Japan accepted only 27 refugees in 2015
Jan 24, Tokyo: Almost 99 percent of asylum applications were rejected by Japan in 2015. It has only accepted 27 refugees, according to the government figures.
The country's justice ministry said on Saturday it received a record 7,586 asylum applications in 2015, up 50 percent compared to the year before.
Asylum seekers from Nepal topped the list of those arriving in 2015, with 1,768 submissions, media reports said.
The accepted applicants included six from Afghanistan, three Syrians, three Ethiopians and three Sri Lankans.
In 2014, it granted refugee status to just 11 people, out of 5,000 applicants.
Japan, which faces a demographic problem due to an ageing population and declining birthrates, is the world's third largest economy and runs the tightest refugee recognition system among industrialised economies.
An official for the Immigration Bureau of Japan Saori Fujita was quoted by the Japan Times website as saying that 2015's increase was due to a rise in the number of Indonesian applicants.
Fujita said 17 Indonesians applied in 2014, compared to 969 last year.
The Japan Association for Refugees said despite the progress in recent years, more applicants should be accepted.
Japan’s Refugee Recognition Act does not include war refugees in its narrow interpretation of the International Refugee Convention.
According to Deutsche Welle, Japan's parliament approved $350m in humanitarian aid for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, which is to complement a $810m package approved last year.
The Oslo Times