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Japanese court throws out Syrians' bid to overturn refugee ruling

37 Comments
By Thomas Wilson

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If a Kurd from Syria does not qualify for refugee status, there is no hope.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Once again the Japanese show that even after the passage of 73 years since they surrendered they are still not bona fide members of the "international community". Japanese "exceptionalism" is just as loathsome as the US version, and it all boils down to there not being any tangible profit in playing "the Good Samaritan".

2 ( +15 / -13 )

most of Syria is not getting worse now that the government is gaining control. But turkeys invasion and genocide in Syria on the border would definitely make Kurds eligible.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Immigration and asylum are sensitive subjects in Japan, where many pride themselves on cultural and ethnic homogeneity even amid a shrinking population and the worst labour shortage since the 1970s.

Me thinks that the people here really have no idea what they are talking about when they make comments like this. It's due to an education system that does not educate them about their own roots.

>

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I am genuinely curious, why would a Syrian (or pretty much any refugee from a non-Asian country) even want to go to Japan for asylum? I mean, there are all sorts of different communities in the US and Europe where refugees from all over would be able to find a place to be accepted and be able to get assistance, it seems odd to me to try to live in Japan where you would mostly be an outsider, even if refugee status was easier to attain.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

I think the idea of being a "refugee" itself goes very much against Japanese mentality. As you all well know, the Japanese are not an overly compassionate people. They believe that you sleep in the bed you make no matter what. That you don't give up, that you should die fighting. And I would have to agree with them. If you're an able bodied person, male or female, instead of running away you should stay and fight. The Japanese see it that way because the idea of running away and giving up on the country they love would be unbearable. In a country like the USA... where most of its initial inhabitants from Europe were basically Religious refugees... it is a different story. Those people and many like them over the last 5 centuries have basically gone to Europe, the Americas, Australia or New Zealand... along with South Africa. Things are changing... and rightfully so. As basic social welfare has increased around the world, along with ageing modern economies, one can ill afford to continue to take in refugees in abundance.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

@ extanker

me too... surely they know Japan'e record on refugees.... go figure!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

or "Japan's"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They believe that you sleep in the bed you make no matter what. That you don't give up, that you should die fighting. And I would have to agree with them. If you're an able bodied person, male or female, instead of running away you should stay and fight. The Japanese see it that way because the idea of running away and giving up on the country they love would be unbearable

You overly generalize, stereotype, romance the history, culture and people, lump them up into something they are typically speaking NOT.

If the Japanese as you euphemistically state "die fighting" , why are there so many social problems due to people "running away" among other things?

If they "stay and fight", why do so many thousands every year commit suicide? (That's the misplaced belief in taking responsibility not the stay and fight like you think.)

The Japanese see it that way because the idea of running away and giving up on the country they love would be unbearable

How old are you? Really this mentality died out in the general public following WWII, the "banzai" attacks too!

As an average Japanese person today if they love their country AND would they be willing to die for it! I think you will find that your supposition here is 100% off the mark!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

(Second last paragraph!) Ask an average Japanese person today.......

Really be nice to have an "edit" button, save on wasted space posts like this!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Don’t agree with stereotyping Japanese, but I knew some 3rd generation Koreans who get discriminated against everyday. Being non speaking syrianese with no understanding of Japanese culture, no chance of a job paying over ¥300, Maybe japan is not a good choice.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians fled and entered into Europe and Japan is worried about just two of them? Some aspects will never change.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

They're not worried about anything.

These applicants' application process has been rubber stamped (Or should that be wood stamped) with the outcomes before the results were ever released to them. Pretty much everyone trying to apply for refugee status or special residence as a refugee/asylum seeker is rejected. Then they're snatched up by immigration and locked in a cell.

Watch the news for the mysterious disappearance of this guy after immigration locks him up then forcibly deports him back to Syria.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

At least the Japanese have the wits to understand that they don't owe the whole damn world a living.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

It’s for the best they were rejected, they would struggle in Japan.

The good news is they sound like genuine refugees! So they should be easily accepted in almost any other country. Why they chose Japan in the first place is a mystery

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Well done Japan!

This is called proper refugee claim investigation.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

If they come to Japan all the way from Syria via airplane with their family left in Syria, they're not refugees.  There are many countries between Syria and Japan. They shouldn't be so picky.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

tinawatanabe

If they come to Japan all the way from Syria via airplane with their family left in Syria, they're not refugees. There are many countries between Syria and Japan. They shouldn't be so picky.

You are incorrect, the method of arrival and entering a country whether by commercial flight, boat/ship or even walking does not indicate if the person is a refugee and the conditions for that are set by international treaties of which Japan is a signature. The person just needs to claim refugee status on arrival. Their cases must then be investigated.

The fact there are other countries between Syria and Japan is irrelevant to refugee status. They don't need to go to the closest country which probably would be Turkey where in fact hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fled to.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

This is called proper refugee claim investigation.

Here, the burden of proof is on the petitioner and not the courts.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Of COURSE they denied them! The government would rather watch Japan wither and die than risk it changing slightly through increased foreign presence and multiculturalism. No doubt after this ruling draws the rightful ire it should, Abe will throw more money at it and say Japan is doing its part, then turn around and talk about the aging population problem, depopulation of small towns and the need to rejuvenate, and how we must increase taxes due to the aforementioned.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Good for Japan.  A country has a right to determine who they let in.  We may not agree with it, but it is their right.  Fully understand the changing population demographics in Japan with the aging and decreasing population, but if they want to not grant refugee status, then it is their right, just like in America we can determine who can stay and who can't, or in any other country that has the right to determine who can stay.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The good news is they sound like genuine refugees! So they should be easily accepted in almost any other country. 

If they are genuine refugees Japan would be obliged to accept them as refugees under the international conventions. It couldnt be that Japan selectively chooses which conventions to adhere to and which it does not. Hague convention springs to mind as the other obvious one.

Anyway...as someone already mentioned.. if Kurds from Syria don,t qualify as refugees with whats going on over in Syria...then no one does.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The good news is they sound like genuine refugees! So they should be easily accepted in almost any other country. 

If they are genuine refugees Japan would be obliged to accept them as refugees under the international conventions. It couldnt be that Japan selectively chooses which conventions to adhere to and which it does not. Hague convention springs to mind as the other obvious one.

Anyway...as someone already mentioned.. if Kurds from Syria don,t qualify as refugees with whats going on over in Syria...then no one does.

0( +0 / -0 )

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan adheres perfectly to refugee laws, just because one says they are refugee doesnt mean its true.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Asylum seekers should apply overseas then come here, otherwise they will be locked up and deported.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Who is an asylum seeker?

When people flee their own country and seek sanctuary in another country, they apply for asylum – the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance. An asylum seeker must demonstrate that his or her fear of persecution in his or her home country is well-founded. 

Who is a refugee?

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

More than half of all refugees worldwide come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.

The 1951 Geneva Convention is the main international instrument of refugee law. The Convention clearly spells out who a refugee is and the kind of legal protection, other assistance and social rights he or she should receive from the countries who have signed the document.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Alex Einz: "Japan adheres perfectly to refugee laws, just because one says they are refugee doesnt mean its true."

So, these people, who have fled war-torn Syria, are not refugees? Please specify. Japan has a reputation for turning people away it KNOWS are in danger, then denying they do so. They did this with Kurdish refugees, sending them back to Turkey after the Turkish government gave Japanese officials an -- of course honest -- wined and dined tour and promised they "do nothing wrong". Those people were not heard from again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tinawatanabe: "There are many countries between Syria and Japan. They shouldn't be so picky."

It's JAPAN that should not be so picky. They are DESPERATE for this country to be repopulated, but it cannot be done domestically. So, they have extended and loosened visa regulations for white-collar and "preferable" foreign workers, and of course continue to look other way on labor trafficking in the blue collar occupations, but don't want refugees from ANY country, while proclaiming that it does its part on the world stage. These people choose Japan because they see it as a beacon of light and hope, with potential for a good life, but Japan dashes the light out and shows that it was a bad choice, with very likely fatal results for the people sent back to the countries they fled. Yes, there are MANY countries between them and Japan, but they are still refugees despite the flight pattern or countries they transfer at to get here, and you should be honoured they have chosen Japan, and proud for a change of the right thing to be proud of (not right-wing pride), that Japan accepts and helps people. Instead, you get to be ashamed at Japan's abysmal rights' record, and in your case, to deflect from said abysmal record.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I still don't understand why they would choose to skip over a number of countries that are closer to them, that have much better odds of accepting them and where they would have better chances of being socially accepted, and instead choose to make the journey to Japan. It really seems like a conscious choice, rather than one of a desperate war refugee.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There's a large Muslim community of about 100,000 with people from Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran. There are many mosques and halal shops and communities. There's a tolerance and acceptance of the Islamic religion.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

(still wishing for an 'edit' button)

It just doesn't seem smart for someone literally fleeing for their lives to choose a country like Japan as a destination when there are so many other more sensible options.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@smithinjapan Syria is not at war mostly, they need to go back to rebuild aleppo and other areas. That is a FACT.

Japan is acting very sensibly and correct.

I dont always applaud JP gov but they are spot on with immigration issue!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

zichi - Who is an asylum seeker?

I find it odd that these two "asylum seekers" bypassed so many other nations in order to force their way into Japan. Japan was correct in turning down their applications. And Japan was right to toss out their appeal.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

arrestpaul

Where in the Geneva Conventions on asylum and refugees does it state that a person must seek asylum in the nearest country. Syrians have flown to Canada bypassing many countries on the way and given asylum and refugee status without any major problems and then also allowed to bring in their other family members.

I dont always applaud JP gov but they are spot on with immigration issue!

Asylum, refugees are not the same as immigration.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan places its citizens first, which is how it should be for any country. There are enough people in need here and they should be taken care well before any refugees.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a shock for the forum‘s arbiters not being able to understand the political and social realities in the world and the relation to the court’s decision.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every nation has the right to its own sovereignty and to consider its own people first, and Japan has so many domestic needs that take priority over those of foreigners. Japan is very generous in providing international aid -- this is more than enough in terms of being a contributing member of the international community.

Japan has been generally successful being very selective in determining who is allowed in the country and should not change due to outside pressure. The problems with pseudo-refugee immigrants has been well documented in other countries. When Japan kowtows to outside pressure and allows foreign powers to dictate its immigration policies, it will be the beginning of the end.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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