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  • Globally, there are more than 20 million people seeking refugee status due to war, famine,

  • and domestic oppression.

  • With international pressures mounting, certain countries, like Turkey, have taken in millions.

  • Others, like the United States have been criticized for its limited acceptance rates, taking in

  • nearly 85,000 people in 2016.

  • But that same year, Japan only accepted 28.

  • With such a low acceptance rate, we wanted to know, why doesn’t Japan take in more

  • refugees?

  • Well, although many other countries have embraced multi-culturalism, Japan is an ethnically

  • homogenous nation.

  • Less than two percent of the population was born in a foreign country.

  • Even being born on Japanese soil doesn’t necessarily make someone a citizen.

  • You must have at least one Japanese parent to be granted full citizenship.

  • And even if you do have a Japanese parent, you must renounce any dual-citizenship by

  • the age of 22.

  • In late 2015, the country’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, rejected calls to take on more

  • refugees, saying, they must look after their own people before accepting immigrants.

  • So why does Japan take in any refugees at all?

  • Well, as a signatory to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, Japan is required

  • to assist refugees with documentation and naturalization.

  • But in spite of its obligations under the treaty, the Japanese government has seemingly

  • done all it can to limit the acceptance rate.

  • According to immigration officials, so many applications are denied because some asylum-seekers

  • misrepresent their status and are actually looking for work rather than escaping persecution

  • or fear of their government.

  • Others allegedly do not understand the application process, or describe themselves inaccurately

  • due to the strict and limited definitions used by the government for refugees.

  • Officials say only ten percent of applicants listrisk of persecution by the government

  • as a reason for their refugee status.

  • But many of these mistakes may stem from the fact that there are thick packets of documentation

  • to submit in order to be considered for asylum, and all of these documents must be submitted

  • in Japanese.

  • Moreover, Japan is a geographically isolated island nation, making it less likely that

  • refugees will be able to travel to the country in the first place.

  • Most refugees from the Middle East tend to settle in neighboring countries like Turkey,

  • and in most cases are unable to make it to Japan without a visa and a plane ticket.

  • And while Japan doesn’t take in very many refugees, it does donate millions to the UN’s

  • Refugee Agency.

  • In 2013, it was the second largest donor, giving more than $250 million dollars, and

  • as of 2016 it still ranks in the top three countries, after the United States and Germany.

  • Most recently, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged nearly $3 billion dollars over the following

  • three years to aid refugees globally.

  • But Japan may actually need refugees and migrants more than it thinks.

  • The country’s population is aging and its workforce is shrinking, as many as 83% of

  • hiring managers have trouble filling employment positions.

  • To tackle this, without calling it immigration, Japan has temporarily allowed unskilled workers,

  • as well as foreign students from countries like Syria.

  • But this opening of doors is against the backdrop of cultural fears that foreigners will cause

  • social unrest and erode the national Japanese identity.

  • Like many other Asian cultures, Japan stresses a system of self-reliance, with the implication

  • that Japanese people should help other Japanese people first, and that foreign countries and

  • cultures should take care of their own.

  • A recent poll found that only 18% of the country believes refugee integration is a good idea,

  • while 46% oppose it.

  • But in an increasingly globalized world, with interconnected economies, societies, and conflicts,

  • it may not be possible to maintain such an isolated position.

  • While Japan is reticent to accept refugees, other countries have taken in millions just

  • over the past few years.

  • To find out which countries are hosting the most, and why they are willing to do it, check

  • out this video right here.

  • Thanks for watching Seeker Daily, don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Globally, there are more than 20 million people seeking refugee status due to war, famine,

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Japan Rejected Over 99% Of Refugees Last Year. Here’s Why.

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    むなかた じゅん posted on 2017/02/23
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