"We Can't Go Back Now": How Japan's Refugee Recognition System Denies Rights and Shirks Obligations to Refugees Fleeing the 2021 Myanmar Coup D'état
The February 2021 coup d’état of the democratic Myanmar government sent shockwaves through the country and across Southeast Asia. Myanmar communities abroad protested in solidarity while governments took action to protect their Myanmar residents from deportation. In Japan, the Ministry of Justice granted an Emergency Refuge Measure to thousands of Myanmar residents, permitting conditional visa extensions due to the coup. Nonetheless, some Myanmar residents in Japan sought stronger protections in the form of refugee status. Japan is a party to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and, accordingly, provides a path to refugee recognition through its domestic law. However, the country is known for having a stringent refugee application procedure with extremely low acceptance rates.
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