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Japan's refugee balancing act: Door open for Ukrainians, but not many others

24 Comments
By Elaine Lies

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24 Comments
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I wish them well but can easily understand why black and brown skinned "refugees" may be asking questions.

The answer is that Japan expects that nearly all the Ukrainians will be temporary, returning home or move to a Western country once the war situation improves, whereas Asians, Africans, Middle Easterners, etc. would have a far greater tendency of staying in Japan forever.

11 ( +23 / -12 )

Yep. Japan only wants white refugees.

Yep. Really pathetic that some desperately try to bring race into things.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Ukrainians can go easily and stay in Poland, they have all required help to stay and live there. Choosing Japan is pure economic reason.

Complete rubbish.

If you'd done any research. You'd find that many of the Ukrainian evacuees in Japan have family connections in Japan. Furthermore, Poland is doing far more than anywhere else to help these innocent people. Why should they be expected to do it all, alone?

The Japanese people on the whole have been extremely welcoming and generous as the lady in this story asserts.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Naturally.

The whole world is aware of the war in Ukraine.

No one is aware of any war in Pakistan, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and all the other countries these "refugees" pour from.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The well of government charity will dry up before long. Once the conflict is not flavour-of-the-month and the west has moved onto the next war, other priorities will take over - ask the Afghans.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Yep. Japan only wants white refugees.

I think it's more the fact that the war in Ukraine is high profile and they want to seem as though they are doing their bit to other G7 nations.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Reading some of the comments, i do really hope people will not have to experience the situation that they need to flea away for war.

We all know Japan is not open for people and refugees but making awful comments does not change anything. Be active in politics and see if you can do better or can change the Japanese government mindset.

If refugees are in real need of help than support should be given but there are also economic refugees and criminals trying to enter countries.

Have a look to Europe, always open to help refugees but many not war related refugees are also entering. In my opinion Europe has lost control and much crimes and unsafe communities are growing day by day.

Think about if countries like Japan open the borders how much of Japan will disappear. And this is not only about Japan, but every country which has their own culture, norm and values. I do not want countries to end up like Europe or america.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Isn’t this great?….and I can’t get in providing for MYSELF and have children from two different marriages who reside in Japan.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The sad and tragic truth is no one wants "scary" African refugees. Not just Japan but also Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden, etc.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I don't see why this is a big deal!

Isn't this the same as the white countries did?

23,000 Syrians into Canada, 200,000 Ukrainian, this repeats in the rest of the western countries.

The USA: 12,000 Syrian, 270,000 Ukrainian.

So why pick on Japan for just being like the rest of the G7.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is still applying visa to Ukraine. Just accepting a few desperate people isn’t going far enough. Visa should be removed and especially families with children, elderly and women should be accepted without many questions. Obviously, there is risk to people’s lives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess this article is about who you are and where you come from and that's who Japan will support.

Ex. 1. Japan last year accepted just 202 refugees, and is almost certain to pass a bill in the coming weeks that would effectively make it easier to deport asylum seekers who apply for the status multiple times. A version of the bill had been withdrawn in 2021 after a Sri Lankan woman's death in an immigration detention centre sparked international outcry.

Ex. 2 The Tokyo ward where 75-year-old Bibko resides provides basic furnishings, WiFi and a smartphone. Private charity Nippon Foundation gave her 1 million yen - an annual grant it extends exclusively to Ukrainian evacuees.

Ex. 3 Olena, an evacuee who came to Japan with her son, described a similar experience.

"I was really surprised and happy," the 50-year-old said, declining to give her surname.

Ex. 4 On a recent visit to JAR's office, an agitated young African man waiting to be seen called out to Niijima that he was hungry and needed of money. The office is stocked with donated food and clothing for such cash-strapped refugees.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There are generally far more suitable places for Ukrainian refugees than Japan. This is just Japanese tokenism to show "they are doing their bit."

I wish them well but can easily understand why black and brown skinned "refugees" may be asking questions.

-2 ( +23 / -25 )

Only those wit connections must have been able to get visa to Japan.

2300 is a drop in the ocean, and those coming are surely educated in comparuson of most other foreign countries such called refugees.

Last, Ukraine was invaded, it is not civil war.

So only few people could call themselves true refugees in fact.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan is not the place to seek asylum. Just geographically speaking, it's too far out of the way and with the culture and society being what it is, it's too tricky to assimilate, though not for the lack of trying. I'm honestly surprised that there are any Ukrainian refugees in Japan. It feels more like a publicity stunt than anything else considering Japan's abysmal refugee intake rate.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Dont worry. Many Ukrainians will return because the culture, climate, language, food everythings just too different and not everyone can live Japanese all their lives. Even me, who have been in love with Japan, its culture, language, nature and style, etc etc dont see myself for staying in Japan for more than few years. Also i think many Ukrainians try to work nevertheless. Its not like they came to drink sake and have fun all day long.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Ukrainians get treated well but others don’t.

For those foreigners living in Japan and falling on hard luck and trying to do the correct thing , what happens?

They are penalized.

The recent case of Wishma Sandamali

is a prime example of this.

How do Japanese politicians feel about those in need?

Look to the the recent remarks from Mizuho Umemura concerning Wishma Sandamali who passed away under the protection of the Japanese government.

Mizuho Umemura is a prime example of the continued racist attitudes held in Japan.

Unfortunately, she is far from being alone in her warped beliefs!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

2300 out of the 8.2 million who have left because of the war. A token indeed.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Ukrainians can go easily and stay in Poland, they have all required help to stay and live there. Choosing Japan is pure economic reason.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

The Tokyo ward where 75-year-old Bibko resides provides basic furnishings, WiFi and a smartphone. Private charity Nippon Foundation gave her 1 million yen - an annual grant it extends exclusively to Ukrainian evacuees.

Going for max cynicism here but the reason this largess is not extended to refugees from other nations or unfortunate Japanese citizens is the neediness of the LDP to appear important on the world stage by helping out the blonde refugees of a European conflict not seen in decades.

It shows the shallowness of the one party LDP government.

-6 ( +15 / -21 )

The theme of the G7 for Japan as hosts is spreading democracy and freedom

That is a good theme, but I doubt they will even mention the word freedom during meeting.

 refugee-status seekers can stay for five years each time they apply, but cannot work

How are they supposed to make a living during 5 years without work?

young African man waiting to be seen called out to Niijima that he was hungry and needed of money

Starving people from the global south... Is that what Japanese hospitality boils down to?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

There are generally far more suitable places for Ukrainian refugees than Japan. This is just Japanese tokenism to show "they are doing their bit."

I wish them well but can easily understand why black and brown skinned "refugees" may be asking questions.

Yep. Japan only wants white refugees.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

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