Japan rejected 99% of the refugees who sought asylum last year

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe
Image: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi,
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The Japanese government came under fire today (Jan. 23) after officials revealed that the country rejected 99% of the refugees who sought asylum last year, the Japan Times reported.

A record number of applicants—7,586—applied for refugee status in 2015, and just 27 were granted it, the Justice Ministry said on Friday (Jan. 22). That is actually an increase from the year before, when just 11 refugees were accepted.

The number of applicants seeking refugee status in Japan jumped 50% from 2014, highlighting the world’s growing refugee crisis. A majority of the refugees who sought asylum hailed from other Asian countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Turkey, and Myanmar.

Notably, just five applicants were from war-torn Syria, and three of them were accepted. However, that number looks puny in the context of the 4 million Syrians who have fled the Middle Eastern nation for Europe and other regions in recent years.

Elsewhere in 2015, the US resettled 69,933 refugees but did not reveal how many applied for refugee status. Israel began turning away refugees, saying that it was too small of a nation to house them. And in Turkey, which is home to one of the largest refugee populations in the world, the number of refugees and asylum-seekers is expected to rise to 1.9 million.