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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 October 12 - 18  > Japan bar association holds rally demanding improvement of refugee recognition system
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2022 October 12 - 18 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan bar association holds rally demanding improvement of refugee recognition system

October 13, 2022

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) on October 12 held a rally in the House of Councilors members’ office building, demanding that Japan’s refugee recognition system be improved.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Motomura Nobuko attended the rally.

Lawyer Takai Nobuya, who is in charge of this issue at the JFBA, said, “Under the current refugee recognition system, foreign nationals who should be recognized as ‘refugees’ under international standards are unable to obtain a refugee status and are ordered to be deported. When they refuse to accept the order because of fear for their safety, they are put in indefinite custody at immigration detention centers. All refugee-related issues are dealt with only by the Immigration Service Agency, which is a big problem.” Takai appealed for the need to revise the current system, demanding that courts examine the necessity for the detention of asylum seekers and that an administrative organ other than the immigration authorities screen applications for recognition of refugee status.

The JFBA this month issued a proposal aimed at improving Japan’s refugee recognition system. The JFBA in its proposal made various demands such as these: the criteria for refugee recognition be made public; work permission be granted to refugee applicants; and any decision on special permission for residence be made based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which bans the separation of members of a family as well as adherence to other international treaties.

In the rally, a younger sister of a Sri Lankan woman, Wishma Sandamali, who died while in detention at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in March 2021, delivered a speech. She said that her elder sister would have been alive if a rule prohibiting confinement of foreigners who overstay their visas in immigration detention centers without the court’s permission had been established as proposed by the JFBA.

Past related issue:
> JCP Yamazoe attends memorial service for Sri Lankan woman who died in custody at immigration center [March 2 & 7, 2022]
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