II. Information on Individual Articles of The Covenant

Article 11

Non-fulfillment of a contractual obligation in Japan merely gives rise to civil obligation to compensate. As has been stated in the Third Periodic Report, such non-fulfillment does not constitute a crime under Japanese law. No one may, therefore, be detained on that ground.

Article 12

Policies of Japan on refugees

(a) Treatment of and procedures for recognizing refugees

Since the " Convention relating to the Status of Refugees" and the " Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of 31 January 1967" took effect in Japan in 1982, Japan has been faithfully and rigidly carrying out the various stipulations set out in the Convention and the Protocol. The system and its implementation of Japan on recognition of refugees and on landing permission for temporary refuge as provided in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, conform with the content of the above-mentioned Convention and the Protocol.

(b) Refugees stipulated in the " Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees" and the " Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of 31 January 1967"

As of the end of September 1996, the status of processing work concerning the recognition of refugees is as follows;

Applications accepted1,259 persons
Applications withdrawn 201 persons
Recognized as a refugee208 persons
Rejected702 persons
In processing148 persons

(c) Indochinese Refugees

(i) The number of refugees who have settled in Japan from the three Indochinese countries, namely Viet Nam, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Cambodia, is 10,085 as of the end of September 1996.

(ii) Boat People

As for the so-called " Vietnamese boat people" , Japan had been allowing their landings since May 1975. In order to cope with the rapid increase of boat people, a so-called " screening system" (which aims to draw a distinction between genuine refugees fleeing from persecution and so-called economic refugees seeking a more affluent life ) to examine landing permission for temporary refuge had been put into practice since September 13 1989. This system was introduced based on agreements reached at the International Conference on Indochinese Refugees held in June 1989.
However, this system of examining landing permission for temporary refuge was suspended after March 5, 1994 following the agreements reached by the steering committee of the same Conference held in February 1994, in view of changes in the political and economic situations of Indochina in recent years. Since then, procedures are taken to forcefully deport boat people from Indochina as illegal aliens, just like other foreigners who are in Japan illegally. In cases where these boat people make claims that they are refugees, procedures for recognition of refugee status are to be set in motion.
The number of boat people who have entered Japan as of March 4, 1994 is 13,768. The number of boat people who have arrived between March 5, 1994 and the end of September 1996 is 171.

Article 13


(a) Determination Procedure for Deportation of Foreigners

Deportation of foreigners from Japan is implemented in accordance with the " Immigration Control and Refugee-Recognition Act" (the Act), which stipulates the grounds and procedures for deportation.

The Act clearly establishes the grounds for deportation. The procedures under the Act aim at confirming whether a suspected ground for deportation in fact exists, while simultaneously allowing the suspect to present his/her objections.

More precisely, a foreigner, who has been found subject to deportation by an Immigration Inspector on one or several grounds established in the Act, may request an oral hearing before a Special Inquiry Officer, if he/she objects to the Immigration Inspector's foundings. Furthermore, if the foreigner objects to the Special Inquiry Officer's decision that a ground for deportation exists, he/she may file an appeal to the Minister of Justice requesting a final decision by the Minister of Justice.

These procedures, which are often called " preliminary procedures," take place before a final decision on deportation is taken. No actual deportation is carried through during these procedures. In addition to the full protection provided by this preliminary procedures of three stages, the foreigner, for whom deportation has finally been decided under the above-mentioned proceedings, may seek judicial relief under Japan's judicial system to contest an administrative decision.

Moreover, the above-mentioned oral hearings offer the suspect opportunities to present his/her opinions or introduce exculpatory arguments and evidence. The suspect may appoint an attorney and receive his or her assistance.

(b) Exceptional Cases of Deportation to Countries where there are Possibilities of Personal Persecution

With respect to the countries to which deportees are returned, the so-called " Non-Refoulement" Rule, whereby in principle no foreigner may be deported to a country or region where he/she will be persecuted, is clearly declared in Article 53, Paragraph 3 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

However, the " Non-Refoulement" Rule does not apply to those cases, where the Minister of Justice decides that Japan's interests or public security would be gravely harmed by applying the Rule. In other words, the Rule does not apply to those who the Minister of Justice recognizes to be dangerous to the security of Japan, and those who were sentenced to imprisonment for one year or more and are recognezed by the Minister to be dangerous to the society.

Back to Index