Lower House Panel Approves Bill to Amend Immigration Law

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A House of Representatives committee approved on Friday a bill to amend the immigration control and refugee recognition law to limit the number of applications for refugee status to two per person in principle.

The legislation, which revises rules on the detention and deportation of foreign nationals, won a majority vote in the lower house Judicial Affairs Committee, with support from the ruling camp and Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party). It is expected to pass the full lower house as early as the first half of May, after the country’s Golden Week holiday period.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party voted against the bill.

The bill calls for allowing the deportation of foreign nationals illegally staying in Japan if they have applied for refugee status three or more times, even while their applications are being processed.

As the current law has no upper limit on the number of refugee applications, there are concerns that some foreign nationals could make such applications to avoid deportation.