The first two ethnic Karen families who arrived from Myanmar under a third-country resettlement program have rejected an offer to continue working on a farm in Chiba Prefecture where they were training, and are currently residing in Tokyo, one of their lawyers said Wednesday.

The two families, seeking asylum after staying in a refugee camp in Thailand, came to Japan last year as part of a three-year pilot program run by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. They had been undergoing farm training in Yachimata, Chiba Prefecture, under a government-sponsored program.

In late September, lawyers representing the two families submitted a proposal to the Foreign Ministry demanding improvements to their working conditions, which they claimed involved extremely long hours and physically demanding work.