Refugees and assimilation

Map showing destination countries of refugees ...

Map showing destination countries of refugees /asylum seekers (= people fleeing abroad) in 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Naresh Kumar

Different countries receive thousands of refugees every year. All of them come from different religions, cultures, and share different moral values that makes them identical in the host countries. Many are vulnerable to the crimes and human rights violations in the host country. They try to assimilate themselves in the society but instead of being accepted, many end up being the victims of different crimes (Ferenchik, 2012). Assimilation is always seen in an optimistic way with eventual integration of newcomers and it is expected that the process will end over time when foreigners and natives are merged (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001).

However, the facts about victimization are ignored. The situation is even worse in the developing and underdeveloped countries, where refugees find it very hard to integrate into the host society. Refugees who migrated to different countries are asking for help to keep up their culture, language, religion, and other things, to keep up their identity. If we look at the numbers then it is global south that holds so many refugees. The number is increasing everyday. It is the responsibilities of the international community to provide support for the refugees and help them integrate in host countries.

Poverty, crimes, discrimination, human rights violations are some of the issues in societies that holds refugees. Coping with uprootedness, adversity, and assimilation into new social landscapes has always been a challenge. There is always a clash between different cultures, religious values, political ideologies, etc. After the end of the Cold War, nation states have carried out more restrictive policies, which makes it difficult for refugees and asylum seekers to enter the host country.

The rise of nationalism is another issue. In different countries in Europe, immigrants are becoming victims to so called “national movements”, which is simply to push back foreigners and immigrants out of the host country. The European Union only grants EU citizenship to citizens of member states, which is described as “fortress Europe” by many advocates of refugee rights.

The Global South lacks the ability to provide basic needs and lacks to assure certain rights, whereas those who can looks away from the issues. Europe is the only continent which receives thousands of refugees every year, but integration into the society depends on one’s abilities of language and education levels. Refugees who enter into different societies of different countries are not well protected. Their voice is less heard and are constant victims of crimes and human rights abuses.



Ferenchik, M. (2012, June 19). Nepali refugees struggle with life in city. Retrieved from

Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (2001). Legacies: The story of the immigrant second generation. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Refugeeism and Denizenship

by Asuko Sugino

First of all, I’ll talk about the definitions of “refugeeism” and ”denizenship”, secondly I’ll refer to where refugees or denizens might belong to instead, and then finally I’d like to mention an example of one refugee in the Philippines who made the organization working for equality and social justice.

The word “refugee” in Precarious Japan by Anne Allison is used in a broad sense. That is to say, it indicates everyone who doesn’t have the place where they can feel comfortable or a sense of home, rather than the people who live in a tent in a refugee camp. She declares to us that this refugeeism has become “ordinary” in Japan which can’t provide “ibasho” for the citizen, citing many examples of “net café refugees” or “temps”. These refugees cannot be equal to non-refugees in various ways (shelter, stable salary, guarantee for future).

On the other hand, “denizen” in this article doesn’t include the above-mentioned examples such as Japanese net café refugees or temp workers. Refugees don’t have “ibasho” but “citizenship” at least. “Denizen” lacks not only secure job, where to return but also their own citizenship, therefore they are not regarded as citizen but resident alien. I think that “denizens” lacks both of equal status and rights, while “refugees” lacks just equal status. To make the worse, according to Anne Allison, denizenship is made use of and exploited by global capitalism because denizens have no choice but to stand working at low wage, with short-term contract and few benefits. Additionally, this system using denizen labors is plotted on purpose and the number of them will increase.

Now, where do they find alternative “ibasho”? In my opinion, both of refugees and denizens tend to seek it at anti-social organizations such as gangster organizations or crime syndicates, because society robbed them of essential status and rights. Some decide to soak themselves into drugs or alcohol without seeking alternative “ibasho”. However, some people try to alter by themselves the wrong social system, facing the reason why the society failed to give them the benefits to be granted. The following is one example.

In the Philippines, 10 years ago, one 16-year boy named Eflen Penyaflorida living in a slum in Manila was worried about the future of his hometown. The children surrounding him supported their families’ living by gathering garbage, so most of them don’t receive an education and become gang members as they grew up. He hoped the gangs in Manila would disappear by receiving enough education to gain ordinary jobs. He established “DTC (Dynamic Teen Company)” and started teaching the children by himself breaking down their parents’ opposition. Now, the scale of the organization is as large as the school and it was awarded a prize by CNN. Eflen didn’t look for his new “ibasho”, but create it by himself.

Everyone cannot make their own “ibasho” by their hands, still we have the responsibility for trying to make the proper place for “refugees” or “denizens” instead of anti-social places, as a member of the society.


Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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“Refugees” in Japan

by Narumi Ito

Nowadays, people who lose their homes are increasing in Japan because they might be laid off by their companies and cannot earn money. They have to sleep in fast food shops, family restaurants and Internet cafes. “Refugees” is increasing in Japan. According to Anne Allison, a refugee is someone who is homeless or a net café nanmin. It has become a serious problem in Japan. Most of them work as temporary laborers or day laborers. Their salaries are unstable thus they cannot rent their home. However, when they can sleep at net café, they will feel happy because they sometimes have to sleep outside, for instance, at stations or under bridges and on streets. They do not have enough money to spend indoor.

Refugees have two big problems. The first problem is a certificate of residence. If the situation of their addresses are unsettled, they do not have their houses, thus they may treated as drifters by Japanese law. Moreover they have many problems if they do not have their certificates of residence. They cannot renew their driver’s licenses, have universal suffrage or receive unemployment insurance. In addition, they cannot rent new apartments when they become to be able to rent them because they cannot register the legal registration of their official seals.

Second is an illness. They cannot go to hospital because they cannot pay their consultation fees, however, I think that they have much possibilities of becoming ill. They always spend at places which are insanitary. In fact, there are many people who contract tuberculosis or some infectious diseases at net cafes. Most refugees tend to use Internet café thus they may get mass infection.

The right to life is written clearly in the Constitution of Japan. It is that all Japanese people have right to make healthy and cultural life and have the minimum standard of living. I think that welfare is based on the Japanese constitution thus Japanese government should give refugees which include homeless and net cafe nanmin the minimum lives. However Japanese government cannot protect this right. In fact, Japanese government do not treat with the problem of refugees. Most refugees are deleted their certificates of residence. They can request their welfare if they do not register their resident registration. Thus they request Japanese office to be on welfare. Japanese public office do not give welfare to them because officers think it is troublesome.

For example, offers of welfare from refugees are deferred or rejected or hidden. Officers may be able to neglect offers because the homeless do not register their residences. I assume that officers conceal the offers many times in Japan. The actual situation may let the problem of refugees worsen in Japan.

In my opinion, if Japanese public offices continue to neglect this problem, Japan have to own many more refugees in the future. If the Japanese government gives them minimum welfare or food protection, they may be saved, improve their lives and get jobs. Japanese government should make some concrete policies to deal with this problem. All Japanese people are protected by the Constitution of Japan equally and live healthily and happily.

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