Japan must improve the living standards of its own people before it can consider accepting Syrian refugees, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe said, as he announced $1.6b in new assistance for Syrians and Iraqis caught up in conflicts in the Middle East.
Abe’s consistent refusal to consider allowing even a modest number of refugees to relocate to Japan has prompted criticism of the country’s strict policy on asylum: last year, it received a record 5,000 applications but accepted just 11 people.
Speaking at the UN general assembly in New York, Abe insisted Japan must first tackle crises posed by its falling birth rate and an ageing population, and continue its push to boost the number of women in the labour market.
“It is an issue of demography,” Abe told reporters after his speech to the UN general assembly. “I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, elderly people and we must raise our birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants” . . .
“Japan would like to contribute by changing the conditions that give rise to refugees. The cause of this tragedy is the fear of violence and terrorism, and terror of poverty. The world must cooperate in order for them to find a way to escape poverty.” (Read more from “This Country Says It Must Look After Its Own Before Allowing in Syrian Refugees” HERE)