The number of foreigners who applied for refugee status in Japan reached 7,926 between January and September, surpassing its record high on a calendar year basis, Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda said Friday.
The nine-month preliminary figure exceeded the previous annual high of 7,586 marked in 2015.
“A considerable number of applications seem to have been made for work,” Kaneda told a press conference, adding that the ministry will strengthen measures against illegal immigrants who pose as refugees with the aim of working outside their home countries.
The number has increased since 2010, when Japan switched to allow applicants for refugee status to work in the country six months after their applications. The 2010 tally stood at 1,202.
Also behind the increase is an easing of visa requirements to promote tourism in Japan.