A Myanmarese activist filed a lawsuit Oct. 9 against the Justice Ministry, demanding it reverse its earlier decision to reject his application for refugee status and deport him.The ministry’s decision in the case of 42-year-old Mya Wai will probably set the tone for the 81 other Myanmarese applying for refugee status in Japan, said Shogo Watanabe, one of the 22 lawyers representing Mya Wai. Government officials said they denied Mya Wai, a founding member of the Burmese Association in Japan, refugee status on Aug. 13 for not meeting the 60 Days Rule, which requires that asylum-seekers apply for refugee status within 60 days of entering Japan.Mya Wai, who first came to Japan in 1987, last entered the country with a forged passport in January 1992. He finally applied for refugee status in 1995, said his lawyers, who added that Mya Wai had still been considering returning to Myanmar to join his family.Mya Wai, who has been detained at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau since August, was arrested four times by Myanmar’s military junta for participating in peace demonstrations and distributing prodemocracy fliers. “Mya Wai seemed ill when I visited him (at the immigration office) on Sept. 26,” said his friend, Gon Aung, also an activist. “My brother was arrested by the military junta and Mya Wai will also face the same danger if he gets deported to Burma.””Because the military junta suspects activists in Japan sent a (April 6) parcel bomb that killed the daughter of one of the country’s top officials of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council, Mya Wai will be in serious danger,” Watanabe said, adding that Tokyo should be understanding of Mya Wai’s situation and issue the refugee status. Only eight Myanmarese activists have been so far been granted refugee status in Japan, compared with the several hundred who have been granted asylum in other countries, Watanabe said.

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