The recent changes in patterns of refugee migration have caused debate amongst policy-makers. Japan’s refugee policy has been described as ‘Refugee Seclusion-ism’ (‘Nanmin Sakoku’ in Japanese), though Japan took in more than 11,000 Indo-Chinese refugees between 1978 and 2005. Although the UK prides itself on its long history of providing protection to people fleeing persecution, charity organisations have referred to its recent refugee policies as ‘devastating.’ Refugee policies in both Japan and the UK are strictly controlled, with large numbers of claims rejected every year. Critics argue that more should be done to help people fleeing conflict zones.
This seminar discussed current refugee protection policies and related issues in Japan and the UK. It also explored how the governments of these countries are dealing with Syrian refugees.
A video of the seminar can be found here:
About the contributors
Maurice Wren joined the Refugee Council as Chief Executive in March 2013, having previously worked in the homelessness and refugee protection fields with Shelter and Asylum Aid, where he was Director for twelve years. Maurice co-founded the ground-breaking Independent Asylum Commission in 2007 and Detention Forum in 2009, and is presently Co-Chair of the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum at the Home Office, and Chair of UK Refugee Week. He is a Trustee of Migrant Voice; Every Casualty Worldwide; and the European Network on Statelessness; and was made a Patron of Action Foundation in 2016. Last year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Edinburgh in recognition of his humanitarian work with refugees.
Naoko Hashimoto is a Research Associate of the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London. She has 15 years of practical experience in refugee and forced migration issues, working for the Government of Japan, UNHCR and IOM in New York, Geneva, Sri Lanka, and Tokyo, among others. She has numerous publications on refugee and migration issues both in English and Japanese, has served many projects as an independent advisor, and regularly appears in the media. She holds a Master of Studies in Forced Migration from the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of London (Queen Mary and UCL). She is currently writing up her PhD thesis at the University of Sussex, analysing why Japan started to admit refugees through resettlement in 2008.
Matthew Gibney (Chair) is Professor of Politics and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. He specialises in the political and ethical issues raised by refugees, citizenship, and migration control. Matthew’s books include The Ethics and Politics of Asylum (2004), Globalizing Rights (2003), and (with Randall Hansen) Immigration and Asylum (2005), a three-volume encyclopedia. His research has appeared in journals including the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Political Studies and Citizenship Studies, as well as several anthologies. He has held Visiting Professor positions at Monash University, the University of Toronto, and the University of New South Wales.