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  General News about Refugees 2018

2018  March  February  January

In March 2018 No.155
  1. RAFIQ agreed with the claim coordinated by Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) against deportation of 47 Vietnamese by charter aircraft

    Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice, deported47 Vietnamese to Vietnam by charter aircraft on 8 February. They included 40 men and women who were deported against their will. Four stayed in Japan more than 15 years (the longest one stayed in Japan for 21 years and 5 months), 12 had to leave their family behind, 24 were asylum seekers, and two were people underage. Details of the protest can be found in SMS's website (in Japanese).

In February 2018 No.154
  1. RAFIQ participated in One World Festival on 3-4 February

    RAFIQ set up a booth at One World Festival held in Osaka-shi Kita-kumin Center and Ogimachi Park on 3-4 February again this year. GLORRY (Glocal Links of Refugees and RAFIQ Youths) conducted a workshop on refugee issues 'If you became a refugee, ...' (from leaving your country to being detained in the Immigration Bureau in Japan) there.

    Many NGOs, NPOs, local governments, companies, and international organizations participate in the festival to introduce their activities to visitors, to promote cross-cultural exchange, and to develop relations with other organizations. RAFIQ has set up a booth at the festival every year since 2008.

    This year many people visited our booth, and staff in charge constantly talked with visitors. The GLORRY workshop was very popular. We had a capacity for 40 persons, and we were pleased to see the room was full.

    We prepared a new RAFIQ flyer prior to the festival, and we handed out 500 copies there. The festival resulted in success for us. Thanks to those who came to the RAFIQ booth and participated in the activities.

  2. More than 19,000 asylum applications in 2017, but only 20 were successful

    On 13 February the Justice Ministry announced preliminary figures regarding refugee status application. Japan received a record nearly 20,000 asylum applications in 2017, but only 20 were granted refugee status. The approval rate of 0.1% is far too low by world standards. We care about refugees who fled from their own country, finally arrived, but found themselves in no hope in Japan.

    Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) released critical comments on the issue, "Are most of asylum seekers in Japan 'fake refugees'? Questioning the reasonability of recognizing only 20 people as refugees in one year", and we fully support the comments.

    More detailed figures are usually announced by the end of March.

  3. Responses from the media to the announcement by the Ministry of Justice regarding tightening refugee process and refugee status rules

    As reported in RAFIQ Magazine (No. 153), the Ministry of Justice limited the right to work of refugee applicants from 15 January. We would see more serious influence later, but we have already heard a few problems. Prior to the change the Immigration Bureau received all applications for refugee status at an immigration counter, but they now seem to reject some applications at the counter. We do not know why, but this would be problematic. Moreover, an applicant is not informed why his/her application is rejected at the counter, and into which category (A, B, C or D) their application falls.
    • Category A: applicants with a good chance of being accepted
    • Category B: applicants who are clearly not refugees
    • Category C: applicants who have re-submitted an application giving the same reason with their first application
    • Category D: all other applicants
    We are pleased to see some media published critical articles and editorials on the change. One example is a late-night TV program by NHK. They introduced the issue, and even discussed how system to grant asylum should function in Japan.

In January 2018 No.153
  1. New Year's greetings from RAFIQ coleaders

    To RAFIQ Magazine readers,
    We would like to take this occasion to wish you a Happy New Year.
    We received Christmas cards and New Year's greeting cards from refugees we had supported. They included one from an immigration detainee. Some of them were learning Japanese and wrote their message in Japanese with beautiful illustrations.

    In 2017, among refugees RAFIQ had supported one was given an official refugee status in October, and another one was granted a special permission for residence on humanitarian grounds in June. However, among lawsuits in the court seeking revocation of the immigration decision, one lost a case in the Osaka High Court and another one lost a case in the Osaka District Court.

    Some immigration detainees RAFIQ had supported applied for a provisional release, but their applications were rejected in 2017 except for one approved on 28 December. As a large amount of guaranty money was required, it took some time for him to be released.

    The number of applicants for asylum in Japan has been increasing. The government tries to make already-difficult circumstances for refugee applicants even more difficult. Introducing a tougher restriction on work is an example.

    We believe that the protection of refugee applicants and more prompt recognitions of those who fall into the category of refugees under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugee are important as Japan's humanitarian assistance.

    Refugees are people who seek peace and safe living environments for their family. We ourselves should promote peace and safe living environments in our surroundings, too.

    We value your donation money and goods we receive, and carefully use them. Thank you for your continuous support in 2018.

    RAFIQ coleaders,
    Keiko Tanaka and Yoshie Hirokawa

  2. Between January and September 2017, there were 14,043 refugee applications in Japan, but only 10 received refugee status: None from UNHCR top five countries of origin

    Some related articles are:

  3. The Ministry of Justice: From 15 January the right to work of refugee applicants is to be limited

    Some related articles are:
    Japan Lawyers Network for Refugees (JLNR) issued a statement concerning this policy change announced by the Ministry of Justice, and required its review. RAFIQ fully support the statement.


RAFIQ JAPAN (The Network aiming at the Coexistence with the Refugees in Japan)
Nanmin-House 4-9-13 HigashiMikuni Yodogawa-ku Osaka-shi, 532-0002
TEL:06-6335-4440 / mailto:

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