Japan to Fight Misuse of Refugee Program (News)
Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)—The Justice Ministry said Friday that it will take steps to address a rise in people seeking work in Japan by abusing its refugee protection program.
The ministry will not provide work permits to applicants who do not meet the conditions for refugee status in preliminary screenings, starting with applications to be submitted on Monday.
At present, the ministry allows applicants to work in Japan six months after they apply for refugee status, even if preliminary screenings find them clearly ineligible. It usually takes about nine months to complete all screening process.
In 2016, a record 10,901 people applied for refugee status. Of them, only 28 were recognized as meeting conditions stipulated in the international convention on the status of refugees.
No applicants from the top five countries by applicant number, including Indonesia and the Philippines, were granted refugee status. The ministry suspects many applicants pretend to be refugees in order to gain work in Japan.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]