Undocumented Families in Japan

by Ryoma Kagawa

In 2009, a 13-year-old Filipino girl who was living in Japan was separated from her parents because they had come to Japan in an illegal manner of fake passports. After arriving in Japan, they had lived for about a decade and the girl knew the Japanese culture better than the Philippine culture; for example, she spoke Japanese as well as the Japanese do. However, the arrest of her mother uncovered their secret, and the girl was made to decide whether she would go to the Philippines with her family or she would keep staying in Japan while her family would go back, which she took the former and the family was separated.

If a family in Japan has been found that they have come illegally and their children were very small and had no choice but to follow their parents on their arrival, what should  be done? There are many arguments among the Japanese whether the government should force such undocumented families to return their own countries, allow those children to keep staying, or some other opinions. In my opinion, the government should allow the parents to keep staying with their children until they are 18 years old and then force the parents to return.

The first reason is that the separation of parents has a big influence on their children when they are adolescent. Adolescent children are usually unstable in minds and the role of parents is of great importance here. In the case of the Filipino girl above, on the day of departure, she missed her parents very much and wanted them to stay with her; they also understood her feelings and knew well that she still needed them because she was young. I think that children who grow up through adolescence without parents might behave badly and it will result in bad effects on society. The second reason is that it is a matter of human rights. For instance, children may suffer from mental illness due to the lack of parents nearby, and it may become difficult for them to be educated. I think that the example describes the violation of their human rights by the government.

While the Japanese government should restrict the entry of people in illegal ways from the point of views such as national security, I believe that it should give more consideration to undocumented families who have already come and lived in Japan from the point of views such as influences on society and human rights.


Schoolgirl told to choose: Country or parents. (2009, April 13). CNN. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/13/japan.philippines.calderon/index.html#cnnSTCText


The Rights of Undocumented Children

by Tatsuya Haishi

Through the immigration class and the articles of newspaper, I learned the fact that there are many children who were detached from their parents due to deportation of the parents. It is very cruel for children to choose their parents or their country. I think children should be treated specially. The government gives the right of staying to the children whose parents are undocumented immigrants. Of course, I have never experienced the situation like these children have, but I am sure that nobody wants to be born as an “undocumented child.”

I think being legal or illegal will not become a problem in near future and people will no longer care about that. The world is in a period of transition at present. The laws against illegal immigrants of the developed countries including the US and Japan would be rescinded.

I believe that when we think about such difficult issues, we have to seek a better solution rather than the best one. According to one of the articles of our immigration class, there is a boy who lives in Mexico. His name is Jeffrey and his father was one of the immigrants deported in the first half of 2011 who said they had American children.

Jeffrey moved from the US because of his father’s deportation, but it is difficult for him to acclimate himself to a new environment. Many undocumented immigrants leave from their country to look for a job. While they can obtain a job, their children would also become undocumented children. When a child who does not know they are undocumented realizes that, they must be terribly shocked.

To think a better solution for such children, we should imagine what the worst situation for them is. If the parents stay their home country and do not take a job, the family would be hard to gain food and they could not live anymore. We have to put children first. We have to consider a better way for children. Laws are important and should be observed. However, at the same time, the rights of undocumented children are respectable as well. Some people might say that adults also have rights! I know that, but we can think, demand, and act. I believe that all adults have a childhood. If it is true, it ought to be obvious that we must think about children as top priority.

Undocumented immigrants

by Fujisaka Shunsuke

Nowadays there are a lot of immigrants in a lot of countries. Most immigrants are accepted officially but some immigrants do not have permission. These immigrants are called undocumented immigrants. These undocumented immigrants go to other countries to find a job or any other reasons. In this essay, I will write whether countries should accept undocumented immigrants or not. In my opinion countries should accept undocumented immigrants.

First undocumented immigrants should be accepted and not leave from the country by human rights. Human rights have to be protected. It is true that they came to country illegally. It is against a law. However human rights are more important. The law should be changed and undocumented immigrants should be treated like others. Therefore family must not be separated. There are a lot of children whose parents came to the country illegally. However children are not illegal and they do not even know they are illegal or not. These children have to be protected by human rights because if their parents leave from the country they have to live without their parents. It is against human rights.

Second to live a better life is important for all people. There is a problem of anchor baby in America or China. This anchor baby means mother stay in another country by taking care of the baby. This is a problem of the America or Hong Kong so they try to solve this problem. However to live a better life is important. That is why mother tries to stay in America or Hong Kong. I think this is a problem but these parent and baby should not leave. Government should make a regulation of this problem that makes their life better Due to live a better life is important.

In conclusion undocumented immigrants have to be treated like others by human rights and to live a better life. Country should accept undocumented immigrants. In addition I think one more important way for them is to migrate to another place of same country like article of Mexico. If they migrate to another place of same country, they do not have to worry about language. Another article of the wife of the immigrants said that language is very difficult problem. That is why if it is possible, they should migrate another place of same country. Undocumented immigrants are difficult problem but I hope this problem to be solved in a good way.

Against the Japanese policy on refugees

by Ryota Takatsuka

We learned about the situation of Japanese acceptance of refugees. According to the readings and materials which the professor gave to us, Japan accepts less than 1% of applicants. Although Japan has the third biggest economy in the world, Japan accepts by far fewer refugees than other developed countries. We have debate about question “Whether Japan should accept more refugees or not”. My answer is “Yes”. There are two reasons why I answered at the debate.

The first reason is that refugee can cover the shortage of labor especially in field that seek labor. Now, Japan is about to face aging society and decline of birth rate, so in some field, lack of young labor will cause vanish of job. Agriculture is famous example of this. Although Japanese self-sufficiency rate is lower than any other developed country, the number of young people who choose agriculture to work is decreasing year and year. This is why the age average of farmer is getting higher and agriculture is in danger to be disappeared in the near future. However, refugees can solve this kind of problem, because they come to Japan seeking job to live. I mean increasing number of worker promote people including Japanese young people to work in various kind of work such as agriculture. The more people come in Japan, the competition of job hunting will more hard and tough. Due to this people will be supposed to expand their eye to the industries which have not been gotten attention. This situation can help various kind of industry develop and solve Japanese current problem that lack of labor because of aging society and declining of young people.

The second reason is fundamentally, Japan is responsible for guaranteeing human rights of people all over the world by the Japanese constitution. Accepting refugee and supporting them in language and job hunting are duty of Japanese government. If Japanese government keep rejecting accept much more refugees like other country do, Japanese constitution has no power to guarantee the human rights against even Japanese people.

I feel strange that fact that Japan accepts fewer refugees than other countries. The trend of the world is globalization. Japan has to catch up with this trend by accepting refugee and admit the multiculturalism in society. The tie between other nations will be more tight and Japan start being flexible against diversity. Following this, Japan can find benefit in accepting foreign community such as immigrants and refugee in terms.

Reconsideration of the Japanese Policy about Refugees

by Ryuhei Sugiyama

Today japan has a very strict rule about accepting refugees. According to the Ministry of Justice, there were only 21 people who were admitted as refugees in 2011, nevertheless 1867 people applied refugees screenings, and most of them who rejected their applications made a protest to the judgments (Ministry of Justice, 2012). In other words, most of the people who cannot be refugees are not guaranteed their safe lives in Japan. Compared with the U.S., about 90-thousand people are admitted as refuges each year (Refugee Assistance Headquarters, 2008). In this way, the number of reception of refugees in Japan is one of the lowest among the developed countries. This is because the strict rule of Japan toward people who pursued aid from Japan.

Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act is the standard to judge whether the person is admitted as refugee or not. This act is very severe and it has some problems. Frist, the standard has a lack of balance. Japanese government asks for people to present many documents. However, most of them run away for their lives from their countries, so they cannot have any documents to present their states. In addition, there are lacks of systems of interpreting, thus people who want to do the application for refugee states cannot get enough information. Second, people whose applications are denied are ordered to get away from Japan. They cannot get any protections or legal status if their applications are denied, and are treated as illegal residents. Therefore, the government deports them. If they refuse to leave Japan, they will be imprisoned.

In this way, Japan copes with people who want to be refugees very seriously. However, is this treatment of Japan humanitarian? These people ask Japan for help because there is no place for them to return. If they return to their countries, they will get political, economic, or sometimes physical abuses from their governments. International society has an obligation to protect human rights of all of people around the world. Japan is a member of international society, and has a big influence as one of the developed countries. Therefore, Japan also has an obligation to protect people who ask for help. It is clear that Japan abandons this obligation, and the treatment is inhumane. At this point, Japan should admit more refugees and the act that refuses their helps should be revised.


The number of people who were admitted as refugees in 2011. The Ministry of Justice. Retrieved May 29, 2013 from  http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri03_00085.html

The Reception of Refugees in Japan. Refugee Assistance Headquarters. Retrieved May 29, 2013 from http://www.rhq.gr.jp/japanese/know/ukeire.htm

Refugees are people too

by Mei Satoi

According to UNCHR (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee), a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution. The present acceptable situation of refugee in Japan is very less. On the other hand, other developed countries accept a lot of refugees. 2,545 people applied for refugee recognition in Japan in 2012. It is the best number for the past fifteen years. However, in fact, Japan recognized only 18 refugees. It is very few. When people cannot be recognized as refugee in Japan, they do not have the right to reside in Japan and cannot receive public service like medical care.

I think that Japan should accept more refugees. In addition, the support for refugees would be more settled. I agree with that refugee is also human like Japanese. Human needs help each other. If one human needs support, other should give a hand. Refugees have different background. However, do not judge them by their nationality, race, and culture, Japanese have to protect their human rights. Some Japanese worry about worsen relationship with foreign countries, became less working places, and lose Japanese culture by accepting refugees. However, I believe that Japan can approach to other states as state which can protect human security. In addition, Japanese would be able to understand refugee’s situation by having communication with refugee. Japanese often think that refugee is not our problem. It is only other countries’ problem. So, I think that Japanese can get chance to understand and feel foreign problem and crisis by communication with people have real experience. It would promote Japan’s degree of international contribution.

In conclusion, Japan should accept refugees to protect their humanity. Of course, Japan has to prepare to accept refugees. In fact, it is very important for refugees and Japanese society. As, refugees face to behavior suitable for the occasion, they need understanding of Japanese language and culture. So, to set education places for refugees is needed. In addition, it is important for refugee to avoid isolation. So, giving communication place is also needed. Maybe, Japanese citizen also participate in that places. Following that Japanese get understandings how and why refugees had to come Japan. In fact, Japan has support system for refugees. However, Japan accepts so little refugees. As, a lot Japanese citizen do not accept refugees. They have tried to make country without people who have different race, language, and culture. To realize nation which citizen can recognize differences each other, Japanese citizen try to have generous viewpoint to refugee.

Japan’s Refugee Policy: Its Problems and Solutions

by Kentaro Sakamoto

Japan has been known for accepting few refugees. In 2012, 18 people, only 0.56 % of the asylum seekers who applied for refugee status in Japan, were officially accepted as refugees (Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan, 2013). There were also 112 people who were not able to get refugee status but permitted to stay in Japan on humanitarian grounds. However, even if you combine these two groups of people, it is only 4.07 % of the asylum seekers who demanded refugee status in 2012 (Ibid). The average number of refugees accepted per year in Japan from 2000 to 2012 is only 28 (Amnesty International, 2013). In contrast, other developed countries accept a lot more refugees than Japan does. For example, the U.S. accepted 16,742 refugees in 2008, Canada accepted 9,648, Germany had 7, 291, Britain had 4,752, Italy had 1,785 and the Netherlands had 515, while Japan only accepted 57 in the same year (Sekai to Nihon no nanmin nintei su, n.d.). Yet 2008 is the year that Japan had accepted more refugees than any other year between 2000 and 2012.

There are mainly four reasons why Japan does not accept many refugees. First, the Japanese government wants to have a strict screening process on deciding who can become a refugee and who cannot. The government is afraid of the possibility of people abusing the system as a method to stay in Japan or get financial aid from the government (Amnesty International, 2012). Second, the government is afraid of accepting refugees from certain countries such as China and Turkey for fear of relationships between Japan and those countries being deteriorated. This is the reason why Kurds from Turkey have never been admitted as refugee yet, despite the fact that many Kurds are demanding refugee status in Japan. For example, in 2011, 234 people from Turkey applied for refugee status and all of them were Kurds, but not even a single person was able to become an official refugee (Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan, 2012). Thirdly, the number of people who demand refugee status in Japan is not big due to the first and second reasons written above. In 2012, the number of applicants seeking for refugee status was 2545 (Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan, 2013), which is not even bigger than the number of refugees accepted in the U.S, Germany and Britain in 2008, according to the data shown in the first paragraph. The system that requires people to actually be in Japan to apply for the status also reduces the number of applicants. Moreover, since applicants are not allowed to work during the screening process which can take up to several years, people hesitate to come to Japan as asylum seekers. Fourth, the cultural and language barriers of Japan are quit big, since many people still believe that Japan is an ethnically homogenous nation. Also, the fact that many people cannot speak English makes it harder for some asylum seekers to adapt themselves to Japan.

Despite all these reasons that are limiting Japan from accepting more refugees, I believe that Japan should accept more of them. Refugees are human, and all humans certainly have human rights. An international trend to protect human rights is being more and more promoted, and responsible states in the international society are expected to protect not only the human rights of their own people but the rights of people from other states/regions too. If Japan wants to become the leader of Asia, it must start from protecting human rights more and appeal to the world that Japan is a nation that can contribute to create a better world. Accepting refugees is the first step for this. Currently in Japan, because of the system forbidding asylum seekers to work during the screening process, many of them are working illegally with low wages, and some of them are even treated inhumanely in their jobs. Accepting more official refugees and modifying the screening system will protect them from falling into this situation which can violate their rights. Moreover, accepting refugees can be a solution to the declining working population in primary industries, since many of the native Japanese do not want to work in these fields. It can also be a solution to the national pension system that is facing problems because of the increase of old people and the decrease of young people, as most of the asylum seekers are from the younger working generation. Accepting refugees is not merely a way to improve the lives of people who were persecuted in their original countries, but also a way to solve the difficult problems that Japan is facing now.


Amnesty International. (2012). Nihon no nanmin: Nanmin nintei seido ranyousha o ippanka suruna [Refugees in Japan: Do not generalize the misusers of the refugee admitting system]. Amnesty International. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from http://www.amnesty.or.jp/human-rights/topic/refugee_in_japan/topic_refugee_media_asahi2012.html

Amnesty International. (2013). Nihon no nanmin: Nihon ni kurasu nanmin no kiso A to Z [Refugees of Japan: The basic knowledge of refugees living in Japan from A to Z]. Amnesty International. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from http://www.amnesty.or.jp/human-rights/topic/refugee_in_japan/faq.html

Sekai to Nihon no nanmin nintei su [Numbers of refugees accepted in Japan and the world]. (n.d.). Rafiq Website. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from http://rafiq.jp/event/101205nanmin_report.pdf

Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan. (2012). Nanmin nintei shinsei su [Number of applicants for refugee status]. Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan [Japan Lawyers Network for Refugees]. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from http://www.jlnr.jp/stat/past10_02.html

Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan. (2013). 2012 nen no Nihon ni okeru nanmin ninteisha su tou ni kansuru seimei [A statement about the number of refugees accepted in Japan in 2012]. Zenkoku Nanmin Bengodan [Japan Lawyers Network for Refugees] . Retrieved May 30, 2013 from http://www.jlnr.jp/statements/2013/JLNR_statement_201304_jp.pdf

The situation of refugees in Japan

by Kim Jina

In the rush of globalization, Japan consists of less than 2 percent of foreigners (they are mostly Korean and Chinese). By contrast Japan consists of more than 98 percent of Japanese. Like a reflection of this, the average annual number of recognized refugees in Japan is very small. It is less than 1 percent. According to a report researched by the Immigration Bureau of Japan, about 2,500 asylum seekers came to Japan in 2012 and only 18 of them were accepted as refugees with legal status. It is lower than 1 percent. On the other hand, the United States, Canada and even South Korea have higher acceptance rate than Japan, 53 %, 44.6% and 11.7% respectively. The irony is that even though Japan has a major economic power, Japan has the lowest refugee acceptance rate. Japan is supposed to make more contributions to international society than other countries which have less economic power. Japan should admit more refugees so that Japan could serve as an example of how to cope with the progress of accepting refugees to other Asian countries and even international society.

Refugees including asylum seekers desperately need help from international society. Most of them are forced to leave their home countries or they have no choice but to flee their home countries. They lose their home, job, family and even some documents or something as an evidence of that they are in serious trouble. They are inevitably coming to other countries with almost nothing. At first, helping them to find a job and house as well as providing financial aids might be the best way to support refugees when they come to new countries. However, before supporting them, the legal resident status should be given to them, so that they are able to receive health insurance service, find a job and go to school.

Of course, it would be difficult to give every asylum seekers came to Japan the legal refugee status, but it is possible to provide them more opportunities to have legal status. Even if they are granted legal refugee status, most of them are struggling to find a job. There are only few people who have legal refugee status in Japan. Nevertheless, most of them are in unfair conditions. However, Japan has good example of how to support refugees. Uniqlo, one of the major apparel companies in Japan, provides refugee Khadiza Begum an opportunity to work at Uniqlo through a Uniqlo program. To admit more refugees in Japan, the Japanese government should encourage major companies to provide refugees more chance to work like Uniqlo. In addition, Japanese people should try to change the way they think about refugees. However, the most important thing to accept more refugees in Japan is that the Japanese government should make the immigration policy easier to get legal status. With the efforts mentioned above, it is expected that the number of refugees in Japan could be increased.

Japan and Refugees

by Ryoma Kagawa

Today, there are a great number of refugees in the world because of some factors such as conflicts, religion, and their political thoughts. While developing countries receive many of them, developed countries arrange for them to evacuate from their home countries as well. Among the developed countries, the U.S., France, and Germany accept more refugees than Japan does. In fact, the number of refugees which Japan has received is very tiny; according to the Ministry of Justice (2012), 1,867 people sought asylum, and 21 were accepted in 2011, which is the source of the criticism of Japan. It has been argued for a long time whether Japan should accept more refugees or not. In my opinion, Japan should do it, and there is a reason for it.

The biggest reason is that the acceptance of refugees is a matter of human rights. All people have the rights to live human lives, and so do refugees. I think that not accepting refugees means the denial of their human rights. Practically, however, it may be difficult for a country to receive refugees who are forced to escape from their homelands by the government for political reasons when their homelands are its friendly countries. The acceptance of refugees has the possibility to deteriorate the relationships between both of the countries. Actually, a Kurdish man living in Japan seeks asylum many times, yet it may be difficult because Japan has a good relationship with Turkey (Ito, 2012). To receive refugees allows a country to gain the prestige from the international society, but might lead it to the loss of trust from its friendly countries.

Still, it does not mean that Japan should be strict about the acceptance of refugees. If it is the concern for Japan that the relationships will go sour, I believe that Japan does not need to officially recognize refugees and grant them asylum. Actually, the Ministry of Justice (2012) also reports that it accepted 248 people of all the asylum seekers in 2011 to keep staying in Japan from the humanitarian point of view, although they had no certifications to prove them refugees. In such a way, Japan can accept refugees without officially recognizing them so that the relationships with other countries do not deteriorate; I believe that Japan should establish laws to increase the number of such people and to grant them more rights.

Refugees have human rights as well as non-refugees, so it is nonsense that, in spite of hard experiences in the homelands and refuge in Japan, they gain no asylum like insurances. Thus, in order to secure their human rights, Japan should be more open to refugees.


Ito, M. (2012, May 26). Desperate Kurd plays final asylum card. The Japan Times News. Retrieved May 30, 2013, from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/05/26/news/desperate-kurd-plays-final-asylum-card/

Ministry of Justice. (2012). Heisei 23nen ni okeru nanminninteishasuto ni tsuite [On the number of refugees recognized by Japan in 2011]. Ministry of Justice. Retrieved May 30, 2013, from http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri03_00085.html

Receiving of Refugees and Refugee Resettlement in Japan

by Kanami Hirokawa

It is said that the number of refugees is 43.3 million in the world now and many refugees are driven away from their living places. Although many of them are staying at their home country or the neighboring country, there are also refugees who come to the developed countries such as the US and Canada in order to look for their safe and stable life. This is refugee resettlement. Since 2010, Japan also began to the program of refugee resettlement as the first country of the Asian country. In 2010, 27 refugees of Myanmar who live in refugee camp of Thailand came to Japan. This is a new approach for Japan.

At first, why does not Japan receive many refugees? About 1.6 thousand refugees came to Japan in order to be recognized as refugees in 2008. However, the refugees who were recognized as refugees by the Minister of Justice are only 56 refugees. This number shows that many refugees can not be recognized as refugees and be allowed to come to Japan. Compared with other developed countries such as the US and France, the number of refugees being received is very few. The cause that the refugees in Japan are a small number is the system on the refugees and entry into a country. In Japan receiving entry permit to Japan is difficult in the eyes of the system of Japan. In the present day, refugees who came to Japan in order to be recognized as refugees are accommodated in an accommodation temporarily and they are treated like illegal immigrants. The food they receive is a poor Japanese food and they can not eat well because they do not adapt to Japanese food. They suffer in the accommodation until the result of the procedure comes out.

Next, Myanmarese refugees who came to Japan in 2010 learned a lot about the way in Japan in order to know about Japanese life and culture and to live comfortably. They learned Japanese language, culture and custom. Moreover, they were taught the necessary things to live without being in trouble such as the way of shopping and ATM because they lived in refugee camp and do not know these ways. They learned about many things for six months and they began to live and work by themselves.

However, refugees face many problems and difficulties in their lives in Japan. They face the wall of culture, language, discrimination and so on. In particular, in Japan foreigners tend to be recognized as strangers. Many Japanese still think that people living in Japan can speak Japanese and have black hair and eyes. Therefore, refugees who can not speak Japanese well are seen as the objects of the discrimination. Even if they can get the entry permit, their lives is not easy.

At last, Although Japan began to the approach of the refugee resettlement since 2010, Japan also contributes much money to United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR). The contribution of Japan is the second to the US. In Japan many Japanese do not know the existence of refugees in the world, but Japanese government has an effort to decreasing number of refugees. Therefore, Japan will receive more refugees in the future. Japan is not friendly country for refugees in the present state of affairs of Japan. In order to achieve receiving more number of refugees to Japan, changing the mind of Japanese people and being improved the system of the entry permit are also needed. Japan has many points to be improved about refugees.


Daisanngokuteizyu [Refugee Resettlement]. (2012). Seihu Kouhou Onrainn. Retrieved May 28, 2013 from http://www.gov-online.go.jp/useful/article/201201/5.html

Nannminn Mondai Toha [What is Refugees?]. (2011). Gaimusyo. Retrieved May 28, 2013 from http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/pr/wakaru/topics/vol70/index.html

Sekai no Nannmin[Refugees in the World]. (2010). AAR Japan. Retrieved May 28, 2013 from http://www.aarjapan.gr.jp/activity/emergency/refugee.html