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A panel urged the Justice Ministry Friday to conduct more in-depth background checks on those applying for refugee status, and not just rush them through the system if they don’t at first appear to meet the requirements for approval.

The panel looked at 32 cases where the ministry fast-tracked applications after the reasons given for seeking asylum did not meet the requirements for approval.

Its report on Friday said no inappropriate decisions were discovered in the 32 instances, but “in some cases, it seemed as if the applications were judged to be ineligible for consideration for granting refugee status … without their backgrounds having been thoroughly investigated.”

The panel’s main concern is that some applicants may not initially reveal information that could lead to acceptance.

For example, if the reason given has to do with a troubled relationship, particularly when the applicant is female, examiners should look at the possibility that a forced marriage might be involved, or may human trafficking, sexual exploitation or other abuse.

When asylum seekers apply more than once, which can flag them for vetting under the expedited procedure, examiners should be more careful and considerate in giving them chances to explain their situations more thoroughly, the panel said.

The panel advised that when accepting applications or conducting interviews on asylum seekers, refugee examination officers should gather more detailed background information on the applicants themselves and conduct research separately about their countries of origin, and that the ministry should “continuously review its refugee examination procedures and improve its fairness and efficiency.”

The panel was formed as a part of the ministry’s effort on revising its refugee examination procedure announced in September 2015.

Last year, the nation accepted 28 refugees, a tiny fraction of the 10,901 people who applied for the status. The number of applications jumped 44 percent from the previous year in 2015, but number of refugees accepted increased only by one.

The panel members include Saburo Takizawa, a former representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Yozo Yokota, a special advisor to the Justice Ministry.

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