Refugee application by Falun Gong members refused

Kyodo (Japan), Jan. 25, 2003

TOKYO — The Justice Ministry decided not to accept five Chinese members of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement as refugees but suggested the five will be guaranteed permission to reside in Japan, their lawyers said Friday.

The five, together with 12 other members of Falun Gong, applied for refugee status at Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka immigration authorities, saying they will be persecuted if they return to China.

In the first decision for the applicants, the ministry said the five — four female and one male aged in their 20s to 40s who work in Japan as office employees and researchers — failed to fully prove that they will face persecution in their country.

It suggested, however, that it will give special consideration to them so that they will be guaranteed permission to reside in Japan, according to the lawyers.

In response to the suggestion, the five have applied for residence permission, they said.

“While it is regrettable that the ministry did not approve the five as refugees, we welcome its stance to guarantee resident status,” their lawyers said.

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