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A Tokyo-based group working to raise awareness of the plight of people seeking asylum in Japan is performing a play that depicts the struggle of a refugee who lives under constant fear of deportation.

The group, which includes people who fled to Japan to escape persecution, “hopes to convey to the Japanese public the lonely and agonizing life of refugees,” one member said.

Japan has long been known for its reluctance to take in refugees.

The group of about 10 amateur performers who make up Theater Nammin to Yume (Refugees and Dreams) have a wide range of backgrounds, from former Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteers to clinical psychologists, who provide counseling to applicants for official refugee status.

The group also puts on art exhibits and engages in other activities to tell refugees’ stories.

The group began preparing for the production, about a Middle Eastern man who is denied asylum in Japan, to express the “feelings that are in the hearts” of people waiting for the outcome of their asylum applications. They gave their first performance in Tokyo’s Hiroo district on July 22.

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