Japan has enacted an immigration law on Friday allowing the government to deport failed asylum seekers, despite pushback from opposition parties and rights groups.
Until the revised legislation was passed, applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status.
Now they can be deported after three rejections.
The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules”, Justice Minister Ken Saito has said.
“There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” even if they are not fleeing danger or persecution, according to Saito
Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations”.
It has also accepted more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.
Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.