Japan Rejects More Than 99% of Refugee Applications
That was an increase of one person on 2015’s refugee intake. The country approved a further 97 people for Japanese residence on humanitarian grounds last year.
Japan saw its highest ever number of applicants for refugee status in 2016, at 10,901, an increase of 3,315 compared to the previous year.
Refugee advocates have argued Japan – which has one of the wealthiest economies in the world - has a humanitarian duty to do more, especially given its shrinking population. The counter argument is that Japan has such a wealthy economy because they do not let in those who live off social services and need continuous support.
Japan is a highly homogenous society and has traditionally been skeptical of immigration for good reason. The sexual assault and crime rates have spiked in countries that allow large numbers of refugees in their nations such as Germany and England.
"Here they do not pay for your studies, they do not help you to get bank loans, or give you social housing,” one of Japan’s few refugees told AFP anonymously. “We are left to ourselves, we have to fight alone."
Critics would argue that a statement like that is one of entitlement. Demanding that refugees be supported, given free education, jobs over skilled workers and housing when those born in the country need to work and pay for it like everyone else.
Around 30 per cent of migrants living in the country said they were abused for being foreign, according to a government survey.
Government officials say most asylum applications are rejected because the migrants are actually trying to get into Japan for economic reasons, rather than escaping conflict.