Information on Iranian refugee claimants in Japan [JPN4695]

The only reference to Iranian refugee claimants in Japan found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC is a brief statement in the UNHCR's magazine Refugees of February 1988 (p. 37) stating that at that time a few Iranian cases were pending (although no figure is given, a total of 117 non-Asian pending refugee claims is quoted for Japan, of which most are said to be of other non-Iranian nationalities).

An officer of the UNHCR mission in Canada, as stated on 16 March 1990, stated that the only information available to the office on the subject was a statement made by a visiting Japanese reporter of the Asahi Shinbum newspaper, who commented that an Iranian refugee claimant rejected by Japan had arrived to Vancouver.

The publications World Refugee Report 1988 (U.S. Department of State, p. 98) and World Refugee Survey 1988 (U.S. Committee for Refugees, p. 33) report that nearly 600 refugees, although all of them Vietnamese, had settled in Japan. An officer of the UNHCR mission in Canada confirmed that Japan had accepted a few hundred Vietnamese refugees.

Although various sources report that a degree of discrimination against minorities exists within the Japanese society, [ For example, "[Prime Minister] Nakasone's no-minorities remark angers Japan's Ainu", in The Globe and Mail, 23 October 1986.] there are no reports currently available to the IRBDC indicating that this affects the treatment of refugee claimants in Japan.

For a critical report on Japan's refugee determination system which comments on Japan's treatment of refugee claimants regardless of their nationality, please find attached a copy of "Present Status and Problems of Refugee Status Recognition System" by Kazuo Ito, Chairman of the Committee on Management of Legal Aid to Refugees of Japan, Tokyo. Please note that the document is not dated, so the IRBDC cannot ascertain what year it was prepared. The IRBDC copy of the document was sent by the Legal Aid to Refugees of Japan to the IRBDC on June 1989.