Japan’s Refugee Policy: Sharing the Burden of Human Security
This thesis asks: why does Japan accept a low number of refugees despite its responsibility to contribute to global peace as a member of G7, its willingness to participate in other forms of humanitarian assistance, and its labor shortage stemming from an aging population with a negative birth rate? To answer this question, raw data on the number of refugee applicants, their countries of origin, and their occupations are examined in addition to a qualitative analysis of existing arguments as to why Japan rejects most refugee applicants. The Ministry of Justice claims the majority of refugee applicants are giso nanmin or “fake refugees” that are seeking refugee status for economic gain, and as such, not eligible for refugee status according to Japan’s interpretation of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This paper concludes that the Ministry of Justice’s desire to prevent economic migrants from obtaining refugee status ultimately restricts the application process for legitimate refugees fleeing persecution, resulting in one of the lowest number of refugees in a developed country.