There is more hopeful news for refugees in Japan with an announcement from Toshio Ogawa, Justice Minister, of the Japanese Government’s intention to improve conditions for asylum seekers awaiting refugee status decisions.
A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and NGO Forum for Refugees Japan. It pledges three main points:
- Consultation to improve administration procedures for refugee status recognition within the Ministry of Justice Immigration Office.
- Collaborating with non-government support agencies to offer sponsored housing programs to refugees going through the process of refugee recognition.
- Establishing cooperation and ongoing collaboration between the government and private sector.
Mainichi Shinbun reports:
By having lawyers act as guarantors for asylum seekers and Forum for Refugees Japan, a Tokyo-based NPO, provide housing for them, the immigration authorities aim to give more applicants permission for provisional stays and shorten their length of detention before issuing a decision on their status.
Government collaboration with the private sector is vital to ensure the justice and dignity of refugees and this is a significant step in the right direction.
The decision follows a pledge made by the Japanese Government at UNHCR’s ministerial meeting in Geneva late last year which marked the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention.