Tokyo, May 22 (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government said Wednesday it will increase from fiscal 2020 the number of refugees it accepts under a program allowing those fleeing their nations to resettle in a third country.
The government will ease its criteria for accepting refugees under the third-country resettlement program. It aims to double the annual number of refugees it accepts, currently around 30, in fiscal 2020 and increase the figure further to 100 or more in around five years.
The refugee issue is becoming more serious across the globe. In December last year, the United Nations confirmed a policy of promoting third-country resettlement.
Japan started accepting refugees under the program in fiscal 2010 for the first time in Asia.
Japan accepted Myanmarese refugees living in Thailand from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2014 and those in Malaysia from fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2018. A total of 174 Myanmarese people in 44 families resettled in Japan over the nine years.
The figure, however, is still small compared with those of the United States and Canada, which annually accept tens of thousands of refugees.
Japan currently accepts only Myanmarese refugee families living in Thailand or Malaysia.
Under its new policy, Japan will also accept refugees born in other countries. The restriction on the current places of living will be eased to cover the entire Asian region.
In addition, Japan will start accepting singles.
If recommended by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the government will also allow those resettled in Japan under the program to be joined by relatives abroad, on condition that they live together.
The government, however, will limit the number of countries from which it accept refugees to one or two per year.