevention
Programs” to the president of Nishi Nihon Immigration Center on July 8th,
2014/5/25 ; An Indian person detained at the Nishi Nihon Immigration Center
broke his shoulder and went to a hospital outside in the neighborhood.
5/26~27 ; Went to Takatsuki Hospital from the immigration center to see
5/28 ; Had a surgery at Takatsuki Hospital. Found out that he had a TB.
5/29~ (6/10) ; Pamphlets about TB in English and in Japanese were distributed
to all detainees. Everyone (except for the workers) went through the X-lay
examination. All clear. The detainees seemed not to have worried with the
early response by the center.
6/10 ; Went to hear what had happened when visiting the Nishi Nihon Immigration
Center. Also asked the detainees. We couldn't see the Indian detainee for
he is in the hospital.
Nishi Nihon Immigration Center answered our questions well regarding current
response that they are following the public health center’s advises on
When we asked about the follow-up care for bailed people, they said "we
don't know" "we will follow the public health centers,"
so we asked the Ibaraki public health center only to hear "we cannot
respond to individual cases."
The same answer was given when we asked if the manual sees bailed people
as the subjects for care. Public health center seemed to be more bureaucratic
than the immigration center.
However, when we asked the bailed people, they said they hadn't received
anything neither from the immigration center nor the public health center.
We think that the immigration center's response was "quick,"
however, we submitted a request with the following three items:
- Perform health examination when entering the center, including an X-ray
- Perform follow-up care for bailed individuals
- Adopt preventative measures to the international standard
Given the fatal accident at the Higashi Nihon Immigration Center, the item
1 is necessary. We heard that the Higashi Nihon Immigration Center performs
an X-ray examination when people are detained the center. There are few
regional immigration centers with an X-ray facility.
In April, 2014
- In 2013, among over 3,200 refugee status applications, only 6 approved
On March 20, the Ministry of Justice released the report of “About the
Number of Refugee Status Application in 2013 etc.” at last. By this, the
number of refugee applications was 3,260, which is increased by about 700
than in last year. But Japan granted only 6 people as “refugees” (3 were
appoved on the first instance, 3 approved on appeal), which is one-third
as many as in last year. The 0.1% recognition rate means a lot of unrecognized
people emerge in our society.
RAFIQ released the opinion about the above on March 22. For example, none
of the Syrian refugees in Japan was granted their status, while all of
them are permitted to live as refugees in Sweden. And we appeal that our
government should implement what theDiets resolved in 2011; Japan will
take a leading role in Asia and the world to pursue the eternal solution
of refugee problem and reinforce protection of their rights,.
The Ministry of Justice set up the adhoc committee on refugee recognition
system in last autumn. The purpose is how to establish quick process of
refugee recognition as there are increasing the refugee applicants. But
the most important thing is that it has to revise the current law according
to the standard of UNHCR handbook on refugee recognition, and implement
it for refugees.
On March 31, the government of Japan decided to provide the second biggest
financial assistence for UNHCR in the world, following the USA. Japan offered
$252,939,102 in 2013, and $125,000,000 during the first quarter in 2014.
It does not make sense that while Japan is such a big contributing country,
it is extremely indifference to the refugees inside.
In World Refugee Day Assembly on June 15 we Mr Shogo Watanabe, a lawyer
as a keynote speaker, whose topic is the movement toward New Refugee Recognition
- The case of a Ghanaian male's death on deportation: His family won a court
order of reparation by the state, however the Japanese government appealed
to a higher court.
Tokyo district court gave a decision on March 19,2014 on the case that
Abubakar Awudu Suraj, a Ghanaian male died at the time of his deportation
in March, 2010, describing that the Immigration Bureau should make reparation
for his family. Despite written requests from several supporting groups
not to appeal to a higher court, the Japanese government did so on March
31. In March last year, RAFIQ asked Mr. Kodama,a lawyer to make a speech
about the process up to his death.
After the insident, no deportation has been implemented. However, a lot
of Pilipino and Thaiwere deported in summer and winter last year, using
chartered planes. It is said that although immigration staffs did not hold
Pilipino and Thai down by force, the staffs treated them inhumanely.
The case of this incident had dropped as a criminal case. But RAFIQ will
keep monitoring the immigration in order to prevent it from implementing
forcible and inhumane deportation.
- There successive deaths in Higashi Nihon Immigration Center.
On March 29 and 30, an Iranian and a Cameroonian detained in Higashi Nihon
Immigration Center(placed in Ushiku city, Ibaraki prefecture) died. The
immigration center says that the Iranian was choked with foods to death
and the Cameroonian’s death was not due to an accident.
But it is obvious based on the previous information supporting groups gathered
from the two of them and the other detainees at the visits in the center
that the Immigration center did not take them to hospital outside although
they had been in bad health.
There are also many problems on medical service in Nishi Nihon Immigration
Center that we have kept to visit to.
- Only weekdays comes doctor.
- Doctor mistakes medicine often.
- When inmates need to go hospital outside, they have to wait a long time
and they are put handcuffs outside.
- It tends that the longer inmates stay in the center their health get worse,
but doctor prescribes a large amount of medicineslike tranquilizer and
sleeping pills for the inmates having strong stesses due to the long detention.
In April 2005, a Vietnamese inmate fell down in toilet and was conveyed
to a hospital in a hurry, but he died from subarachnoid hemorrhage. He
had had less salty meals because of his high blood pressure. The immigration
must take full responsibility for the detainees with disease to keep their
health and life. If it can't, they must be released.
Please send your objection to Higashi Nihon Immigration center.
In March, 2014
- Preparation start towards World Refugee Day Assembly of 2014:
June 20 is World Refugee Day. RAFIQ has been taking a role of the secretariat
for the Assembly since 2006. We also have held the Assembly with the main
theme of “Necessity of New Refugee Recognition System” since 2009. We have
to note that Ad Hoc Committee about Refugee Recognition System as a Justice
Minister’s advisory body was established by Ministry of Justice in October
Then, this year’s Assembly must be very important in order to achieve the
better revision of the act and its implementation.
|Rough plan of the Assembly is as follows:
Time & Date: 12:30 to 4:30 pm on June 15(Sun)
Place: Osaka Municipal Housing Information Center
(Osaka Shiritsu Sumai Jyohou Center) Tel 06-6242-1160
Admission is 1,000yen (500yen for students, none for refugees)
1. Key note speech by Mr. Shogo Watanabe, Lawyer
2. Voices from refugees
3. Cases in overseas
4. Appeals from NGOs
5. 60 years anniversary for the convention of the rights for
the stateless people
- Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) published the opinion paper
of “Refugee Recognition System and the Status of Applicants for Refugee
JFBA released the above paper on February 21, and submitted it to the Minister
of Justice on February 28.
The main reason why this opinion paper was issued is that Ad Hoc Committee
regarding Refugee Recognition System, which was established in October
last year(2013), started its discussions this year.
In the opinion paper, there are 33 proposals including refugee recognition
in a newly established independent agency, revised criteria for credibility
assessment, disclosure of the reasons in case of refusal against refugee
status application, lawyer’s presence to applicants in the inspection,
(video) recording in the inspection, and so on.
We, RAFIQ, also welcome the opinion paper, because it was published based
on international law to protect refugees and refugee applicants in this
- Forum for Refugees Japan (FRJ) published its proposals of “Further Development
to Accept Refugees in Japan based on the Resettlement Program”.
As introduced in RAFIQ’s February Magazine, Japanese government decided
that the resettlement program is continued after next year, while its pilot
case of the program would be finished in this fiscal year.
Following with this decision by Japanese government, FRJ published its
proposals on February 18. The proposals state that the integrated supports
should be made in both stages of preparations before the resettled people
come to Japan and actual livelihood after training in Japan. It should
be reconsidered that in the pilot cases different agencies took responsibilities
in each stage.
Moreover, this publication proposes that all issues surrounding refugee
women and children are more discussed, and the right of work for refugees
in Japan should be disputed in order to improve and solve their current
vulnerable situation under lack of enough supports.
- US Department of State issued 2013 Japan Human Rights Report :
US Department of State issued Human Rights Reports in 2013 by country.
This report points out that due process is not secured for pretrial detainees
and others, while major Japanese newspapers have highlighted only concerns
about hate speeches among foreigners.
All Japanese people and government must recognize that international concern
have gradually risen on Japanese current policies related to detaining
asylum seekers regardless domestic interests. This is because that the
Japanese policies have obviously violated the principle of Non-refoulement
described in Refugee Convention.
The report also mentions the details about refugees in Japan in the end.
|Executive summary of the report is as follows:
Japan has a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy. National
lower-house elections in December 2012 resulted in the swearing-in of Shinzo
Abe, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, as prime minister. Upper house
elections on July 21 gave the ruling coalition a majority in that chamber.
The elections were considered free and fair. Civilian authorities maintained
effective control over the security forces. Security forces did not commit
human rights abuses.
The leading human rights problems included lack of due process for pretrial
detainees, prison and detention center conditions, and the exploitation
of children including the non-criminalization of child pornography.
Other persistent human rights concerns included societal discrimination
against ethnic minority group members, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
(LGBT) individuals, and persons with disabilities; detention of asylum
seekers; domestic violence and sexual harassment against women; and trafficking
in persons, including the exploitation of foreign trainee workers.
The government enforced laws prohibiting human rights abuses and prosecuted
officials who committed them.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 Japan
in February, 2014
- Ad Hoc Committee about Refugee Recognition System is ongoing:
This Ad Hoc Committee as Justice Minister's advisory body was established
last year by Ministry of Justice in order to achieve proper and quick decisions
of recognition for refugee status application.
The members of the Committee are told to be 9 persons from private sectors
and some observers from UNHCR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is told that in the first Committee held in November, 2013 several issues
were discussed; Implementation of the current recognition system, the details
of both recognized applicants and not recognized ones, and the obstacles
of recognition criteria.
Although we welcome the establishment of the Committee within the government,
we deeply recognize that the main problem to be solved in the Japanese
system of the refugee status recognition is not "quicker decision"
but "extremely low rate of refugee status".
In the year of 2012, among 2,198 applicants treated under the recognition
procedure the ones who got refugee statuses were only five, of which three
won in the trials, one got it in the reapplication, and only one got it
in the first application.
We must introduce the international criteria of refugee recognition, and
check and monitor the behaviors of the Immigration Bureau in order to pursue
the better goal for refuges that the current refugee law and regulations
should be revised.
- Refugee Resettlement as a pilot case will finish in the end of next March,
and be continued thereafter.:
Japan became the first refugee resettlement country in Asia in 2010 in
the sense that Japan received some Burma refugees living in refugee camps
in Thailand. But in 2012 as the third year of pilot case, there were no
refugees who wanted to resettle in Japan. This means there are many problems
to be solved
But the government decided to continue the resettlement policy as Cabinet
decision in January 14, 2014.
FRJ (Forum for Refugee Japan) is now making proposals to the government
decision. In collaboration with FRJ, RAFIQ will also try to solve the problems
which were exposed in the pilot case.
We believe that the supports for the resettled people will lead to the
ones for refugee status applicants.
- Proposals to Inspection Committee:
Immigration Inspection Committee members inspected the Nishi-Nihon Immigration
Center on January 29, 2014.
Immigration Inspection Committee was established in July 2010. The 20 members
were appointed by Ministry of Justice, whose names were not made public.
This Committee is the only one monitoring organization from the outside.
When we visited Nishi-Nihon Immigration Center on February 4, we obtained
the 24 proposals made by a detainee who submitted them to the Committee.
The proposals were placed in RAFIQ's home page written in Japanese.