Japan presents guidelines on refugee status recognition

Tokyo, Mar 24 (EFE).- Japan unveiled Friday its guidelines on refugee recognition for the first time following criticism of its lack of transparency on the matter.

At a press conference, Justice Minister Ken Saito said that refugee status may be granted to applicants at risk of persecution in their home countries due to their sexual orientation, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The minister said that although the guidelines did not expand the scope of refugee recognition, issuing them could help applicants understand the criteria for refugee status and speed up the screening process, NHK added.

The manual, intended for Japanese immigration officials, comes in response to criticism leveled at Japan for its record of accepting far fewer refugees than other countries – only a few dozen a year – and considerably fewer than other developed countries.

In 2021, Japan granted refugee status to a record 74 people, the highest number since it began granting this status in 1982.

However, the archipelago also granted refugee status to 133 Afghans who fled their country after the Taliban’s return to power, Japanese Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi had said in August.

Japan normally grants people recognized as refugees a five-year residence permit with the possibility of later applying for permanent residency if they fulfill certain requirements.

The Asian country’s annual rate of refugee recognition normally does not exceed 4 percent of applications. EFE


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