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Tokyo immigration authorities on Monday again took into custody seven Afghans seeking refugee status, in accordance with a decision by the Tokyo High Court in June that they had entered Japan illegally.

The asylum seekers were released later in the day, however, with many observers attributing this outcome to doctors’ warnings that there was a risk some of them attempting suicide in the detention house.

Four of the Afghans were detained for the third time since arriving in Japan last year, another likely reason behind their planned swift release, according to informed sources.

The Tokyo District Court ruled in March the Afghans should be recognized as refugees and that they would be damaged physically and mentally if they were detained again.

When the high court overturned the decision in June, it said suspending their detention for reasons of health is not a valid reason.

Said a representative of the asylum seekers’ lawyers: “The situation in Afghanistan remains unstable, and they may face threats if they return to the country. Some of the asylum seekers have tried to commit suicide during their past detentions, and the doctors say it is dangerous for them to be detained again.”

The seven, who belong to the Hazara ethnic minority, applied for refugee status in Japan last year, saying they had faced persecution from the now-defunct Taliban regime and their lives would be in danger if they were forced to return.

They also filed lawsuits to seek a cancellation of the Japanese government’s decision to deport them.

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