|2018 March February January
In March 2018 No.155
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Osumi, M., 13 February 2018, 'Japan saw record number of refugee applicants in 2017, Justice Ministry
says', The Japan Times.
- Wilson, T. et al., 13 February 2018, 'Japan took in 20 asylum seekers last year as nearly 20,000 applied', Reuters.
- Komatsu, R., 14 February 2018, 'Japan maintains tough stance on refugees, only 20 accepted in 2017, The
- 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.
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
- 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
In January 2018 No.153
- 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
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
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.
Keiko Tanaka and Yoshie Hirokawa
- 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:
- 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.
- Minami Funakoshi and Ami Miyazaki, 12 January 2018, 'Japan to curb asylum
seekers' right to work from Monday', Reuters
- Anonymous, 12 January 2018, 'Gov't to tighten refugee status rules to decrease
false applications, speed up process', The Mainichi
- Ryujiro Komatsu, 12 January 2018, 'Japan to tighten refugee process, clamp
down on work eligibility', The Asahi Shimbun