Japan Data

Record 303 Refugees Accepted by Japan in 2023

Society Work

In 2023, the number of foreigners who received refugee status in Japan increased by 50% from the previous year to 303, a new record high.

On March 26, 2024, the Immigration Services Agency of Japan announced the number of people given refugee status in 2023. At 303, this was an increase of 101 foreigners who were recognized as refugees during the last year and marked a new record high.

Refugees Accepted by Japan

By nationality, the highest number of recognized refugees with 237 were from Afghanistan, where the Taliban returned to power in 2021. The second largest number of refugees with 27 were from Myanmar, where clashes between the military and democratic factions have been ongoing since the military coup in 2021. Also recognized were 6 people from Ethiopia, which defaulted on its national debt in December 2023.

A further 1,005 people, although not recognized as refugees, were allowed to stay for humanitarian reasons. “Persons eligible for complementary protection” is a new status that started in December 2023 and is applicable to foreign individuals who are evacuees from conflict, giving the same level of protection as for refugees. A total of 647 people received that status in the three-month period between December 1, 2023 and February 29, 2024, 644 of whom were Ukrainian nationals.

In 2023, due to the relaxation of COVID-19 border measures, 13,823 foreigners applied for refugee status, a year-on-year increase of 10,051. Overall, there were applicants from 87 countries, with the majority being from Sri Lanka, Turkey, Pakistan, India, and Cambodia.

The Minister of Justice Koizumi Ryuji stated, “We will continue striving to provide protection to the people before us who need it in an even more reliable, prompt, and steady manner.”

(Banner photo: Afghanistani women and children wait for special visas to be issued from Western countries in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in August 2023. © Reuters.)

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