• Kyodo

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Nine Myanmarese men applied for refugee status at the Nagoya Immigration Bureau on Monday, saying they may be persecuted if they return home because of their involvement in Myanmar’s prodemocracy movement during their stay in Japan.

It is rare for Myanmarese to file joint applications for refugee status. They generally try not to draw attention to themselves for fear that family members in their home country may be persecuted.

The applicants are in their 20s to 40s and, with one exception, have all overstayed their visas, according to a supporter, Khin Maung Hla, 39.

“If they return home, their lives are in danger. I want the Japanese government to urge Myanmar to become democratic,” he said.

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