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Mazlum Balibay paves Japan’s roads, digs its sewers and lays its water pipes — all for a country that doesn’t want him.

Balibay, 24, is a Kurdish asylum seeker who fled to Japan more than eight years ago after he said his family was persecuted by Turkish security forces who tortured his father. He has since been on provisional release from immigration detention, which means he is barred from working while the immigration authorities consider his application for asylum and could be detained again at any time.

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