politics

Critics denounce Japan asylum reform as human rights violation

15 Comments
By Sakura Murakami

A planned reform of Japan's asylum law that would make it easier to deport failed applicants for refugee status drew fierce criticism on Thursday from lawyers, lawmakers and human rights groups who said it ran counter to international norms.

The government says the proposed reform, which would mean asylum seekers could be deported after a third failed application, will solve the problem of long detentions of asylum seekers while they re-apply, or appeal against a rejection.

As things stand, deportation orders are suspended while new applications or appeals are processed.

Some asylum seekers are granted provisional release during the process, meaning they can live relatively freely although they cannot work, but others are held in government detention centers where they spend months or even years.

This has been criticized by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which says detaining foreign nationals for extended periods is a violation of their human rights.

But lawyers, members of parliament and human rights campaigners who met on Thursday to debate the issue said the proposed reform was not the right way to solve the problem of lengthy detentions.

"Don't you think this reform embarrasses us on the international stage?" opposition lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto said at the event.

"It's the government's role to protect the lives and rights of refugees, but it looks like their attitude is to take away these refugees' lives and ignore their fundamental rights," she said.

Japanese governments and society have long been very reticent about immigration and asylum, despite the problem of an ageing population and shrinking workforce that economists say could be alleviated by allowing more immigrants in.

In 2019, just 0.4% of asylum applications were successful in Japan, as opposed to 25.9% in Germany and 29.6% in the United States.

The Justice Ministry says the reform is aimed at stopping the abuse of the asylum system and preventing long-term detentions, but critics at the event said it would violate human rights and in some cases even endanger lives.

"If the law in Japan changes and I'm forced to return, then I could be arrested and I might even get a death penalty," said an asylum seeker from Myanmar, who asked to be identified by her pseudonym Hpauyam given the sensitivity of her situation, at the event.

"I'm really scared, because my life could be in danger," she said.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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proposed reform, which would mean asylum seekers could be deported after a third failed application

One application and appeal sounds more than generous, unless the claimant can demonstrate a radical change of circumstances.

but critics at the event said it would violate human rights and in some cases even endanger lives.

"I'm really scared, because my life could be in danger," she said.

The Japanese immigration authorities have an excellent track record when it comes to assessing risk. Over the past decade they've rejected more than 60,000 asylum claimants but I have never heard of a single case where a failed asylum seeker has been arrested, tortured, killed or persecuted in their home country after being deported from Japan. If such cases did exist, I can assure you that the refugee NGOs would tell us all about them.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

""Some asylum seekers are granted provisional release during the process, meaning they can live relatively freely although they cannot work, but others are held in government detention centers where they spend months or even years.""

Plain and simple , this is the true definition of being SELFISH.

God forbid if there is a war near Japan and it has to take in refugees like most CIVILIZED nation do, where they open their countries to those who are in desperate situations, like Jordan, Germany, USA, Lebanon, England, France, Bangladesh, Sweden, and many more did and doing as we read this article.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Japan is that nail that won’t be hammered down...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's odd that the MOJ points to asylum seekers abusing the system, but how often do such abuse cases pop up in the news? I mean, other than the MOJ abusing the asylum seekers.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The continuing tension between two worldviews that almost never can meet in the middle: one that views migration as a fundamental human right to achieve world equity, to reduce global suffering and promote global cooperation and understanding; and the other that views security as the single most important primary function of government, to prevent crime, terrorism and espionage; but also needs to define essential core cultural values of what it means to be Japanese for the future.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes lets use the same rules as they do in Europe and North America. That will definitely solve refugee and illegal immigrant problems...not! Just look at Europe, USA, and Canada. They are mess. I think the new rules make sense to protect Japan.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@Skeptical

I would add fairness as another key value to consider. Millions of people around the world would like to live and work in Japan if given the chance, but few are bold enough to enter on a tourist visa, work illegally, overstay their visa, and then file a frivolous asylum claim once they get caught.

Of the 10,375 asylum applications made in 2019, only 76 came from citizens of countries that are designated by the UNHCR as the top five countries suffering the worst population displacement (ie. warzones).

Of the 19,629 asylum applications made in 2017, only 133 were made immediately on arrival at airports and seaports.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I have never heard of a single case where a failed asylum seeker has been arrested, tortured, killed or persecuted in their home country after being deported from Japan. If such cases did exist, I can assure you that the refugee NGOs would tell us all about them.

Can you be so sure? How much independent post-deportation monitoring is there?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Critics denounce Japan asylum reform as human rights violation

and rightly so

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

"Don't you think this reform embarrasses us on the international stage?" opposition lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto said at the event.

Sorry, Japanese laws are made to protect the well beings of Japanese people and the legal residents, not for making you "look good" among the lefty globalists, which have already failed by the way.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Can you be so sure? How much independent post-deportation monitoring is there?

The onus of proof obviously rests with the critics who claim Japan is turning away genuine refugees. If the refugee NGOs aren't monitoring deportees, why not? It's not hard to collect contact information from the deportee on their friends/family or ask them to send an email if something happens. A single case of a deportee being tortured or killed would make headlines and embarrass the Japanese government, probably forcing them to allow in far more refugees. The NGOs clearly have a huge incentive to devote resources to this. In reality, they don't waste their time because they know, just as well as the immigration authorities, that 99.99% of failed asylum seekers in Japan don't face any real threat of persecution in their home country.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

its simple-undocumented people with unclear criminal history and background,without education,skills,with language abilities and without any chance that they will benefit to this community/instead to be just people tax consumer/-dont need.try good luck in some other safe country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have never heard of a single case where a failed asylum seeker has been arrested, tortured, killed or persecuted in their home country after being deported from Japan. If such cases did exist, I can assure you that the refugee NGOs would tell us all about them.

Your later posts show your low regard of these NGOs. One of my students was the wife of the UNCHR Japanese representative. He wrote letters requesting asylum for Kurds from Turkey to the Japanese Ministry of Justice. But the Japanese government sent those Kurds back to Turkey, where a hostile reception awaited them. Turkey does not have a virtuous human rights record, which is not different from their predecessor the Ottoman Empire. The Armenians bear witness.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed their staffer Chiune Sugihara in disgrace after he wrote many visas for Jewish refugees in Lithuania fleeing the Nazis, allowing them passage into Japan. They only retroactively honored Sugihara when the Yad Vashem museum made him a Righteous Among the Nations recipient.

A refugee may not appear to be one who can readily contribute to one's society. But they can make good, many times over.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A planned reform of Japan's asylum law that would make it easier to deport failed applicants for refugee status drew fierce criticism on Thursday from lawyers, lawmakers and human rights groups who said it ran counter to international norms.

Sad to see these "lawyers, lawmakers and human rights groups" buy into the misguided globalist propaganda. When an asylum application has failed, that means by definition the person does not have the right for asylum anymore. If you simply accept every application, that de facto means you give up control over national borders.

As for the "international norms" I assume they refer to the disastrous "UN compact on migration", which thankfully Japan did not sign.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

chibinanuki

our later posts show your low regard of these NGOs. One of my students was the wife of the UNCHR Japanese representative. He wrote letters requesting asylum for Kurds from Turkey to the Japanese Ministry of Justice.

There are no reasons to label Kurds as refugees from Turkey. Kurds make up 20% of Turkey population and are not persecuted. What the Turkish government cracks down on are Kurdish independence movements, but that is a political situation, not one of personal persecution.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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