• Kyodo News


Justice Minister Jinen Nagase has again refused to recognize an Afghan man as a refugee even though a court ruled he deserves such status, according to the man’s lawyer.

The ruling last year recognized Ali Jane, 25, as a refugee and said he should not be deported. He sought refugee status in 2001 for fear of persecution at home for being a member of an anti-Taliban family.

The justice minister decided not to grant him the status because the Taliban regime has been ousted, lawyer Koichi Kodama said Monday.

The Justice Ministry admitted it is rare to make a decision that goes against a finalized court ruling.

Jane is married to a Japanese and thus holds a special residency permit, but Kodama said he should be recognized as a refugee or the ruling will lose its significance.

“Currently, the Taliban’s influence is reviving and he should be recognized as a refugee,” he added.

The Tokyo High Court found in September that Jane entered Japan via Pakistan in August 2001, but having no passport he was detained at an immigration center in Ibaraki Prefecture as an illegal entrant.

Citing fear of persecution, he applied for refugee status with the justice minister but was rejected in September 2001 and ordered deported.

He was released on a temporary basis in July 2002.

The high court recognized him as a refugee, upholding a lower court ruling. The government did not appeal the high court ruling, leading it to be finalized.

A ministry official in charge of refugee recognition said, “When time passes since an application, the decision is not always the same as the court ruling because we consider the change of situation in the home country after the application has been filed.”

For related stories:
Afghan man is refugee: high court
Asylum seeker holds onto hope
Afghan detainee qualifies for refugee status: court

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