Regarding the Dec. 11 article “Asylum claims nearly double”: As a reader from a developing country, India, I see Japan with respect to technological prowess and a rich cultural history. Yet, one can assume, with Japan’s unique and intricate social landscape, that it is not easy for many who come here to adjust. Japan stands out from the usual destinations for refugees from Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka or Africa.
Asylum seekers who take up permanent residency have added touches of multiculturalism to the suburbs of Toronto, London and Canberra. They have acclimated especially well with local society at these destinations because of the common language, English, rather than because of handouts provided by the government. It is sad when refugees end up destitute.
A proper measure of the Japanese government would be to play a more active role in improving the political and living conditions of the countries where the applicants are hailing from. This should have been the goal of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development and the Group of Eight summit rather than an avenue for visiting dignitaries to bring in a flood of asylum applications. It would be more rational and practical henceforth to have development summits in a developing country instead of at a ritzy setting, unless the government is doing this solely for public relations.
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