tirsdag 22. september 2020

The Desperation of Japan’s Detained Asylum Seekers

Since the 2015 worldwide refugee crisis, the number of people seeking asylum in the Global North has increased dramatically. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that as of last year, there were 79.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world. Among those people, 4.2 million sought asylum. In response, the advanced economies of the Global North have tightened their restrictions on asylum.

In Japan, where I conducted research in 2019, more than 10,000 foreigners sought asylum that year. Prolonged waiting periods of more than 12 months are common here for those who have applied for refugee status. (By comparison, the United States had more than 97,000 asylum seekers in 2018. As I was interviewing asylum seekers in Japan about their prolonged detainment, the U.S. had approximately 42,000 people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)