Japan Feature | Refugees & Immigrants

The Narrow Lane of Life for Refugees in Japan

“The truth is I have lived in Japan for such a long time. … All I want to do is work and carry out a decent life.”

Despite international pressure, Japan has allowed only a trickle of politically persecuted and war-fleeing migrants to make their way into the country, with migrants only accounting for 2% of the population. The government’s economy-first stance has led some to question political blindness to the relationship between immigration and the economy, and Japan’s declining birth rate and aging population have led pro-immigration advocates and the business community alike to push for a relaxation of immigration policies.

The New York Times takes a closer look at the situation facing Kurdish refugees in the context of Japan’s political and cultural resistance to immigration. Visa-free travel made Japan an alluring destination as violence in the 1990s led many Turkish Kurds to look abroad for relief from conflict, but arrivals have found significant resistance to demographic change in the country. The same fears that drive anti-immigrant sentiment globally have been amplified in the largely ethnically homogeneous echo chamber of Japan: ignorance of cultural backgrounds, limited economic prospects, and hyperpolicing have created a narrow lane for Kurds to thrive.

Read more:
Ethnic Kurds Find Haven, but No Home, in Insular Japan” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Ko Sasaki/The New York Times)

Peru News | Women

#NiUnaMenos demonstrations brings tens of thousands out in Peru
  • The campaign, which has ignited throughout Latin America, protests the high levels of gender-based violence women face, with a particular focus on women’s and girls’ vulnerability to femicide.
  • Peru’s women’s minister indicated that 10 women are killed per month in the country, with an additional 20 attempted murders.
  • A series of court rulings that gave reduced or lenient sentences to perpetrators of violence against women led to social media outcry, which has fueled the demonstrations that reportedly brought out more at least 50,000 in downtown Lima, including the President and First Lady.

Read more:
#NiUnaMenos: 50,000 protest violence against women in Lima” (Peru Reports)
Women in Peru protest against rising tide of murder and sexual crime” (The Guardian)
#NiUnaMenos: así fue la marcha contra la violencia a la mujer” (El Comercio, in Spanish)

(Image Credit: Omer Musa Targal/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Canada News | Indigenous

Killing of Indigenous man stokes racial tensions in Saskatchewan
  • Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man belonging to the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot and killed by a farmer while driving with four friends on private property near Glenside.
  • The shooter was arrested and charged with second-degree homicide, but First Nation leaders have accused the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of releasing a prejudicial press release to bias public opinion against the victim.
  • A torrent of racist social media comments led the Saskatchewan premier to issue a warning that laws would be enforced to prosecute online hate speech.

Read more:
Racial tensions flare in Saskatchewan after shooting of Indigenous man” (The Guardian)
Racial tensions flare in Saskatchewan after killing of First Nations man” (The Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail)
‘We are all in shock’: 22-year-old man fatally shot in farmyard, 54-year-old man charged with murder” (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

(Image Credit: via The Guardian)

Iran News | Dual Nationals

Iran arrests British-Iranian dual national as crackdown continues
  • An Iranian prosecutor indicated through state media that an Iranian-British dual national had been arrested for links to British intelligence services.
  • The official indicated that the arrest was a part of an ongoing crackdown against Western “infiltration,” which has ramped up in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.
  • The arrest is at least the seventh of such dual nationals—whose non-Iranian citizenship the Iranian government does not recognize—arrested in the last year.

Read more:
Iran says it has detained a dual national linked to British intelligence” (Reuters)
Iran accuses dual national of spying for British intelligence” (BBC)
Iran arrests suspected British spy” (Bloomberg via The Toronto Star)