Europe’s approach to Syria exodus contrasts with Japan’s dodging of refugees

by and

Staff Writers

As Europe faces what is possibly its greatest refugee crisis since World War II, the issue remains a faraway problem for Japan. But with the paltry number of refugees admitted into the country each year — a mere 11 in 2014 — some say there is plenty of room for Japan to play a much more expansive and important role.

Could the journey thousands of kilometers away to Japan be a realistic option for Syrians fleeing their war-torn nation?

On Thursday, the flood of refugees — many from conflict-hit Middle Eastern countries — continued to stream into Europe. In desperate bids to escape, many are gambling their lives on making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

The United Nations estimated earlier this week that at least 850,000 people were expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge on the continent this year and next, though it admitted that even that figure was conservative.

Such astronomical figures have prompted some in Japan to take a long, hard look at its strict refugee policy and how to fix a multitude of pervasive structural problems that have stifled its humanitarian efforts.

While known for providing huge sums in aid on the international stage, Japan has largely been absent from the realm of hosting refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Japan was the No. 2 contributor to the U.N. refugee agency in 2014, donating more than $181 million. But in the same year, Japan’s Immigration Bureau approved just 11 of the 5,000 applications — a mere 0.2 percent — filed by those seeking refugee status.

While Tokyo granted refugee status to three Syrians in 2014, according to the nonprofit Japan Association for Refugees, it has only issued special visas to Syrians since then based on what the government calls “humanitarian considerations.” Under these visas, however, it remains difficult for refugees to bring over their families and create a more stable life in Japan. Compared with those who are granted refugee status, those who receive special visas are ineligible for government assistance, such as Japanese classes and vocational training.

“Given the dire global refugee situation, with an ever increasing number of new refugee emergencies, including the ongoing Syria crisis, itis hoped that the Government of Japan will favorably consider the admission of Syrian refugees on humanitarian grounds, in order to preserve the protection space for Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries, as an important sign of international burden and responsibility sharing,” the UNHCR’s Japan office wrote in a July position paper.

“Such a humanitarian admission can take various forms, including through liberal visa arrangements, family reunification as well as labor migration schemes.”

The government’s apparent reluctance to grant refugee status has prompted at least one lawsuit by Syrian asylum seekers who claim that Japan’s way of interpreting what constitutes a refugee is, by global standards, “outdated” and “rigid.”

These policies have prompted a raft of criticism from both within and outside the country.

Shiho Tanaka, coordinator for the public relations unit at the Japan Association for Refugees, claimed that Tokyo’s approach to refugee issues does not address the assistance needs of the current crisis and lags behind that of other countries confronting the influx of displaced persons.

“Many countries in Europe, which have seen a sharp increase in asylum seekers in recent years, have been broadening their refugee definitions and support for asylum seekers, taking into account their actual needs,” Tanaka said. “They have been addressing the situation by accepting more refugees, still in accordance with the Convention (Relating to the Status of Refugees) and UNHCR guidelines.

“In comparison, Japan has only been processing the applications by strictly abiding by the convention and related guidelines without referring to how other countries have been addressing the changing situation,” Tanaka added.

But a refugee inspector at the Immigration Bureau, part of the Justice Ministry, argued that there are many problems associated with processing refugee claims.

The inspector said that while all refugee claims are screened in accordance with the convention guidelines, those fleeing war zones are not necessarily eligible for assistance.

The convention specifies that those who demonstrate they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group should be deemed refugees.

“But the fact they come from a war zone does not qualify them as a refugee,” he said. “It doesn’t mean, however, they should be sent back to their countries. The point is they can only be granted the refugee status if the information provided matches the requirements specified under the convention.”

Critics have also assailed the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who in March pledged $200 million in aid to help refugees fleeing the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. Two Japanese were beheaded later that month by the extremist group after being held for ransom. Detractors say that aside from throwing cash at the terrorism and refugee problems, Abe’s administration has done little to open Japan’s doors to those affected.

Earlier this week, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Japan was working with the international community to determine what it could contribute in response to the requests for assistance related to Syria.

Meanwhile, Australia said Wednesday that it would accept 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in addition to its existing humanitarian intake of 13,750 refugees for the year.

Mieko Ishikawa, director of Forum for Refugees Japan, said that the Japanese government’s efforts lack transparency, and that its failure to set out specific goals and solutions for any strategy in response to the Syrian refugee crisis have been disappointing.

“In recent years many countries have responded, admitting thousands of people in accordance with the (UNHCR-backed) third-country resettlement program,” she said.

A pilot resettlement program was introduced in Japan in fiscal 2010 to accept Myanmar refugees in Thailand, and was later expanded to include refugees staying in Malaysia.

“But amid the recent crisis, the government, which could apply the existing resettlement and humanitarian emergency aid programs to Syrian refugees, does not appear to be considering such a move,” Ishikawa said. “Unless the quota or the conditions are revised, intake of Syrian refugees will not be possible.”

Also, Ishikawa said, Japan has a reputation for accepting mainly high-profile refugees who are obvious targets of persecution and considered at high risk.

“But most Syrians fleeing the country are common people, not well-known,” she said.

JAR’s Tanaka believes that one of the biggest problems with Japan’s refugee recognition system was written into its Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

“Instead of focusing on providing protection in consideration of applicants’ predicaments, the (government) shows more interest in the process of determining who can be granted the refugee status,” she said. “Such procedures cause asylum seekers to wait for years for their claims to be assessed.”

Tanaka said the convention clearly spells out who is a refugee and obliges all signatories to adhere to this definition. But since there are no guidelines on how the assessments should be carried out, each country has taken a different approach, which is reflected in their varied acceptance rates.

And while Japanese immigration officials have been known to defend their low approval rates by citing the lack of infrastructure to support people with different religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds, Tanaka believes this should not be considered a decisive factor in the assessment process.

Ishikawa of the Forum for Refugees Japan, points out that accepting Syrian refugees might even help Japan defuse its demographic time bomb, by allowing them to contribute to regional revitalization.

As an example of a past success, she cited the intake of more than 11,000 Indochinese refugees from 1978 to 2005, which led to the development of a grass-roots community in Japan.

In that sense, she said, there would be fewer obstacles to integrating the Syrian refugees with Japanese society, because they already have a support network.

“The Muslim community in Japan, with growing businesses addressing their needs, such as accessibility to halal products or mosques, is more securely established than people think,” she said.

Still, actually putting down roots in Japan would likely prove to be a formidable obstacle.

“Acceptance of a large group of Syrian refugees might be challenging for both sides — for Japanese society and those granted refugee status — and would require the establishment of a community infrastructure,” JAR’s Tanaka said.

But Tanaka said there could also be benefits.

“Unlike people coming to Japan intending to stay for a short period of time, those who flee their countries seeking protection and resettlement opportunities are highly motivated and have been recognized as valuable capital in the workplace.”

  • Orion Pax

    NO! Japan is doing a great job not letting these “migrants” in. Look at what they’ve already done to european nations with politicians stupid and corrupt enough to let them in. the u.k. has issues with muslim supremacist jihadists are already in the faces of the native citizens, raping British girls and the stupid incompetent british police are too powerless to stop them because if they do, they’d be branded racist; sweden is now the rape capital of europe since they started letting more and more muslims into the country; muslims in france have set up sharia enclaves where the native French police could not even go in there because it’s too dangerous for them (not to mention they’re jackass politicians have disarmed them, that’s why cops were begging for their lives during the charlie hebdo attacks). wherever muslims go, they simply spell trouble. in the US, allowing muslims in caused 9/11, and now we have several muslim supremacist front organizations disguising as “human rights” advocates that in reality have ties to vicious, violent terrorist organizations (cair).

    Japan doesn’t have this problem. It would be a grave mistake for Japan to let these “migrants” in. the demonic media is playing with people’s emotions when they show small groups of women and children in their cameras, plastering it all over TV. in reality, these “migrants” are able-bodied men of fighting age. when they get to your countries, since most probably don’t have the skills, education and the knowledge of the language, they will be radicalized. that will be the beginnings of your troubles Japan, if you start letting these “migrants” in. don’t be swept by the corrupt, demonic media and the new world order they are working for. you are a strong nation, with a resilient people. letting them into your nation will be a disaster, just as it is turning out now in several european nations and the US, countries with very corrupt, very evil, very demonic politicians.

    • Max Erimo

      I think you forgot the very important point that Japan already has enough stupid and corrupt politicians, without letting in any poor helpless refugees.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Please provide the evidence about these “sharia enclaves where the native French police could not even go in there (sic)” instead of just spouting it as anti-Moslems do.

  • Orion Pax

    and stop, STOP listening to the useless nations (U.N.). it’s a worthless organization just designed to leech off industrialized nations. can you take this bullcrap organization. it has iran as head of their human rights commission for crying out loud. the whole u.n. is a joke. do not let them control you Japan, or you will end up like the United States, a weakening superpower.

  • Sam Gilman

    I think the more or less virtual ban on accepting refugees is both wrong and counterproductive. People are not having enough children here. A well-managed refugee acceptance programme could be helpful for Japan as well as being the right thing to do. (By well-managed, I mean done a lot better than the way the influx of migrants from Brazil were managed, without enough language and social-cultural support).

    • Bernadette Soubirous

      Sam, not having enough children is not the problem in Japan. The problem is abortion. There are too many abortions taking place in Japan due to the stigma placed on condoms.

      • Bill Smith

        What? Whether they have an abortion or use condoms, the end result is the same: no children.

      • Children Of Nephilim

        LOL! I was scratching my head at that comment too!

      • Charles

        Whether I kill Person A or whether Person A is never born, the end result is the same: no Person A.

      • Id

        Wrong. Look at any data available outthere, the abortion rate last year in Japan was about 190 per 1000 live births, where it is (just as an example) 280 per 1000 in France.

        Every serious study explains the lack of children with:

        1- Too many single people that will never get marry and have children. Heck, when you know that around 30% of men 30 years old or older have never been intimate with a woman, you understand that odds are high these man will never reproduce.

        2- The cost of having and raising a child. Having two children is in many cases much more than normal couples can handle. With a very bad lack of kindergartens, and very high fees to pay for everything (it starts with delivering the child at a hospital).

        3- A lack of interest. Family comes after work for a majority of people, and women are not protected well enough to secure they can come back to the same work after their pregnancy, so this makes a lot of people wait until it is too late.

        Since none of those things is going to change any time soon (especially with the current government putting big companies’ economy above every social improvement), having a steady and well-organized flow of immigrants (not only refugees, people from all over the globe) right now could definitely prevent Japan from becoming a joke of a country with too many old people not getting any retirement money, and not enough young people working as hard as they can and still not preventing the downfall of growth and economy.

        The latest “hope ” from the government is to have 100 million Japanese in 2100, while the reality (with today’s birthrate number) will probably by around 60 millions. Once you know this, you understand they would rather have Japan not change and disappear than adapt to the real world and prosper.

      • Jung Kon

        As a Korean born Japanese who is currently living in Japan (18 years). From what I see what Japan want is not “People in Japan” but “Japanese people in Japan” so they won’t take in anyone permanently into Japan. As a Japanese (mom and dad are both Japanese) I who have born outside Japan find it difficult to live here till I decided to hide my origin.I even got language difficulties as I attended an English school throughout my childhood in South Korea which became a huge problem when I became a Japanese citizen after the expulsion of my South Korean nationality.

      • Toolonggone

        Bernadette, that’s patently absurd. There are not many Japanese teenagers who go to the abortion clinic for doing so, compared to the US. Sam is right. Japan’s refusal of accepting refugees is utterly problematic.

      • Ine Chan

        Wwwww what are you talking about ? You are here again to put the blame on abortion ?
        Come on !!

    • bv

      That’s not the point at all. Without the West stirring up war, those people would not be fleeing their own homeland. That is the ONLY point!
      Nobody would mind a few people wanting to live in their nation on their own accord but these people are being forced to leave. Its not every nations job to clean up the crisis WE created.

      • Sam Gilman

        I take your point about the responsibility of certain western nations for contributing to this crisis.

        However, I don’t agree with the argument that if Japan had no hand in the crisis, it should therefore be indifferent to the plight of refugees.

        I would also like to see evidence that refugees make particularly “worse” immigrants than economic migrants.

    • greytreader .

      The reason most countries are facing Islamic terror is because religious politics has begun to transcend nation values and overpowering democracy slowly in the west. Australia is the only safe haven 30yrs from now the rest of the world will be slowly but surely be sucked into this Arabic feud lasting a millenia . Its the Japanese locals that will suffer and soo will their future civilization.

  • tisho

    According to international law, it is illegal to deny asylum to people who come as refugees, regardless if they had came illegally or not. That’s why Japan wants to change the interpretation of who is considered a refugee, in order to make sure they don’t violate international law. Classic tactic of wordplay to bypass international law. That being said, it is best for refugees not to go to Japan. If i were a refugee, Japan would be the last place i would want to go. You will be basically treated like a prisoner, not given any opportunities to work or develop your life farther.

    • QuibONO

      Good on Japan!!!! At least their leadership aren’t
      traitors to their own kind. They know what’s going on
      (like the European ‘traitor-ship’)

  • J Steel

    And Japan is making the right choice for its society and people by refusing to let in refugees. If the point is so that the refugees are safe and have a place to live, then they are technically already safe in neighboring areas like Lebanon and Jordan. Going to Germany already makes them not refugees but economic migrants. In that case, Japan is certainly not the place they will want to be considering the enormous differences in culture and lifestyle.

    Japan is also incredibly safe, clean, and efficient precisely because it does not have the problems that Europe is facing trying to integrate cultures that are polar opposites. As for the very strange argument I hear sometimes about how this can help Japan’s low birthrate, those people need to think a little. Why is it an issue that Japan has a low birthrate? If it’s the potential strain on health and community resources then how does bringing in migrants with no skills and completely no understanding of the culture or language help in this regard. Germany is already predicting that it will spend over $6 billion on the migrants coming in this year. It is already placing enormous strain on the country’s infrastructure and resources like education. Japan certainly does not need these problems in their country and this money can be much better spent on its own citizens.

    And as an ending note, the current crisis is the direct cause of U.S. and Europe war actions and political meddling in the Middle East. The U.S. is being very unfair to Europe as well by letting it bear the full brunt of this crisis considering that it was the main initiator of recent conflicts in the Middle East. It is also a pity that European citizens, including people in countries like Hungary which played no influential role in the cause of the refugee crisis, now have to face the consequences made by the few top European leaders.

    • ChbiM

      “Japan is also incredibly safe, clean, and efficient precisely because it
      does not have the problems that Europe is facing trying to integrate
      cultures that are polar opposites.”

      So you are implying that Europe is dangerous, dirty and inefficient, all because of immigration? Wow. Where I come from you only get that sort of remark from the Stormfront website.

      My experience of multicultural areas in Britain is that they are decent places to live. I don’t feel any less safe there than in Japan. I was at a multicultural event this summer, and it was great; no trouble, and all tidied up beautifully afterwards. Numerous groups with really very diverse values get on very well.

      • J Steel

        “So you are implying that Europe is dangerous, dirty and inefficient, all because of immigration?”

        Europe on a comparative level is more dangerous, dirty, and inefficient. There are many parts of London that I would not want to be outside past a certain time. And I apologize if my statement came off the wrong way, but I meant to say that Japan is not like this because it does not also have to deal with strong opposing cultural forces that clash with its shared societal values. Part of it is the European culture differing from Japan, so there’s the native cultural element in that, but it can be augmented by cultures being even more different.

        For example if we talk about general street cleanliness, coming from New York where we are a lot more relaxed in this regard, if you got a million copies of me and my persona coming into Japan, yes be prepared to see the district where a million copies of me are residing a bit more dirty, because well I’m sorry but I wasn’t raised the Japanese way. In living in Japan, I’m trying to be very understanding of the culture and thus adapting myself to it, but that wouldn’t be the case if a million copies of me were there, because now I have strength in numbers to instill my values.

        In recent German news there are already reports of German girls being harassed by these refugees and German girls being asked to cover up so not to offend the refugees. Previously a girl for example might have generally felt safe going out past dark, but now they might prefer to stay in. This would be a case of opposing cultures where the values of one culture has been stepped on and restricted by another.

        The issue is that people like to think in absolute extremes. Like either these economic migrants are good or bad. Some of the migrants will probably be the nicest people you will ever meet, but bring in 100,000 for example where the cultures are already known to be wildly different, and all you need is a mere fraction of this to make a community go in the negative direction that affects everyone.

      • ChbiM

        I disagree that Europe is fundamentally more dirty, dangerous or inefficient than Japan. It has its less pleasant areas, of course, but every country has unpleasant areas. However, this “unpleasantness” has little to do with immigration. A lot of problem areas were problematic long before immigrants arrived – centuries, in some cases.

        Dirt, danger and inefficiency are relative, too. The town I live in, in Japan, has two little rivers, full of effluent from factories, which stink, and which almost flooded into neighbouring properties this week. There are no pavements, and this makes the roads hazardous to walk along – i mean seriously dangerous, especially at night. Plus you have to go through endless tangles of bureaucracy to get things done. Is it better or worse than Burnley or Accrington (places in England of a similar size and character, but much more immigration)? It’s very much the same, I should say.

        You say that in Germany “Previously a girl … might have generally felt safe going out past dark, but now they might prefer to stay in.” This is plain scaremongering. The right wing press likes to stir up a row when isolated incidents take place, and this adds to a general sense of discomfort. That does not mean that it is any less safe to go out than it used to be. And Syria before ISIS was not a place where girls were required to be covered. It was a secular state – in fact, I have know Syrian girls who faced great opposition from family and friends when they decided to wear the hijab.

        The idea that alll Syrians are raving Islamic fundamentalists is nonsense. Vast numbers of them are ordinary middle-class individuals like you or me, with education and skills. They are the kind of people who get up and go in a crisis and who try to take control of their lives.

        In the 19th century and before, people used to spread howling untruths about Jews and Gypsies – that they would steal or eat children, and so on. Indeed, similar nonsense circulated about the Chinese and Japanese during the “Yellow Peril” period. It was xenophobic, and it was wrong. Most of the stories spread about immigrants nowadays are also xenophobic nonsense.

      • J Steel

        Yes, but you fail to grasp the point of the argument. Japan has issues, but they are Japanese issues. Point me to any statistics where Japan is not miles safer than Europe in terms of safety regarding violent crime. There was a recent US report that ranked Japan number one in safety for women travelers. Japan is the way it is because their culture permeates society. There will be culture clashes if the proportion of migrants that are going to Germany for example end up in Japan at that same proportion. Why wouldn’t there be? New York City is one of the safest big cities in the U.S., but in terms of violent crime it is far more dangerous than Tokyo. Of course the vast majority of people don’t commit violent crime, but there is enough that women don’t go walking alone at midnight in the Bronx or in many parts of Brooklyn, ask any New Yorker. That’s not true in Tokyo, where in general you see girls walking alone in Tokyo past midnight all the time.

        As for the reports on Germany, if you’ve been looking at the news, you would know that there have been rising crimes committed against the Germany natives, and to be fair also against the migrants. But that’s the point, there’s significant tensions. And read my article, no where did I remotely mention that Syrians are “raving Islamic fundamentalists.” That’s not what is causing all the tensions. Look at what is happening in Hungary, Austria etc. where all the migrants are throwing away food and water, fighting with officials who are trying to help, the vast majority aren’t even refugees at this point, but economic migrants bent on trying to get on the best welfare. And absorbing this many migrants is simply catastrophic to its culture and society. If I lived in a village of 100 where we had 2 or 3 newcomers, the village would find that no problem at all. But bring in 20 newcomers, and yes, there would be big issues. People may adapt eventually but it will cause big problems in the short term, especially on this grand country scale that we’re talking about.

        And your last paragraph of the 19th century makes utterly no sense. What was spread then were false rumors about Jews, Gypsies, Chinese etc. You’re talking about something that has no comparison to what we’re discussing right now. Ask yourself why Israel is refusing to allow a single Syrian refugee in their country as well. They’re also cracking down hard against all the African migrants from countries like Eritrea. They’re being morally responsible by providing them medical treatment, giving them food, making sure they’re safe, and then sending them on their way. They recognize that it is not in the best interests of their society to do what Europe is doing because it drains national funds and is not beneficial to their country. The Israeli government mentioned that this is what happens (meaning Europe) when you lose control of your borders. Israel I’m sure would similarly not want a million PhD Japanese scientists migrating to Israel. They would speak no Hebrew and likely minimal English, wouldn’t understand Israeli culture, many wouldn’t accept it as well, and so it would cost the country massive resources to integrate all of them by teaching them the language and getting them accustomed to everything, and at this proportion they may never integrate as they wouldn’t need to, might as well just form a mini Tokyo inside Tel Aviv then.

      • ChbiM

        Europe is nothing like New York, and Tokyo does not constitute the whole of Japan. If Tokyo were as safe as you reckon, my in-laws wouldn’t implore me not to wander round there at night. The police also caution single girls walking around alone in the dark not to do so; they’ve done it to me.

        Besides that, crime statistics prove very little; they are subject to differences in levels of reporting, recording and investigation. Countries employ different criteria when they publish them. For example, domestic violence in Japan is wildly under-reported and under-recorded. Crime cultures are also different. Britain, for example, has no large-scale mafia-style organization. That makes a big difference to the type of crime that happens, the way in which it is dealt with by the police, and way it impacts on the general public and their perceptions of safety.

        And yes, my last paragraph does make sense. Racial stereotyping and fearmongering is going on now in exactly the way it was in the past.

        And why is Israel not accepting refugees from Syria? They have long-standing historical issues and there are already tensions there which they don’t want inflamed. They have enough internal friction to deal with already.

        Nobody has said that Japan should take unsustainably large numbers of refugees. Just that eleven in one year is, by international standards, very, very few, and does not really meet international criteria on how all countries should “do their bit”.

      • J Steel

        I think we’re at a point where we might as well agree to disagree. I respect your perspective and do see where you’re coming from. But wanted to add in one last perspective after some thought.

        “And why is Israel not accepting refugees from Syria? They have long-standing historical issues and there are already tensions there which they don’t want inflamed. They have enough internal friction to deal with already.”

        The thing is that I agree with your above statement. Israel shouldn’t accept any refugees. But what you’re then doing is applying a double standard to your stance. From your stance this is stereotyping then, why shouldn’t Israel accept Syrian refugees. Why shouldn’t they integrate them. These historical issues and internal friction should have no bearing because these refugees should be ordinary people that just want a normal life. The Israel public should be welcoming them with open arms and going out of their way to assimilate them. On a population density scale Israel is about the same as Japan, so maybe they should be accepting the same number of refugees on a per capita basis. And yet Israel is not accepting a single Syrian refugee. The reality is that these Syrian refugees would not do well in Israel due to cultural and historical difficulties already. Israel makes sure they are safe thereby doing the right thing. Accepting them inside Israel would not not be to their (ie. the refugees) long-term benefit. And yet the Israel culture is at least much closer in culture to Syria than Japan. There is already a large culture shock for Westerners in Japan despite the similar liberal tendencies in Japan. It would be culture shock magnified many-fold for these Syrian refugees in coming to Japan. It is likely they would have huge problems adjusting in Japan as they would in Israel, which is not to their long-term benefit. Japan has already donated substantial money over the years to these refugees. If there is the need I guess donating more money might help, but this itself would be the best route in helping them from Japan’s standpoint.

        To your last sentence, Japan does not need to “do their bit.” This crisis is U.S. and Europe’s own doing. The U.S. has agreed to accept a mere 10k Syrian refugees. For a country that probably is the most responsible for this crisis and a country that is in excess of 300 million people and the third largest land area country in the world, this should be shocking. In fact the U.S. would probably be the best place for these refugees since it is a country built by immigrants and has had the most success in assimilating people from around the world. Excluding certain States, the refugees probably have the best chance at long-term success in the U.S.

      • ChbiM

        Israel and Syria have had fairly violent relations for a long time. Japan and Syria haven’t.

        Also, I think my own culture is as different from Japanese culture as Middle Eastern culture is. Certainly the religious gap is enormous, as well as moral and ethical beliefs. However, I have done well enough here.

        Where I agree with you is that the US should be taking far more refugees. They have tons of space which is not being shared as it should be. The same can be said for Australia and, dare I say, Russia, although I’m not sure whether the refugees would be any more at home there than in Eastern Europe.

  • Old Man, Torbay.

    These are not refugees. They are invaders.
    There is a minute percentage of women and children sprinkled amoung them to evoke sympathy. Do not be fooled.
    The vast majority are young, able bodied men of fighting age who are no doubt linked to ISIS. They have no intention of assimilating into the society of countries who offer a helping hand. Their intention is the destruction of anyone or anything that offends them.
    Japan must not let them in.

    • Kevin

      Right, and you got this information from where?

      • Buck

        I do not even comment or reply to these extremely perverted and distorted comments. I advise the same
        for you Kevin. These people cannot be reasoned with.

      • Old Man, Torbay.

        When people resort to insults you know you are correct.
        To Feminist (below), there is nothing racist about telling the truth.
        Thanks to multiculturism there are now no go areas in some of the cities in, for instance, Britain, France and Sweden.

      • ChbiM

        I’m British, and there are no areas in Britain which I would consider to be fundamentally no-go areas. There are places I wouldn’t go alone at night – but they are not places with large immigrant communities. There are also places in Japan I wouldn’t want to be alone in at night.

        Part of my family come from an area which has a high percentage of Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants, and it’s fine. They are not in the least bit frightening, I assure you.

      • Daniel Burke

        You are a liar. And recently we have had HUGE scandals involving Muslim grooming gangs, not to mention repeated attempts at mass murder.

      • ChbiM

        I don’t know why I’m bothering to reply to your hugely offensive comment, but there have been no scandals where I come from. Moreover, compared to the number of abuse scandals involving white men, dating back decades, the number involving what you term “Muslim grooming gangs” have been small. Those gangs were not all “Muslim” anyway.

        You have come late to this discussion, which makes me suspect that you are an anti-immigration, anti-Europe campaigner who searches around on the net for forums to post unpleasant comments on.

    • FeministSafeZone.Blogspot.c0m

      You’re being racist and I’m reporting you for Racism. Japan needs to let these people in so it can be multicultural like the west is. Multiculturalism is obviously the right thing to do because it makes countries stronger through diversity. Hey, look at how much better Europe is, right?

  • COYP

    The ones in Turkey and Lebanon are refugees the ones who cross multiple borders and try to pick and choose their destination are economic migrants.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Japan and others could do with a controlled number of economic migrants but a distinction should be made the word refugee is being bandied around too much to pull on the heartstrings of the facebook and buzzfeed generation who have quickly moved on from Cecil the lion and Syrian refugees is their cause for this week.

    • Buck

      Your definition is false and absurd. Imagine you used that same logic for the Jews. They flee Germany to boarding Netherlands. At this point even before Naxi expansion,
      decide to flee to America. Under your definition they are simply economic migrants. A refugee is not restricted to only flee to boarding countries. I understand your point they are no longer in imminent danger, but they are still outside their country and cannot return because of fear of persecution. They
      have a right to claim asylum in any country they can make it to, not just boarding countries. Apply this same logic to the various other asylum seekers around the world is even more absurd. Think of refugees from North Korea, you cannot honestly expect them to stay in China, or Tibetans can only flee to Nepal, the
      list goes on.

      • COYP

        When you’ve got blokes blocking a motorway in Denmark wanting to go to Sweden because they weren’t impressed with the treats Germany offered I tend to feel their situation is a tad less grim than Jews fleeing the nazis or North Koreans fleeing fat boy.

  • Stephen Kent

    Although Japan was not involved in creating the situation in Syria that led to the current refugee crisis, I feel that with the prime minister’s new security legislation currently going through parliament, the refugee conversation is one that needs to be had in Japan, since displaced persons are an inevitable consequence of armed conflict and there is a higher chance that Japan will become involved in such a conflict after the legislation is inevitably passed.

    Personally, I can’t help but feel not at all threatened by these refugees, as despite what a lot of media would have us believe, most if not all of them seem to be normal people who had normal jobs (up to now I’ve seen engineers, lawyers, doctors, and surgeons being interviewed) and are just trying to get out of a situation where their lives are obviously in danger; they are not some kind of undercover ISIS army. The whole ‘lack of infrastructure’ argument (including, when it comes to Syrian refugees, a lack of mosques and halal meat as claimed by some – as if just praying and not eating meat wouldn’t solve those issues) seems to me to be a bit of a cop out for a country that is a signatory to the UN refugee convention, and it sounds like an indirect way of saying “we just don’t want to take in any refugees”, but again I suppose you could make the argument that this particular situation has very little to do with Japan. What I feel should be asked, however, is would the Japanese government be willing to accept war refugees if they were the result of a conflict in which Japan’s armed forces had been involved? Or if one of the parties in such a conflict was a client of newly unrestrained Japanese arms manufacturers? That kind of question needs to be asked in Japan – the focus should not just be on what does or does not constitute self-defence.

    While the situation in Syria may not be related to Japan, I think it would be great if the Japanese government were to offer to take in some Syrian refugees, even a relatively small number, as a humanitarian gesture. But I don’t think this is likely to happen as I feel one of the reasons they (and most governments in general) are reluctant to do so is because helping refugees demonstrates to people that in fact the resources to provide significant assistance to those in need are indeed available, but simply giving them to people flies in the face of the “you have to work in a job to deserve food and a livelihood” doctrine that we are all brought up to believe.

    From a broader perspective, it would also be good if this refugee situation served to raise awareness in Japan of the way its government tends to behave in terms of international conventions. In most cases, be it a refugee convention, whaling treaty or anti-tobacco agreement, the aim of the Japanese government always seems to be to enjoy the benefits of being a signatory without actually fulfilling any of the comensurate responsibilities, often by relying on extremely rigid interpretations or technicalities. This would perhaps contradict the “exemplary member of the international community” image that the government likes to project, and uses as one of its justifications for passing the new security legislation.

    • QuibONO

      So far, at least Japan looks after its own in regards to immigration
      (what’s wrong with that?)…A somewhat sovereign nation.
      In contrast look at what’s happening to Europe. Traitorous ‘CONTROLLED leadership’ who are following the divide/rule orders
      from their masters.
      The Ultimate goal: A One world Communist Global dictatorship,
      and communism was founded by? Look it up.
      ‘We fought the wrong side':
      General Patton (who was later going on to make a speaking tour exposing these jews)…to shut him up he was murdered in his hospital bed)

      • ChbiM

        Oh, General Patton, who abused the Jews in the concentration camps he was supposed to be caring for in the wake of the German defeat after the war, and who called then “lower than animals”? A vile anti-Semite.

        Again, not the kind of rhetoric I expected to see in the JT. Shameful.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    To be honest any comments here are moot. Japan hasn’t even accepted the proposal BY THE L.D.P. in 2008 to increase it’s intake of migrants to 10% of the population. The chances of it suddenly saying “Yes” to thousands of displaced refugees are about as close to zero as you can get.

  • Michele Marcolin

    What’s strange? Japan is a well-known xenophobic country with an inferiority complex. The only thing they are interested in is in having others recognize them as peer and high level culture, possibly higher than surrounding Asian countries. As for the rest they do not give a crap of what happens around the world, as long as people do not ask to work, a visa or menace to take over something from them. Said that, I believe their approach may be correct: you first protect yourself and your citizens and then think about those who do not contribute to your welfare. Not like European idiot governments, who, despite being into a crisis – both economical and social – keep on opening their borders, having their own citizens providing economically for that, while politicians and companies involved in immigration speculate on it. Refugee is a too general term… While normal people need to bust their a**es to get visa and job to get a simple – sometimes very sacrificed life – while refugees get the right to ‘demand’ what and even more than other can’t get despite having more rights…?

  • ChbiM

    Many of the Syrians I have met have been rather secular in orientation. I don’t think that coming from an Islamic background would be any obstacle to them settling in Japan, any more than coming from a Catholic background would be a problem for an Italian. The idea that everybody in the Middle East is very religiously committed is, I think, mistaken.

    There are some very well educated and skilled people trying to escape ISIS. Any country who hosted them would find them a benefit rather than a problem.

  • Kazuhiro Shino

    Japanese bureaucracy is adamantly xenophobic regardless immigration is concerned education of language is deliberately sabotaged early any Japanese are able to speak foreign languages Japanese bureaucracy is still remain the formation & doctrine as pre world war 2 which never welcome foreigners in Japanese establishment that’s the fact why Japan is still negotiating many issues which have raised over 40 years ago that’s the proof post world war 2 US occupation has not reformed bureaucracy since then many attempts but non has succeeded after all bureaucratic banality is one of the biggest hindrance of staled economy & social reform

  • ajaxJohnson

    Why would Japan want to self destruct like US and Europe?

  • Hanamanganda

    The European intake of refugees is a horrible mistake. Islam is going to ruin that continent. 10% of Germany’s youing men will be Muslim. The societal disruption will be terrible, and demographically the stage is set for Germany to not exist in its current form by the end of the 21st century, or soon.

    Japan must not open its borders.

  • ChbiM

    There’s a saying – “Don’t believe everything you read in the Daily Mail”. It’s not reputed for balanced and impartial journalism.

    • QuibONO

      Just need to use your ->Critical Thinking Brain<- to discern fact from lies. Simple!

      • ChbiM

        The result of the last UK election pretty much confirms how little critical thinking goes in in regard to what the tabloids print.

      • Daniel Burke

        So your rebuttal is to say they are lying. Just stick your head back in the sand, you idiot.

      • ChbiM

        How rude.

  • bv

    Instead of debating taking in or not taking in millions of unsettled refugees displaced by Zionist intervention you should be using all your energy to demand an end to the wars. Assad has done nothing wrong, yet there is the West – once again – with their patented regime change – unsettling millions and creating a human crisis – and all you people can do is debate about what to do with them all. Listen to yourselves.

    • Hanamanganda

      Every Islamic country in the is a hellhole of poor or no human rights. Why would any sane nation want to take that in?

      • bv

        Good question. Why is Europe flooded with them? Either they are all insane or someone has bought off their leaders.

      • MeTed

        Wrong. It all started with the Arab spring, and when the people rose up against Asad. Although he may be better than the alternative, he was a ruthless ruler not unknown to torture and murder. After this rising, quite a while after it began actually, the West got involved. This is not the Wests doing at all.

      • bv

        LIES LIES LIES……..Arab Spring is a media concoction and nothing else. The people didn’t rise against Assad – the Western backed Proxy warriors “rose up” the same as they did in Libya, Egypt, and the Ukraine – or do you think the 5 billion dollars Nuland gave to Kiev was just a gift?
        Europe is flooded with a human wave of refugees due to Western intervention, America is next and so will be Japan if they fall for the scam.

      • Hanamanganda

        I guess every fact you don’t like is a lie. Must be those darn Zionists…. maybe the Rothschilds and the Mossad are involved. Don’t forget the Freemasons.

      • bv

        It is the fault of Zionism. It is that very ideology that has lead to all this chaos. You act like the truth is a conspiracy theory.

      • QuibONO

        Agreed – but the devil is in the details~
        Ultimately BEHIND Zionism is the talmudic International banking cabal (Rothschild cabal)

        Zionism was created/desired by 2nd Baron Walter Rothschild.

      • ChbiM

        That is anti-Semitic nonsense. The idea that there is some kind of supranational Jewish conspiracy is racist in the extreme. I’m surprised to see this sort of rhetoric come up in the Japan Times comments column. Does this sort of comment come from within the international community in Japan? I sincerely hope not. One would hope they had more empathy with groups who are scapegoated and permanently regarded as outsiders.

      • ChbiM

        “The people voted for Assad” ? The elections were described as a “charade”. Doesn’t it look a tad fishy when the same bunch get in who have been in power throughout living memory?

        I’m not necessarily advocating intervention – although ISIS has to be got rid of for everyone’s safety. But it’s naive to suggest that Assad has heartfelt democratic support.

    • ChbiM

      Zionist intervention? So many people so quick to denounce Israel; looks suspiciously like knee-jerk anti-Semitism to me. The Middle East situation goes back long before the foundation of Israel; it goes back beyond Roman times, into the Biblical era. There have been land disputes out there practically since civilization first began. That is part of the reason why the situation is so difficult to deal with.

      Assad, by the way, is no angel, and neither was the one before him. Syria has long been a repressive state, and the problem with repressive states is that they are liable to break down in the most unpleasant of ways.

  • Revelation

    One never knows if there are also terrorists posing as migrants. Imagine having such scum covering more territory in various places across the world, and how much more of a danger that would present. For this reason alone, I can see why the Japanese government would not want to invite such people inside. Well, that reason and the indisputable fact that Japan wants to preserve a “pure blood” society, hah.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Could you just clarify if you’re referring to terrorists, or Muslim refugees as “scum”?

      • Revelation

        Terrorists.

  • bv

    Ask yourself why Israel doesn’t volunteer to do their fair share. Do they deserve to be a pure Jewish state and preserve their own culture yet no one else? Tell Israel “You first”

    • Hanamanganda

      There are 40+ Islamic states, and no one is threatening to destroy them.

      There is one jewish state, and most of the countries in its neighbourhood, including the ones from which most of the migrants come, threatened to destroy it.

      The difference seems pretty clear to me.

      • bv

        So you are saying Israel DOES deserve to be a pure Jewish state but no one else?

      • Hanamanganda

        Israel has treated Affricans fleeing to its borders better than the Muslim countries have. That’s why they flee, though Libya, Egypt to get to Israel.

        Saudi Arabia and others are “pure” islamic states. Don’t seem taking any of their brethern, do we? In fact they are the main cause of the Syrian war, and fund it.

      • bv

        The Israeli Govt just told the African migrants – “Go back to your country or go to prison” Israel’s lobby AIPAC lobbied for and instigated America’s involvement, they themselves have bombed Assad’s forces, and the only Arabs they harbor are wounded members of ISIS which they more than likely fund. Now they are not even liable for any of the damages incurred? Everyone else is suppose to handle the collateral damage while they refuse to even take in one family? You think that’s ok?

      • QuibONO

        Now you’re talk’n outs your Ass! Idiot!!!!!!!!!

  • greytreader .

    Why should political struggles of a civilization gone wrong punis the rest of the world with sain civilization?

  • Muqtadir Mohammad

    Because importing millions of people that will live on government handouts, increase crime as well as social and racial tensions (as is the case in Europe) sure is the answer to that “problem” of low fertility in Japan, right?

  • Tom

    Fun fact: Japanese people don’t even take kindly to ethnic Japanese who were born and raised outside Japan (and thus might be very disconnected from Japanese culture). While they may not have cults running around screaming “Death to ” like the KKK, or police officers gunning down unarmed minorities, they can be extremely racist, though it’s more a case of xenophobia rather than hating on someone’s skin colour or culture.

    It’s not surprising at all that they would refuse to take in any Syrians.

    Even if they did, I can’t see it ending well due to Japanese xenophobia. There would be a lot of social tension developing in a short time, potentially escalating into violence, because the Syrians would be thrown into a hostile land with no supporting community and zero opportunities for them to get ahead. It’d be much worse than in Europe or the Americas, where the Syrians would at least be able to connect with local Arab communities for support. The Syrians and the Japanese don’t even have a common language! Educated Syrians who have learned another language most likely learned English, which is far more useful in Europe and the Americas than it ever will be in Japan. Fat chance any of them speak Japanese, while most Japanese can’t speak English well if at all.

  • Tom

    Fun fact: Japanese people don’t even take kindly to ethnic Japanese who were born and raised outside Japan (and thus might be very disconnected from Japanese culture). While they may not have cults running around screaming “Death to ” like the KKK, or police officers gunning down unarmed minorities, they can be extremely racist, though it’s more a case of xenophobia rather than hating on someone’s skin colour or culture.

    It’s not surprising at all that they would refuse to take in any Syrians.

    Even if they did, I can’t see it ending well due to Japanese xenophobia. There would be a lot of social tension developing in a short time, potentially escalating into violence, because the Syrians would be thrown into a hostile land with no supporting community and zero opportunities for them to get ahead. It’d be much worse than in Europe or the Americas, where the Syrians would at least be able to connect with local Arab communities for support. The Syrians and the Japanese don’t even have a common language! Educated Syrians who have learned another language most likely learned English, which is far more useful in Europe and the Americas than it ever will be in Japan. Fat chance any of them speak Japanese, while most Japanese can’t speak English well if at all.