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Letter to the editor: I would like Japan to accept refugees, but I have concerns

  • 2015-11-02 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

(Asahi: November 1, 2015 – p. 10)


 By Hidemasa Iura, university student (Saitama Prefecture, age 22)


 The international community is being pressed today to respond to the refugee crisis. For Japan as well, this is no longer something happening in a distant land.


 The number of foreigners applying for refugee status in Japan this year exceeded 5,500 by mid-October, apparently setting a new record for the fifth consecutive year. Applicants numbered 5,000 last year, and a mere 11 were granted asylum status. It is said that Japan is stricter than European nations in its screening of refugees.


 I think that, if possible, refugees should be accepted as a form of humanitarian aid.


 It is also true, however, that I have concerns: it cannot be denied that confrontations and conflicts could break out as different religions and cultures mix together in Japan or that terrorists from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group or a similar organization could be among the refugees accepted.


 In Germany, there have been incidents where refugees of different cultures and religions have gotten into quarrels with each other and the police have had to be sent out. Recently there was an incident in Japan where scuffles broke out among Turks, who were not refugees, in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo’s Harajuku.


 Japan should have a national discussion as soon as possible about the best way for the country to accept refugees and offer them other kinds of support.

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