Japan Refuses UN, Will Not Take Any More Refugees
Japan accepted just three refugees in the first half of 2017 despite receiving 8,561 new applications
Japan’s prime minister said Tuesday that his nation needs to attend to its own demographic challenges posed by falling birth rates and an aging population before opening its doors to refugees.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the U.N. General Assembly that Japan is ramping up assistance in response to the exodus of refugees to Europe from the Middle East and Africa.
He said Japan will provide $1.5 billion in emergency aid for refugees and for stabilization of communities facing upheaval. But speaking to reporters later Tuesday he poured cold water on the idea of Japan opening its doors to those fleeing
Only four refugees were accepted in the first half of 2016, when fresh asylum applications totaled 5,011, the Justice Ministry said. Human Rights Watch in January described Japan’s record on asylum seekers as “abysmal”.
Unlike other industrialised nations, which have accepted or even encouraged immigration to refresh their labour force, Japan has remained unwelcoming, even though its shrinking, ageing population is a key reason behind the economy’s slow growth.
Supporters of Japan’s tough asylum process argue that the small number accepted is a consequence of a surge in bogus applications due to changes made to rules in 2010 allowing applicants to work after six months until a decision is made on their claims.
There appears to have been an increase in the number of people who are abusing the refugee status process,” said Yasuhiro Hishida, an official who reviews applications at the Justice Ministry.