Ahead of World Refugee Day on Thursday, attention has been turning to just how well Japan — the world's third-biggest economy — has been fulfilling its responsibilities as a signatory of the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention this year.

Justice Ministry data shows Japan, a country known for its strict refugee screening process, has granted refugee status to 42 asylum-seekers so far in 2019 — a figure that is double that of last year. This increase has been welcomed by refugee support groups, but critics have noted that the overall refugee acceptance rate is still very low and the core issues have not been resolved.

The government has maintained that the majority of the applicants are "fake refugees" who are attempting to use their application status to get work permits, which the government had previously issued unconditionally six months after a person applied for asylum. The government restricted that system in January last year.