Japan: Update to JPN29814.E of 12 August 1998; whether Iranian nationals can make refugee claims; the number of such claims; the situation of Iranian claimants in Japan; and whether those who experience harassment can seek state protection
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 December 1998|
|Citation / Document Symbol||JPN30772.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Japan: Update to JPN29814.E of 12 August 1998; whether Iranian nationals can make refugee claims; the number of such claims; the situation of Iranian claimants in Japan; and whether those who experience harassment can seek state protection, 1 December 1998, JPN30772.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aada67.html [accessed 26 April 2015]|
For information on Japan's refugee determination process, in addition to that contained in JPN29814.E of 12 August 1998, please see "Refugee Recognition in Japan" (Oct. 1996) on REFWORLD and the attached document from the Japanese section of Amnesty International, which is "an explanation of the refugee process in Japan and advice to those wishing to make an application" (Sept. 1996). Information on the situation of asylum-seekers in Japan prior to 1996 can be found in the following Amnesty International documents: Japan: Inadequate Protection for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers (Mar. 1993) and Japan: Asylum-Seekers Still at Risk (22 Jan. 1994).
On 26 October 1998 Amnesty International called on the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) to put pressure on Japan for its "failure to protect the rights of detainees, prisoners, and asylum seekers." A year earlier, on 10 November 1997, Amnesty International had issued a report: Japan: Ill-Treatment of Foreigners in Detention, available at Regional Documentation Centres. Its press release stated: "foreigners in Japan are at serious risk of ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities ... detailing violent punishment, sexual assault and racist humiliation by immigration officials, prison guards or police officers." The report claimed that asylum-seekers had been arbitrarily detained and had sometimes been prevented from formally requesting asylum (Nov. 1997, 1).
The report mentions the treatment of two Iranian nationals: Arjang Mehrpooran, who died in police custody after his arrest on 20 June 1994 for not being able to produce a passport (Nov. 1997, 21) and Mousavi Abarbekouh Mir Hossein who died in police custody in Kita-ku Immigration Detention Centre on 11 August 1997 after his arrival there on 28 July 1997 to await deportation for theft (ibid., 27).
The UNHCR reports that Japan received a total of 100 asylum applications in 1989, 100 in each of the years 1992-1996, and 100 in 1997, for a total of 800 applications since 1988 (1998). For further information on the number of asylum applicants in Japan please refer to Country Reports 1997, Japan: Inadequate Protection for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers (Mar. 1993) and Japan: Ill-Treatment of Foreigners in Detention (Nov. 1997).
The Research Directorate has been unable to determine whether avenues of state protection available to Japanese nationals are also available to refugee claimants.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International. 26 October 1998. "Japan's Human Rights Record Must Be Challenged." (AI Index: ASA 22/13/98). London: Amnesty International.
_____. 10 November 1997. "Japan: Foreigners in Detention Face Violence, Humiliation and Discrimination." (AI Index: ASA 22/10/97). London: Amnesty International.
_____. November 1997. Japan: Ill-Treatment of Foreigners in Detention. (AI Index: ASA 22/09/97) London: Amnesty International.
_____. September 1996. "An explanation of the refugee application process...," pp. 2-10. Tokyo, Japan: Amnesty International. [Internet]
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 1998. Populations of Concern to UNHCR - 1997 Statistical Overview: Table 14: Indicative Bumber of Refugee Status Applications and Decisions, 1997. [Internet]
Amnesty International. September 1996. "An explanation of the refugee application process...," pp. 2-10. Tokyo, Japan: Amnesty International. [Internet]
Additional Sources Consulted
Resource Centre. Japan country file. 1994-1998.
_____. Japan: Amnesty International country file. 1992-1998.
Electronic sources: IRB Databases, Internet, REFWORLD, World News Connection (WNC).
Two non-documentary sources contacted did not provide information on the requested subject.