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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 20 - 26  > JCP Yamazoe talks with NPO supporting Ethiopians in Japan
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2021 January 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Yamazoe talks with NPO supporting Ethiopians in Japan

January 20, 2021

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku on January 17 visited the head office of a Tokyo-based non-profit organization working to support Ethiopians living in Japan as part of efforts to find out hardships which foreign nationals in Japan are experiencing under the pandemic situation.

The independent non-profit organization, Adeyabeba Ethiopia Association, headquartered in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward carries out various activities, such as providing translation services for documents needed to apply for refugee status, offering Japanese language lessons, and promoting cultural exchanges.

In the meeting with the JCP lawmaker, association’s director Sahlesilassie Amare cited the fact that in Ethiopia, since a government change in 2018, people related to the former government have been arrested. He said that intending to seek asylum in Japan, many of Ethiopians working for diplomats at the Ethiopian Embassy in Tokyo filed refugee applications to a local immigration office. The NPO director continued to say, “However, the immigration authorities rejected all applications on the grounds that they did not suffer persecution. Those who claimed refugee status are unable to return to Ethiopia for various reasons which should be taken into consideration in the process of recognition for refugee status.”

Taki Asako of the association said, “In Japan, asylum applicants are not allowed to work. So, we are lending a helping hand to Ethiopian applicants for refugee status with donations from Japanese citizens and Ethiopians who are legally eligible to work. However, due to the pandemic, it is difficult for us to collect enough donations. We are concerned whether Ethiopian applicants will be able to survive the pandemic situation.”

In response, JCP Yamazoe pointed out that Japan’s refugee recognition system contains many problems, including creating an excessively limited understanding of the definition of “refugee” explained in international treaties. He said that he will work to resolve these problems and help Ethiopian refugee applicants minimize their hardships caused by the pandemic.

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