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In May 2018 No.157
  1. .Come and join us at the World Refugee Day in Kansai
    A leaflet of an event on 24 June "World Refugee Day 2018 in Kansai" is available now

    datalis:

    This event is supported by contributions, fees to be collected on the day, and donations. We appreciate your cooperation.
    contributions, donations 500yen / single unit, 1,000yen / Group rates (any amount of either unit will be welcomed)
    Japan Post Bank (Yucho Bank) Branch Number : 408
    Futsu Account number : 7100544
    Account name : Sekai Nanmin No Hi Jikko Iinkai (World Refugee Day Executive Committee)

    -- An Invitation for The World Refugee Day in Kansai 2018 --

    Date : 24 June ( Sun) 11:30 - 16:30 ( Assembly starts 12:30 )
    Venue : Osaka Municipal Housing Information Center Access
    Fee : general 1000yen, student 500yen

    "As the same human beings sharing the same planet and time"
    Every year, June 20 marks the United Nations' (UN) World Refugee Day.
    Around that time, many events for raising awareness of refugee issues take place across the world. In Osaka we also organize an annual assembly.
    What would you do, if you encountered asylum seekers who had fled from an armed conflict or persecution? Why don't we learn more about refugees? Is there anything we can do for them?

    Theme of this year : Why don't we break down our inner walls?
    Program:
    • Introduction "Refugees in Japan"
    • Keynote address " Refugees in Japan and the world"
      Mr. Toshitsuki Kawauchi, Senior Protection Officer, the UNHCR Representation in Japan
    • Lecture "My experience in reporting ‘walls in Japan and the world'"
      Mr. Takuya Asakura, Asahi Shimbun
    • "Refugees are here in Japan!" - introducing refugees in Japan by Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)
    • Why don't we break walls in society? - Cases in Nagoya, Door to Asylum Nagoya
    • Why don't we break walls in economy? -Charity party to support refugees
    • Why don't we break walls in ourselves? - Students' efforts
    • Why don't we break walls in ourselves? - RAFIQ's efforts in Kansai
    • Why don't we break walls in the current system? - Changes in the operation of Japanese system to grant asylum
    • Photo Exhibition : Where do refugees come from ?
    • Booth of NGO's supporting refugees

  2. Other associated events on the World Refugee Day

    Every year, many events are held around the world sometime around 20 June, the World Refugee Day. RAFIQ has also been holding the assembly from 2006, regarding the refugee and the issue of refugee acceptance in Japan.
    • Interactive Peace Salon "Peace beyond the border Lecture, exhibition and cafe"
      Date: 9 June ( Sat ) 10:00 -17:00
      Venue: Takatsuki City Hall 207 (Back of Takatsuki contemporary theatre)
      RAFIQ will exhibit our booth.

    • Book Club"Let's talk about the refugee issue" (reservation required)
      Date: 15 June ( Fri ) 18:30 - 20:00
      Venue: Machi Library @ Morinomiya Q's Mall
      RAFIQ will be a co-organizer.

    • FNS Charity Campaign "A report of on-the-ground research - Children of Rohingya refugees" by Ms. Akiko Yamanaka (Fuji TV reporter)
      Date: 16 June (Sat)
      Venue: Kansai TV Ogimachi Square 1F
      RAFIQ will exhibit our booth.

    • Refugee Movie Screenings
      Date: 16 June (Sat), 17 (Sun) 15:00 -, 18:00 -
      Venue: on 16 June Nanmin House (reservation required), 17 June Tengeki Kinematoron

    • Nanmin Cafe special "My experience of supporting refugees in Finland"
      Date: 19 June ( Tue ) 19:00 -21:00
      Venue: Shuka (Osaka Nakasakicho)

  3. Meeting with Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center (Japan Association for Refugees)

    On 9 May, JAR (Japan Association for Refugees) released the summary of a meeting with Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center. Groups and 13 individuals who regularly visit the center to see immigration detainees attended the meeting with some politicians. Some findings include:
    1. The number of detainees in the facilities nationwide has increased, and the detention is prolonged
    2. Refugee applicants detained in the facility are increasing nationwide
    3. The number of cases of medical treatment outside the facility is decreasing
    4. The number of the detainees and budget has both increased but the number of staffs has not.

    Tomo Yamguchi, 21 May, No. of foreign nationals detained at immigration facilities for over 6 months on rise, The Mainichi

  4. Recording false statement, Suicide issue, is there correct treatment at the immigration bureau?

    Some recent incidents at Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau and Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center (Ushiku, Ibaraki) suggest inhuman treatment of detainees at immigration centers. The incidents include the ignorance and disrespect of detainees' claims of ill-health and a medical problem; a false report by immigration staff regarding a detainee's claim; a discrepancy between a staff diary and a report; and a suicide.

    Indian suicide case at an Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center
    On 13 April, an Indian man died at Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center. He was found collapsed in the shower room with the towel being wrapped around his neck, and he died at the hospital. It appears that he committed a suicide because his application for provisional release had been denied. He applied for the refugee status within 3 days after he entered Japan. It is believed that he had been detained for a deportation after the application had been denied. But even if an application is denied, a deportation is not allowed by the principal of non-refoulement.

    Thomas Wilson 13 April, 2018 Indian man dies in Japanese immigration detention center in apparent suicide, Reuters

    Did the immigration bureau falsify details? Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau altered the documents?

    Regarding a case in June 2017 that a Turkish Kurd man caused peritonitis because the bureau didn't allow him a treatment at the hospital after his appendicitis surgery. Although immigration officials neglected him for more than a month after verbally abusing him in response to his complaints, they stated falsely on their diary that he complained just two days before they took him to the hospital. Also, it turned out that the contents written in their diary and in a report which was submitted to their boss were different.
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In April 2018 No.156
  1. Justice Ministry announced the confirmed figures regarding refugee applications

    On 21 March, the Ministry of Justice, Japan, announced the confirmed figures concerning refugee applications in Japan in 2017. A record-high 19,628 people applied for refugee status. Among them only 20 – mainly from Egypt, Syria and Afghanistan - were given refugee status. Further 45 individuals were allowed to stay in Japan based on humanitarian grounds.
    In addition to numerical data such as the number of applications for refugee recognition by nationality, status of residence, sex and age groups, the number of appeals, and the status of processing, examples of the claims in the refugee recognition applications are listed. They are divided into two categories: main claims of the recognized refugees; and, those of the non-recognized applicants.
    A press release in English is available from the internet.
    Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice, Japan, March 2018, "Number of applicants recognized as refugees in 2017", Press Release

    The number of unprocessed applications including unprocessed appeals exceeded 40,000. Moreover, the government changed the operation for the worse from 2018, and almost all applications for refugee recognition and appeals were rejected.

    After the announcement by the Ministry of Justice, the issue was discussed at committee meetings of the Diet. Videos in Japanese can be seen from internet deliberation relay.

    Links to media reports and statements released by refugee supporting organizations on the issue are available in Japanese from the RAFIQ website.

  2. .World Refugee Day 2018 West Japan Assembly

    The outline of the assembly is almost finalized as below. Please put the event into your schedule.
    • Theme: Why don't we break down our inner walls?
    • Estimated turnout: 180
    • Date: Sunday, 24 June 2018
    • Time: 11:30-16:30, The assembly program will start at 12:30.
    • Venue: Osaka Municipal Housing Information Center

    Program (to be confirmed)
    • Introduction: "Refugee issues in Japan"
    • Keynote address: "Refugees in Japan and in the world"
      Mr. Toshitsuki Kawauchi, Senior Protection Officer, the UNHCR Representation in Japan
    • Lecture: "My experience in reporting ‘walls' in the world"
      Mr. Takuya Asakura, Asahi Shimbun
    • "Refugees are here in Japan!" – Introducing refugees in Japan by Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)
    • Why don't we break walls in society? – cases in Nagoya, Door to Asylum Nagoya
    • Why don't we break walls in economy? – Charity Party to support refugees
    • Why don't we break walls in ourselves? – Students' efforts
    • Why don't we break walls in ourselves? – RAFIQ's efforts in Kansai
    • Why don't we break walls in the current system? – Changes in the operation of Japanese system to grant asylum
    • Photo Exhibition: Where do refugees come from?
    • Booths of NGOs supporting refugees

  3. Syrian refugees lost the case

    Tokyo District Court rejected a lawsuit filed by Syrian asylum seekers, and confirmed the Immigration Bureau's decision not to grant them refugee status.

    Very serious conditions in Syria are well-known in the world. Western countries grant refugee status to asylum seekers from Syria with overwhelming probability, for example, Germany (87%), UK (91%), USA (94%), and Canada (96%) (UNHCR, 2014). Only a few are granted refugee status in Japan, though some others are allowed to stay in Japan based on humanitarian grounds. We should note the difference between two statuses. Refugee status, which is recognized internationally, is very important. Resident status based on humanitarian grounds gives asylum seekers only limited right.

  4. New fridge has come to Nanmin House!

    RAFIQ purchased a new fridge and it is finally here in Nanmin House. Now we have enough space to stock sheltered refugees' food and the food donated regularly from Food Bank.

    We received donations not only from Japan, but also from the USA. A Japanese student studying abroad at an American university helped RAFIQ as a summer intern in 2017. After returning to the USA, he started a fundraising campaign to buy a new fridge and sent collected money to RAFIQ.
    Fundraising campaign by Eiji Toda, "Support my friends (refugees) in Japan"

    We thank everyone for their support. As the number of people who need our help has been increasing, we should extend assistance. Your donation to the funding for RAFIQ activities are always appreciated and welcome
    !
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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).
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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.
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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.

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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: rafiqtomodati@yahoo.co.jp

http://rafiq.jp/eng/

Copyright of all contents (except for the part) will belong to their relationship and their RAFIQ.