Japan has rejected more than 99 percent of applications for asylum requests. Officials said that in 2015 a record number of people applied for asylum in Japan but it just gave refugee status to 27 people. The country has come under fire for its decision. Activist groups have said that the country needs to do more for refugees.

According to Bangkok Post, Japan has been nervous regarding the flood of refugees into its homogeneous society and strictly controlled the number it accepts.

Government data indicates that out of 7,586 people requesting asylum in Japan only 27 got approval. The influx has increased by 50% in comparison to 2014. Among the people seeking refugee status last year, five were Syrian and only 3 of them were given refugee status. Six from Afghanistan, three Ethiopians and three Sri Lankans were also accepted.

A ministry official said, “there are many applicants who enter Japan with short-stay and other visas and repeatedly file refugee applications to live and work in Japan.”

RT stated in a report that apart from 27 people given asylum, 79 were given special permission to remain in the country by the justice minister.

The Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) emphasized that although the number has increased, more applicants should be accepted. A statement issued by the association said, “We hope that (Japan) will hold discussions with UNHCR and NGOs and swiftly consider measures to certify refugees in line with international standard.”

Eri Ishikawa, chair of the board of JAR said, “In Germany, the number of applicants last year was 1.1 million, and about half of them are expected to stay.”

The country has been criticized by human rights activists, migrant communities and lawyers for its immigrant officials’ harsh treatment to migrants and conditions in detention centres.

In the recent years there is a decline in the birth rate of Japan and the country has a large number of elderly people to support. The activists fighting for the cause of refugees have argued that the country can get a solution for its declining population by increasing immigration