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Japan to curb asylum seekers' right to work from Monday

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The move to tighten one of the developed world's toughest refugee systems, which accepted just 10 during the period from January to September last year, is a bid to clamp down on what Japan views as a system of back-door immigration.

a system of back-door immigration?? Just 10 people were accepted last year! How can you call that a system of back door immigration? As for the trainee visa BS, shouldn't they be clamping down on that??

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

a system of back-door immigration?? Just 10 people were accepted last year! How can you call that a system of back door immigration?

You clearly didn't read the article properly. The concern is that people are applying for asylum purely to use the right to work whilst their claim is being decided. It also sounds like even if your asylum claim is rejected, under the old rules you can just repeat/amend it the asylum claim and gain the right to work again.

It certainly seems reasonable to me that if someone is filing a second/third asylum claim, they be denied the right to work - at least if they're fed and housed in an immigration centre in the meantime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No worries. The “ refugee groups” can use the money they usually spend on lawyers and buy plane tickets to Canada and Germany. They are begging for these immigrants. Merkel and Trudeau will happily foist upon there own poor and middle class the responsibility to take care of these unfortunate people. Sadly, there is no room for them at their posh estates.

0 ( +17 / -17 )

Japan's immigration detention centers held 417,383 people in 2016

I had to read that twice. Still reading it now! Surely this is a typo?

That cannot be right. If it is, then that is truly horrifying.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

Asylum seekers with valid visas now receive renewable permits to work in Japan while their refugee claims are reviewed -- a system the government says has spurred people to seek asylum as a means of finding jobs.

It's the opposite, surely. Labour-starved Japanese companies want employees with no human rights they don't have to pay properly, give health care, pension or anything.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/japan-subaru/

Lots of companies making money by exploiting these asylum seekers....

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Japanese people (around 60% of those white collar ones,I ask )do not want refugees living and working free.

I would assume that the number would be higher for unemployed and blue collar.....

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Good on Japan. Japanese people look at the mess of western Europe with its "refugee" problems and they don't want that coming to these shores.

4 ( +19 / -15 )

Go to you tube.... search for foreigners in Japan and you'll find videos on how foreigners should act when in Japan. If you've lived in Japan or have been here often you will quickly learn that Japan is a very reserved place where social norms and following them is quite important. Already I've seen videos of Japanese reacting to a higher number of Tourists... many of their reactions are negative... not overly negative but somewhat. They also understand that the tourist money is helping the economy. Japan is still 97% Japanese and again, they are sensitive to obeying social / cultural norms. If immigration of any sort is greatly increased, you know the Japanese media will follow this population and report whether or not they are assimilating without a problem or causing problems. I worry about backlash if they cause problems and I think the Japanese Government also does. This is why the Japanese strictly manage immigration... because they know this homogeneous country could quickly anger if they feel their way of life to be threatened. Just my opinion.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Should let the UN determine if the asylum seeker has a valid claim. Japan's standard is too strict.

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

"We want to focus on responding appropriately to refugees that need protection," Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa told a news conference...."

As Japan's Schindler turns in his grave.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Should let the UN determine if the asylum seeker has a valid claim. Japan's standard is too strict.

Japan's stadard is exactly the same as every other signatory to the UN convention: a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, national origin, political opinion. The burden of proof rests with the applicant.

The only unique thing Japan does is actually enforce the convention. They do not give people the benefit of the doubt simply because it would be too expensive to deport them.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Lots of companies making money by exploiting these asylum seekers....

"exploit" is a bit harsh. these fake asylum seekers are only looking to make a quick buck, yen, while in japan. they, the asylum seekers, have been the ones that are exploiting the loophole in the immigration system.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

these fake asylum seekers 

How do you know they are fake? They aren't judged genuine or not until they have gone through the asylum process, you've just decided using your prejudices. They shouldn't bother with trials anymore, just have you deciding the verdict.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Wolfpack - no, do not send them to Canada. Trudeau is an idiot.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Japan's immigration detention centers held 417,383 people in 2016, the latest year for which data is available.

This figure is extremely concerning.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Shame on you Japan, get out of the Island mentality. Japanese were granted asylum in many countries during the war. It is your turn to return the favor to the world.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

@aly rustom, clamp down also on student visas. Safe to say that majority if not almost all on student visas without govt sponsored scholarships are just using it as a way to find work here. As students , they're allowed to work for just 3 or 4 hrs a day. Most abuse it and work two jobs at 4 hrs each without paying up to social security and proper taxes. I just remember in one obentoya I worked, when my job was over at 4AM(which wasn't even come to 8hrs), I was told to just go home after 4AM while a student in my same line was asked to gambatte kudasai 5 ji made. Surely the Hancho San was playing favorites since I was newer than the Vietnamese man in his early 20's. But she didn't even consider that I was paying up for my social security insurance and the right taxes and all things even my train fare deducted, my take home pay was just a bit over 10man. I don7t think it's the company's fault at all. Some people working in the company aren't aware of the impact of their playing favorites to the whole labor market. Quite unfair! I don7t feel anger towards any particular group per se. It's just that most are taking advantage of the humane side of the J People to the detriment of people like me who are ordinary workers to the point of making the labor market worse!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It beats me why anyone would try to seek asylum in Japan, knowing what's happening now. People in true danger should know there are other countries which are more welcoming and have a heart.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

How do you know they are fake? They aren't judged genuine or not until they have gone through the asylum process,

because i actually read, and processed, the article, unlike yourself.

About 60% of those asylum seekers would not qualify for work permits under the new system, said justice ministry official Tetsuya Hagioka,

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Japan's immigration detention centers held 417,383 people in 2016

Extremely unlikely. If that was indeed the case the UN, Amnesty International, and any number of domestic and foreign agencies would be running with this issue.

Japan has only three detention centres. Their total capacity is 1800. Even if these facilities were overloaded they could not begin to hold 417,383. Japan does not come close to having that kind of holding capacity in conventional prisons.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Just 10 people were accepted last year! How can you call that a system of back door immigration

europe is in a state of decay because of bush/bliar world intervention. but europe is experienced with economic migrants, crime, , shoplifting, human trafficking, far right groups, blah, blah, blah.

Japan has been a safe haven for 99.2% of japanese. a sudden influx of unemployed, non speaking immigrants who are accustomed to a daily life of murder, extortion, rape and bombings...we need time to integrate these poor people.

but, we have to help them, just make a plan and do preparation. recently i meet so many Napalese (nagoya), they study japanese better than me. they work so hard on their student visa, 100 hours a week, but, they try hard to integrate.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Quite complicated puzzle to solve.

I would ask - why use tax payer's money for those detention centers and feeding half million people a year?

Why not regulate foreign workers market and let private corporations pay for them?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Good on Japan. Japanese people look at the mess of western Europe with its "refugee" problems and they don't want that coming to these shores.

That’s one of the tragedies of this whole issue. Europe’s problems have hardened attitudes worldwide towards those genuinely seeking asylum.

It is certainly an overreaction, but genuine concerns are understandable.

Europe has become the poster boy of what not to do.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Extremely unlikely. If that was indeed the case the UN, Amnesty International, and any number of domestic and foreign agencies would be running with this issue.

Japan has only three detention centres. Their total capacity is 1800. Even if these facilities were overloaded they could not begin to hold 417,383. Japan does not come close to having that kind of holding capacity in conventional prisons.

I agree, maybe JT could look into the accuracy of the figure, which is several times higher than the population of ordinary prisoners in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

With its shrinking population and high barriers to blue-collar immigration, Japan is grappling with the tightest labor demand in decades.

The so-called jobs boom in Japan is a myth. The real reason why so many vacancies are unfilled is because most jobs are low paid so candidates are not interested, and most vacancies are out of scope for women, especially those with children. The reason for the many unfilled vacancies is due to Japanese companies remaining behind the times, not because there are not enough candidates.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Exactly, great move by the government to clamp down on these low paid migrant jobs.

Companies should be forced to pay reasonable salaries and once thats accomplished they will soon find out there are more than enough people to employ.

Under current system ( and tax legislation is partially at fault ) at certain pay bracket , working would result in receiving less actual money , hence people dont wont to work.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You clearly didn't read the article properly. The concern is that people are applying for asylum purely to use the right to work whilst their claim is being decided. It also sounds like even if your asylum claim is rejected, under the old rules you can just repeat/amend it the asylum claim and gain the right to work again.

Well if they are sooo concerned about BS claims to work, they should start to clamp down FIRST on the slave labor trainee visa. No?

It certainly seems reasonable to me that if someone is filing a second/third asylum claim, they be denied the right to work - at least if they're fed and housed in an immigration centre in the meantime.

Really? Ever been housed in an immigration asylum center?? They're not as cosy as you might think

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Omotenashi Japanese style. They only want you here for the short term, and are welcoming and friendly, as long as you don't overstay your visit.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Yubaru exactly! is there anything wrong with that? That should be the norm, or would you be fine me coming over to urs without invite, setting up my bed at your dining room and expect you to feed and cloth me...?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan should dictate it's own review process on who they allow in and the standards they accept or don't accept on.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan has been a safe haven for 99.2% of japanese. a sudden influx of unemployed, non speaking immigrants who are accustomed to a daily life of murder, extortion, rape and bombings...we need time to integrate these poor people.

Of course there has to be extreme vettting for the welfare of the country. And yes there needs to be time to allow them to integrate. But the key issue is to not slam the door in their faces.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Yubaru exactly! is there anything wrong with that? That should be the norm, or would you be fine me coming over to urs without invite, setting up my bed at your dining room and expect you to feed and cloth me...?

Seems to me you got something wrong here, they were "invited" the minute immigration allowed them into the country, so the rest of your comparison or analogy is off the mark. But for discussion sake here;

You are "welcome" to my home, so long as you are willing to work, pay your "taxes", do nothing illegal, and be a productive member of my household. The minute you don't follow those rules, your butt is out the door!

Oh and these folks are not requesting the government feed and cloth them, they are more than willing to work for that.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Very well said Yubaru! Very well said!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan applies its rule strictly, which makes what Japan is: rules that are not the sale if you cannot grasp and implement the Japanese style.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan applies its rule strictly, 

This is the joke of the day for me here folks! "Japan applies it's rules strictly" you say? If that was even close to the truth, then pray tell why these folks are allowed to live in limbo for years? Why all the bs around internship visa status, and I am JUST referring to the topic here.

which makes what Japan is: rules that are not the sale if you cannot grasp and implement the Japanese style.

To intimately "grasp" the Japanese style one must learn to implement the Japanese style of "damn near everything here is a grey area" until you or someone starts making too much noise or is a nuisance!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

They only want you here for the short term, and are welcoming and friendly, as long as you don't overstay your visit.

I've seen foreigners repeat this ad infinitum, but it's never jived with my experiences, with the exception of the odd drunk oyaji.

On the contrary, when opening up my businesses in Japan - which if you really didn't want foreigners, would be a good place to stop them from participation in society - I literally did not find a single rule that only related to foreigners.

For a personal anecdote, I recently had a Japanese company try to get me to quit my company and run theirs. Not as a figurehead or whatnot, but literally to run their company as CEO.

The one place I've felt complete and total discrimination as a foreigner is when renting - so many places won't rent to foreigners. But even then I've been able to talk my way into a couple of places, due to my ability to speak Japanese. The landlords said that the reason they say no to foreigners is that they are worried about communication issues, not because they don't want foreigners in the country.

I have no doubt that some Japanese people wish that none of us foreigners were here. But my two decades of experience tells me that by no means is it across the board, or even a significant portion of the population.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Luddite,

Most of them are fake. Most likely 5 of the 10 who were given refugee visa are Filipino who are good at pretending they don’t have relatives in the Philippines.I know several of them who were given asylum even though they are not from a war-torn country.They even own big houses in the Philippines.I just don’t get the stupidity of the Japanese Immigration office that they are so strict giving visa to people like us who are qualified to work and JLPT certified but very forgiving to those pretending they are refugees.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan's immigration detention centers held 417,383 people in 2016, the latest year for which data is available. The figure includes those detained more than once during the year, however.

Nope. A couple of other posters have raised questions about this figure. In 2014 Reuters reported, in an article about detainee deaths in custody, that the total number of detainees held in immigration centres throughout Japan was 13.600. globaldetentionproject.org - a detainee-sympathetic site - said that in 2012 the total number being held was 1,104. The total capacity available for holding refugees in 16 detention houses and three long-term facilities throughout Japan in that year was 4,010. And in 2017 the Japan Times reported that the main Tokyo facility had a capacity of only 560. So unless Japan has instituted a massive building program capable of holding hundreds of thousands of people since then - and I'm sure we would've heard about it if they had - I just don't believe it.

So where has this ridiculously inflated figure come from? Unless some detainees are being held multiple (and I mean multiple) times, it just doesn't make sense. And what would a country that held close to half a million people in detention look like, anyway? Probably a bit like Germany, 1939, or Russia under Stalin.

I don't think Japan is either of those things.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sorry. Second paragraph wasn't meant to be in quotations. Damn grey type...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

is a bid to clamp down on what Japan views as a system of back-door immigration. but unskilled migrant workers in the 10s thousands coming in working for the minimum wage to support J companies that refuse to raise wages of jobs Japanese citizens dont want to do, is perfectly fine!? another one of those many two faced masks Japan loves to wear whenever it suits them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

hmm.. Yubaru, you seem off the mark yourself here

Seems to me you got something wrong here, they were "invited" the minute immigration allowed them into the country, so the rest of your comparison or analogy is off the mark. But for discussion sake here;

You are "welcome" to my home, so long as you are willing to work, pay your "taxes", do nothing illegal, and be a productive member of my household. The minute you don't follow those rules, your butt is out the door!

Oh and these folks are not requesting the government feed and cloth them, they are more than willing to work for that.

They were not invited by anyone, they came as temp guests and instead of leaving on time, declared themselves refugees. , its as illegal as it goes so your point absolutely invalid.

Second point, yes by willing to work for less and get by, they are effectively encourage companies to pay less to the valid, legal residents both Japanese and Foreigners that have immigrated legally ,satisfying the legal conditions.

To clarify the example with your house, lets say you had a daughter or son , i just decided to invite myself for lunch and made their room available to myself to live at indefinitely..while kicking them out to the street. yea, I might be less expensive to maintain cause I dont need education.. but thats hardly an excuse.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

GoodlucktoyouToday 12:07 pm JST

recently i meet so many Napalese (nagoya), they study japanese better than me. they work so hard on their student visa, 100 hours a week, but, they try hard to integrate.

Great work! Nice comment! But then you also label these hard workers as:

unemployed, non speaking immigrants who are accustomed to a daily life of murder, extortion, rape and bombings

....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So where has this ridiculously inflated figure come from?

Maybe it includes all the people who arrived without proper documentation and are held briefly until deported.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To clarify the example with your house, lets say you had a daughter or son , i just decided to invite myself for lunch and made their room available to myself to live at indefinitely..while kicking them out to the street. yea, I might be less expensive to maintain cause I dont need education.. but thats hardly an excuse.

? Ludicrous analogy. There are zero Japanese daughters or sons being kicked out in the street to make way for refugee applicants and there are zero Japanese daughters or sons being kicked out of rental accomodation to make way for foreign immigrants.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Half a million people per year in these prisons.

IIRC There is a doctor available 3 times per week, on a single 4 hour shift at the main centers. Something similar at the mass prison camp in Ibaraki prefecture.

These places are gulags.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@willy. i know a Philippine who has lived here maybe 15 years without a visa. she has kids in Manilia but can never meet them. their kids live with grandparents in a gated community with a swimming pool, security guards and gardeners. she works in a daycare, and at night in a snack. its difficult. japanese need daycare workers and old men need hostesses. her kids will have a good life. but, she doesn't pay tax and is always sick or hungover.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If Japan wants these foreigners to work in the country, then let them out of holding. Otherwise send them home and stop costing the taxpayers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan needs people willing to work low pay jobs. Why bang these people up (more than 400,000 of them?!?) so that we tax -payers cover their food and board and small businesses, like restaurants and izakaya, continue to fail for lack of staff.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As Goodluck says. I have a Filipina friend in her late twenties who had to marry an old man for a Japanese visa and live out in the mountains with him. She works in a club at night and has another day job. Its no fun I can tell you. She wants to be able to travel home with a visa to see her family so she actually has to live a married existence with an old man. Count yourselves fortunate if you dont have to live such a life in order just to provide.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They were not invited by anyone, they came as temp guests and instead of leaving on time, declared themselves refugees. , its as illegal as it goes so your point absolutely invalid.

Did you notice I place the word "invited" in quotation marks? That was in reply to your previous comments.

Immigration allowed them into the country, that is fact, so they have been allowed to be here by the Japanese government, so your comparison to being an uninvited guest to my house is TOTALLY off the mark.

If Japan did want them, they should have sent them back when they got here. Claiming that they are refugees is not for you or me to declare as being illegal or otherwise.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan's immigration detention centers held 417,383 people in 2016, the latest year for which data is available. The figure includes those detained more than once during the year, however.

Staggering.

The move to tighten one of the developed world's toughest refugee systems, which accepted just 10 during the period from January to September last year, is a bid to clamp down on what Japan views as a system of back-door immigration.

Equally staggering.

and they are "tightening up"? 

Any thoughts as to where all these refuges come from?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WHAT “Rights”?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many commenters have noted that the figure of 417,383 people seems absurd.

I would place a heavy bet that the data in the original Japanese is 延べ 417383人.

延べ(nobe) is a nightmare for translators as it simply means "cumulative".

However it provides no clue as to how the cumulative calculation was conducted.

This is why the articles says "The figure includes those detained more than once during the year, however" .

This creates the impression that we are counting people who were detained, released and detained again and that the repeat detainees are a minority of the total. Neither of these implications is likely true.

Based on various translations of various reports I have done over the years, I would say it is far more likely that they have simply added the daily totals of people in detention on each night to create a yearly total (which is essentially meaningless).

If you divide 417,383 by 365 you get 1143, which is well within the 1,800 capacity mentioned by bullfighter, above, and a number that tallies more closely with common sense, given that there are fewer than 3 million foreigners in Japan in total, legal or illegal, and a very small population in detention.

Here is an example of how Nobe is often used.

Imagine a ski resort says it has 'Nobe' 100-thousand customers over the month. This will simply be a total from each day added together, so anyone staying at the resort and ski-ing over multiple days is counted as a separate individual on each day. There is no way to tell how many actual individuals visited the resort, nor the proportion of day trippers, weekenders or students on their winter break going virtually every day in the month.

This method of counting is favored when it is difficult to figure out who is a repeat visitor and who is not. It is also favored by organizers of events who want to inflate attendance for whatever reason.

It is of course completely inappropriate for a detention situation, even if the underlying 'logic' behind the repetition and accumulation is the same.

The figures were presumably released by the Immigration Department. Perhaps they have a vested interest in making the numbers sound large, both to frighten the population as to the scope of the immigrant scourge, and also to justify their budgets (although you would think the bean counters in the finance ministry are familiar with 'Nobe' shenanigans.

Given that the information in this comment will completely change how most readers interpret this article, I hope that JT could do me the favor of bumping it up the page. Cheers

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Or you could just edit the article to remove the reference that is misleading and unclear. It lower the quality of the page when a misunderstanding is the major source of reader comment. Cheers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

jpn_guy, the othe rexplanation I had considered was that any person (residents and attempted visitors included) booked into a detention center (such as being questioned at an airport), counted in the total, even if s/he has already been released , so there could be a total of 417,000 people who had been detained in 2016, but not that there were 417,000 detainees. Then we would be dividing 417,000 by the total number of non-national residents plus tens of millions of visitors, which would be a uch more reasonable figure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree that's possible, but 417,000 unique detainees still sounds like a huge number, which is why there has to be some repetition.

And the article specifically mentions the same individuals can be included in the total more than once.

This is exactly the type of note a translator adds to a translation when faced with the vague Japanese word 'nobe' (meaning cumulative total) accompanied by a ridiculous figure that bears no relation to reality.

If there were 417,000 people who had been detained in 2016, it would still mean that an average of more than 1,000 new individuals were being brought into detention (however defined) each day, which seems far in excess of the impression given by media coverage of the issue over the years.

Given that a lot of the discussion on this board is revolving around everyone's surprise over this total, maybe JT can confirm??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Could fit all the successful asylum seekers in that building.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan prepared to cope labor shortage. Factories promoted automations. No longer needed refugees?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Robots. At Consumer electronic Show in Vegas, there were Robot dancing shows. Refugees have to be fed. In USA, branches of Japanese corporations are. automated. Push button technicians are called unskilled laborers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Second point, yes by willing to work for less and get by, they are effectively encourage companies to pay less to the valid, legal residents both Japanese and Foreigners that have immigrated legally ,satisfying the legal conditions. yet the trainees that J companies can give to foreign workers , paying them at or close to the minimum wage. Why would companies want to raise wages for Japanese when they're allowed to import cheap labor disguised as trainees

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru, you seem to fail to understand the refugee process.

As you may know Japan is an island... yet none of these "refugees" come to Japan on boats or floats ( except maybe a few NK ones ) , the "refugees" Japan is dealing with are people that come UNINVITED, using tourist visas and return tickets., once the tourist visa expires, they either just stay and keep working until caught and then apply for refugee status , or apply for status review after visa expiry. Hopefully that answers to you how NONE of them are invited guests.

I do agree there is major flaw in immigration rule, flaw that is exploited both by companies seeking cheap labor and "humanitarian" ( fake mostly... its a business as well ) activists.

The flaw is that once they are under review, it can take years and they get to keep working meanwhile, I am totally for revising that process to double review standard where only full direct evidence of life danger can be accepted for refugee status review, all else have their funds forcefully used to buy airplane ticket , escorted to airplane and total re-entry ban ( 5-10 years until a tourist visit,because people do turn lives around )

That would remove the need for long immigration hold stay and will help national airlines.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

wtfjapan, yes I absolutely agree that this trainee system should be totally abolished.

lately ,going to convenient store in Tokyo, a Japanese or even English speaking staff is a hit or miss.. most speak only Chinese, Vietnamese or Indian... except few prelearned words... I think its madness.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

lately ,going to convenient store in Tokyo, a Japanese or even English speaking staff is a hit or miss.. most speak only Chinese, Vietnamese or Indian... except few prelearned words...

That hasn't been my experience at all. I've found a few like that, but for the most part they are able to chat and converse in Japanese with me (I don't speak Vietnamese and I only speak a tiny bit of Chinese). They need to be able to receive instructions from their bosses, which requires more than a few "prelearned words".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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