Japan recognizes record 74 refugees in 2021

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Immigration Services Agency of Japan said Friday that a record 74 foreigners were given refugee status in the country in 2021 under its Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, up by 27 from the preceding year.

The number of foreigners who were not recognized as refugees but received residence permits in Japan for humanitarian considerations grew by 536 to 580, also the highest since Japan’s refugee recognition system started in 1982.

The increases resulted from the deteriorating situation in Myanmar following the February 2021 military coup in the Southeast Asian nation.

Of the newly recognized refugees, 32 are from Myanmar, 18 from China and nine from Afghanistan. Of the 580 people who were denied refugee status but given residence permits, 498 are Myanmarese.

The number of people who applied for refugee recognition in Japan last year fell by 1,523 to 2,413. The drop reflected strict border control measures put in place amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the agency.