Philippine Digest

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Refugee Application

  1. Q) I saw your legal column through goggles.

I overheard that so many Filipinos have already applied for Refugees so that they can reside and work in Japan. So, I would like to seek assistance with regards to Refugee application of my brother from the Philippines who had been working & maltreated by the police in the Philippines. 

In addition, how much is the fee for this kind of service? Hope to hear some advice from you soon.

Thank you very much.



  1. A)Regarding your question, please find my comment and answer as follows.
  2. What is a refugeeon the Immigration Act?

As you know, the word “refugee” is now used in newspapers, television etc. Some cases are the refugees who escaped war and starvation, or economic situations. And others are refugees of the Convention on the Status of Refugees in 1951 and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1967. So, these are also contained in the “refugee” in a broad sense.

However, the “refugee” stipulated in the Japanese Immigration Act is just only the person (what is called a “Convention refugee”) who corresponds to the definition of Article 1-A-(2) of the Convention on the Status of Refugees in 1951 and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1967 (hereinafter called it “Convention”).

Therefore, the people of others who are called a “refugee”, such a person who escaped war and starvation, or the economic situation from his own country are not contained in the “Convention refugee”.

  1. The definition of the Convention

I am sure you can find the “Convention” in the library, and the meaning of refugee is specified in the first article A-(2) on the Convention as follows.

(2 ) As a result of events occurring before January 1, 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

In the case of a person who has more than one nationality, the term “the country of his nationality” shall mean each of the countries of which he is a national, and a person shall not deemed to be lacking the protection of the country of his nationality if, without any valid reason based on well-founded fear, he has not availed himself of the protection of one of the countries of which he is a national.”

  1. Interpretation of the definition on the Convention

As you can find it, there are five important points in this article as follows:

1) Well-founded fear of persecution

What is the subject (name of an organization/a group) which is persecuting him?

Moreover, what is this subject persecuting as a basis, and does his fear exist the well-founded fear of being persecuted?

In addition to that, although it is not necessary to tell repeatedly, can he substantiate or prove these things?

2) Reasons of persecution

What is the reason for persecution? On Convention, the reason is limited to five items. That is, these are as follows.

  1. Race
  2. Religion
  3. Nationality
  4. Membership of particular social group
  5. Political opinion

Therefore, no other reasons correspond to the Convention refugee.

3) Present residence

Is he now outside the country of his nationality?

4) Protection of his country

This is the most important item. Is he unable to receive the protection of his own country owing to such fear, or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of his own country owing to such fear?

That is, it is impossible to obtain his own passport because his government is persecuting him for some reason (Ex. His political opinion…)

5) Possibility of homecoming

Moreover, is he unable to return to his country owing to such fear, or is he unwilling to return to his country owing to such fear?


That is, he has to correspond to all the above-mentioned definitions in order to be granted his application as a refugee, and there must be nothing at least one lacks. As you see, the main items are the existence of “Well – founded fear of persecutionReasons of persecution”, and “Protection of his country”.

First, your brother has to substantiate and prove a concrete phenomenon and example about the “Well – founded fear of persecution”. While clarifying the organization (Example: name of ministries, offices in the government organization) which has been persecuting to him and the concrete name or title of a person on that occasion, he has to prove what kind of persecution was performed, and he also has to state the contents and to that extent in detail.

Subsequently, referring to the “Reasons of persecution”, there are so many examples seen in the application cases until now. For example, “I received harassment from the head of a Barangay captain”, “the murder preliminary announcement was carried out from IS group in Marawi city”, “I was noticed from the police office by having stolen the fishnet”, “I am followed as a suspect of the murder case which occurred in the neighborhood” etc.

However, these reasons described as “a reason for persecution” are unrelated to five reasons specified in the Convention. As for these, it is not corresponding to the “Reason of persecution” in the Convention. Furthermore, when it would relate with “Protection of the country of its nationality” which is mentioned later, it is obvious that they are not Convention refugees.

Finally, regarding the last one “Protection of his country”, he has to substantiate and prove the “lack of protection by the country of his nationality”, which means that any protection is not given, either from his own country’s government.

For example, when a passport has been already delivered to your brother from the Philippines government and he can visit Japan using his passport, he would not be corresponded to a refugee since the grant of a passport is typically one of protections by the country government and he had already received the protection of his country. It means, although it is surprising, that no applicants of Filipino in the past were admitted as a refugee since they do not correspond to the definition of the Convention. In other words, it can be concluded that they are called the “Camouflaged refugees” since they are those who made the refugee application pretending to be the refugee since he would like to reside and to set to work in Japan.

  1. The Immigration practice

After you would read and check my comment/answer mentioned above, even if your brother still has a feeling that “No, I am not a camouflaged refugee”, I am pleased that you would visit my office and have an interview individually with me, and you could discern the justice. For your information, it is now in the actual condition that the “Camouflaged refugee” of a considerable number have been doing a refugee application now after they were deceived by the shyster. Though the shysters announce such information in order to earn money easily, such as an applicant would have gotten used to being a refugee, please be careful since the refugee application of the camouflaged refugee is not granted by any means.

Such camouflaged refugees not only make the Immigration Bureau confused and trouble, but the applicant himself/herself who applied will be entrapped in a predicament. That is, an applicant would make an application disapproval after being accommodated in the Immigration Bureau for a long period of time after an application and will be deported back to his/her native countries by force as a result of it. In addition to this, some of them (= illegal stay) will be put on a blacklist record and be refused entrance into Japan for five years or more.

I do hope many readers and the persons concerned would read this column.

Office name: Miyoshi International Legal Counsel Office

Telephone/Fax (Japanese/English): 0463-61-6305 (Office) or 090-1436-4107(Mobile phone)



Address: Kanagawa-ken, Naka-gun, Oiso-cho, Higashikoiso 716-2

Nearest station: Oiso station by Tokado Line

Working hour/day: 09:00-18:00/Monday-Friday (Saturday by appointment)

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