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FOCUS September 2023 Volume 113

Accepting Refugees


In the exercise of state sovereignty, governments decide who among non-nationals should be allowed to enter and stay inside their territories. They have the power to determine the requirements for such entry of non-nationals and the permission for them to reside in the country.

Due to the fact that some people suffer from war and other forms of oppression, the community of nations agreed to have a common guideline on how safety could be ensured for such people who had to flee their own country for safety elsewhere.

Thus the refugee recognition system was agreed upon as a response to this humanitarian crisis.

Japan has been criticized for its strict requirements in recognizing asylum seekers as refugees who deserve to be afforded safety within the country. The recent revisions of its immigration and refugee law strengthened the old policy of very limited recognition of refugee applicants and added measures to deport those it refused to give such recognition.

Japan does not see any failure in fulfilling its obligations under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees with its low rate of refugee recognition. United Nations reports explain why this is not so, however.