Refugees in Japan

by Yuu Yokoyama

I think Japan should receive more refugees and give more support for them. Japan started to receive Indochina refugees in 1978 and joined United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (UNHCR) in 1981. It is the international organization for refugee. Then, in 2010, Japan decided to admit refugee to live in Japan as the third county resettlement for the first time in Asia. Japan contributes many refugee support programs. On the other hand, there are some problems in the system for refugees.

First, the support for refugees is very weak. For example, while they wait the recognition of the refugee application, refugees can get money to live in Japan from government. This is because they have no means to earn money, I mean, they are not permitted to work any place in Japan. However, in fact, this support money is very little; only 1,500 yen as life cost per day and about 40,000 yen as house rent per month, this means only 85,000 yen per month. There are many refugees who have disorder in their body because they barely escaped from their country in their life. Such refugees want to go to hospital, but refugees do not have enough money to take even medical examination. In addition, they cannot entry health service, so they have to pay more much money to take medical care. In 2010, the budget for refugee is not enough, so government cut support money of 100 people. This makes more refugees suffer.

Second, the number that Japan gives approval of refugee is very few. At first, in 1982, Japan gave approval of 63 refugee compared to 530 people applied to permission to live in Japan as refugee. This means one person per 9 people could be approved as refugee. However, in 2010, although about 1,800 people requested refugee application, only 21 people could get it. This means one person per 90 people, the number is very small. This is because the regulation of giving approval is very strict.

Third, there are some people who have the prejudice for refugees. People sometimes watch the news that illegal foreign people commit a crime such as violence, theft… so people think that immigration has the possibility which they commit a crime. However, news focuses too much on only foreign people although Japanese also commit crimes every day. For example, according to the research in 2007, the ratio of the crime by Philippine is only 0.3 compared to that by Japanese is 1. Thus, refugee is not dangerous, we make refugees dangerous.

I think many people don’t know there are a lot of refugees in Japan because they think refugee is the problem which happens in far countries from Japan. However, it is not. Refugee is suffering now in Japan, too. We have to corporate with each other and create society which refugees can live safely and comfortably.

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