Japan’s attitude toward refugees

by Yuuka Kageyama

According to the Ministry of Justice, in 2011, only 21 of applicants are accepted as refugees in Japan although 1,867 people have been wishing. It is clear that Japan has accepted small number of refugees compared to other developed countries and the way to support refugees in Japan need improving.

Although many countries have accepted and assisted refugees, there are still so many people who are suffering from humanitarian problems such as persecution, discrimination and abuse of human right in their countries. They don’t have house to live in because they are ejected during war or conflict. Considering this situation in the world, should Japan accept more refugees?  There are many points to consider in discussing this program. First, Japan cannot afford to help them very well because Japan’s national debt is getting larger and larger. Moreover, Japan has still many people who are living in the tent and requiring aid in Tohoku region after the earthquake. Second, Japan’s society and community is difficult to fit in because of the difference of culture and language, that is, the refugees accepted in Japan may be faced with many difference, difficulty and even discrimination

However, as Japan is often pointed out about its negative attitude toward refugee policy by other countries, I think Japan should accept more refugees and take more care of them in Japan economically, politically, culturally, physically and mentally. The reasons are as follows;

First, Japan had ratified the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which means Japan has a responsibility to protect refugees. If Japan keeps its negative attitude toward this policy, it can be said that Japan is pushing it responsibility off onto other member nations.

Second, the problems on refugees are relating to the fundamental human right. Some people may say that Japan’s government should focus on its citizen’s lives first. It may be reasonable to claim like that in part but I want to ask that which is more important and prior, to ensure human rights and the right to life, or to be better off in high standard level of life.

I don’t mean that government should make light of the life of citizen in Japan nor their lives should be sacrifices. However, it would be too late that the government starts to take measures about refugees seriously after solving Japan’s internal problem completely.

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2 thoughts on “Japan’s attitude toward refugees

  1. Thank you for your interesting article! You make some really good points. I agree that Japan has an obligation according to International Law to offer adequate support and protection to anyone seeking asylum in Japan. I also agree that refugees could have a really important role to play given Japan’s declining population and economy. I am also writing a blog about this topic. If you are interested in having a look, the link is: http://vulnerableinjapan.com/
    Talia

    • Thank you for the comment. I’ve shared your blog address with my students, so they can check it out, too. I’m teaching this class again in the spring, so I will definitely be directing students to your blog for information.

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