Japan accepts less than 1% of asylum applications

Government data shows only 27 people approved after a record 7,586 applications last year

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The Independent Online

A record number of people requested asylum in Japan in 2015 – but less than one per cent were accepted. 

Government data shows only 27 people were approved after 7,586 applied for asylum. 

Some of those who were accepted may have been waiting for many years to be granted asylum. 

Japan is known to have one of the tightest refugee recognition systems among more economically developed countries and prides itself on itself homogeneousness. 

In 2014, 11 out of 5,000 refugees were given asylum. In comparison, EU countries gave protection status to about 185,000 asylum seekers in the same year. 

In 2015 the majority of asylum seeks came from Nepal, with 1,768 people followed by 969 from Indonesia and 926 from Turkey according to preliminary data from the Justice Ministry. 

Out of the 27 people approved last year, six are from Afghanistan, three are from Syria, three Ethiopians and three Sri Lankans.

The Japan Association for Refugees said: “We hope that (Japan) will hold discussions with UNHCR and NGOs and swiftly consider measures to certify refugees in line with international standards." 

According to the UN refugee agency, Japan is home to 2,419 refugees. 

Asylum applications rose by more than six-fold since 2010 when the legal changes permitted re-applicants to work as their claims were assessed. 

This data comes at a time where Japan edges toward a debate over whether to lax their immigration to cope with its shrinking, ageing population.