Refugee status applications exceed 1,000 for 1st time

The number of applicants for refugee status in the nation reached 1,015 as of early September, the most applications in one year since the system to grant asylums began in 1982, according to a nonprofit organization supporting the refugees.

The Tokyo-based Japan Association for Refugees, which offers support to the applicants, said it was the first time the number exceeded 1,000. The previous record was in 2006, with 954 applications.

Behind the rapid rise is believed to be an increase of politically unstable nations, particularly in Asia.

With more applicants slowing down the application process, the association said the central government should take swift action to address the problem.

In addition to the long examination period, obtaining refugee status is very difficult.

The authorities have annually approved the status of only one to 46 applicants since 1996.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080930TDY02302.htm

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