by Yurika Chiba
According to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), there were more than 15,370,000 refugees all over the world in 2010. Currently, Japan has more than 10,000 refugees. However, the number of refugees is very small compared to other countries. For example, the United States of America accepts more than 30,000 refugees per year. By contrast, Japan accepts less than 100 refugees per year. It is obvious that Japan does not actively take in refugees. Some people insist that Japan should accept more refugees. However, others do not think so. Which idea is correct?
At first, Japan is said to be a homogeneous country. Basically, the number of foreigners and immigrants is small. I mean most Japanese people do not get used to interacting with people from different countries. It is hard for refugees to fit in Japanese society. In addition, Japan does not have a well-organized system for refugees. For instance, refugees cannot get a job easily. They cannot receive health insurance. There are such problems in Japan. I mean that refugees cannot adapt Japanese society easily even if they are recognized as refugees by Japanese government. What I want to say is that Japanese government should produce a well-organized system to make better society for refugees before Japan increases the number of refugees.
However, some people suggest that accepting more refugees is above everything else. They indicate that waiting for a well-organized system for refugees is the same as doing nothing. It is crucial to take in more refugees as soon as possible. Many refugees would have an impact on Japanese people. Japanese government has to establish the system for refugees if there are a lot of refugees in Japan. I think it is also important to understand refugees among Japanese people. For instance, why they became refugees, why they cannot live in their own country and so on. Actually, I did not know much about refugees because I was not interested in the topic. But, this issue is attractive to me now. I think most Japanese people know too little about refugees because the word “refugees” is not-so-familiar topic. If a refugee moves home to next to our house, we have no other choice to consider how to deal with the refugee. I mean that most Japanese people do not have the opportunity to think about refugees because there are not refugees around us. Expanding the number of refugees might allow Japanese people to understand refugees more and more.
At last, my opinion is that Japan should accept more refugees aggressively. But, it is also important that Japanese government produce the well-organized system for refugees.
UNHCR. Retrieved 05/29/13 from http://www.unhcr.or.jp/html/index.html