Number of refugees recognized in 2020 (Reiwa 2)

Press release

March 31, 2021 (Reiwa 3)
Immigration Services Agency

  • The number of applicants for recognition of refugee status was 3,936, a decrease of 6,439 people (about 62%) from the previous year. In addition, the number of people who filed requests for administrative review was 2,573, a decrease of 2,557 people (about 50%) from the previous year.
  • As a result of the procedure for recognition of refugee status, 91 foreign nationals were granted residence in Japan. Among them, 47 foreign nationals were recognized as refugees while 44 were granted residence based on humanitarian grounds, despite not being recognized as refugees.

1. Application for recognition of refugee status (preliminary inspection)

(1) Number of applicants for recognition of refugee status

The number of foreign nationals who applied for recognition of refugee status (hereinafter referred to as "applicants" ) was 3,936, a decrease of 6,439 people (about 62%) from the previous year.
Among them, 415 people (around 11%) were applicants who had submitted an application for recognition of refugee status in the past.
Applicants were from 67 different countries. The major nationalities were the Republic of Turkey, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

(2) Processing status

5,439 applicants for recognition of refugee status were processed, a decrease of 1,692 people (around 24%) compared to the previous year. Of these applicants, 46 people were recognized as refugees, 3,477 people were not recognized as refugees, and 1,916 people removed their applications.

2. Requests for administrative review (appeals)

(1) Number of requests for administrative review

2,573 foreign nationals requested administrative review (Note) as appeals to not being recognized as refugees, a decrease of 2,557 people (around 50%) compared to the previous year.
Applicants were from 45 different countries. The major nationalities were the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Republic of Turkey, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

(Note) Appeals to not being recognized as a refugee have been changed from "filing an objection" to "administrative review" based on the revision of the Immigration Control Act executed on April 1, 2016.

(2) Processing status

6,475 appeals were processed, a decrease of 1,816 applicants (around 22%) compared to the previous year.
Among applicants, the appeal of one person was found to be "within reason" while 5,271 people were "without reason." 1,203 people withdrew their appeals.

3. Approval of residence for those based on humanitarian grounds and for recognized refugees

As a result of the procedure for recognition of refugee status, 91 foreign nationals were granted residence in Japan. Among them, 47 foreign nationals were recognized as refugees (46 people recognized in preliminary inspection and 1 person recognized as "within reason" during appeal), while 44 were granted residence based on humanitarian grounds despite not being recognized as refugees.

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