Opinion Aiming at the Improvement of Support for the Lives of Refugee Applicants
The number of refugee applicants has been rapidly increasing, and as a result, procedures to examine their applications have been taking more time. Under these circumstances, the budgeted financial aid for refugee applicants, which is the only support for refugee applicants in Japan, was depleted and partially suspended in December 2008. Furthermore, in 2009, the Government of Japan restricted the eligibility of refugee applicants for financial aid.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) was concerned about this situation and adopted the “Opinion Aiming at the Improvement of Support for the Lives of Refugee Applicants” on June 18, 2009. It was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Ministry of Finance, the Refugee Assistance Headquarters in Japan, and other organizations on June 23, 2009.
- In order to enable refugee applicants to earn a living in Japan, the prohibition on working in the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act should be lifted in the case of refugee applicants six months from the filing date of an application for refugee status. In addition, the law should clearly state that refugee applicants falling into the aforementioned category may work.
- In order to guarantee that refugee applicants are able to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living, administrative services such as national health insurance and welfare public assistance should be provided to refugee applicants.
- The financial aid is indispensable and the sole support of refugee applicants. Thus, the Government should immediately secure a sufficient budget for financial aid to be provided to refugee applicants in a continuous, stable, fair, and equitable manner. In addition, the period during which refugee applicants are eligible to receive financial aid should be extended. Refugee applicants in litigation that concerns refugee matters should also be eligible for financial aid. Furthermore, the amount of financial aid available for a refugee applicant should be increased to a level at least equal to that of the welfare public assistance available for a Japanese citizen.
June 18, 2009
Japan Federation of Bar Associations