Japan Association for Refugees
JAR: Annual Report
Services for refugees/asylum seekers
Toll-free service for refugees/asylum seekers
0120-477-472 (toll-free; refugees/asylum seekers only.)
(if the toll-free number is not available, call 03-5379-6003)
Open: 10AM- 5PM Weekdays.
ATTENTION: Regarding the organization called "International Association for Refugees (Kokusai Nanmin Shien Kyokai)"
Japan Association for Refugees(Nanmin Shien Kyokai) is a non-profit organization that is officially registered in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. We do not have any relationship with an organization called "International Association for Refugees (Kokusai Nanmin Shien Kyokai)". We never ask asylum seekers any payment for legal or social assistances we provide.
For lawyers and other legal personnel at law firms
About pro bono opportunities
We at Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) provide pro bono opportunities to lawyers and other legal personnel at law firms where they are able to utilize their professional and specific skills.
Refugees and JAR
Did you know
- there are refugees and asylum-seekers in Japan?
- very few people are recognized as refugees in Japan?
- there is no time framework set forth for the administrative procedures of refugee recognition, and there was such a case as taking 9 years (!) to reach a final decision?
- while the application for refugee status is processed, the status of an illegal stayer will not be regularized and hence she or he will not be subject to public social services?
Who is a refugee?
Article 1 (A) of the Refugee Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) stipulates that a refugee is any person who:
"owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
Japan, in 1981, became a signatory of the 1951 Convention (Nanmin-Jyoyaku) and the 1967 Protocol (Nanmin-Giteisho).
What is Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)?
Despite the fact that the Japanese government ratified the Refugee Convention and Protocol in 1981, the overall environment surrounding the refugees and asylum-seekers requires much more improvement. While Indo-Chinese refugees in 1980’s, admitted exceptionally on an annual quota basis through Cabinet Understanding, were provided full social services i.e. accommodation, education, health and vocational training, there are hardly any such services available to those who make an asylum claim and go through the Refugee Recognition Procedures. Against this, the issue of refugees and asylum-seekers has not received considerable publicity in both public administration and civil society.
Under the above circumstances, Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) was established in September, 1999.
What can JAR do?
JAR fulfills its mission by:
- facilitating the needs of refugees and asylum-seekers to provide relevant legal and social assistance;
- advocating for the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers through government bodies, local authorities and media relations;
- advancing policy analysis and information-exchange on refugee and related issues to build more active and effective network with concerned parties and Non Governmental Organizations.
How you can contribute
Below are some opportunities to help refugees in Japan regardless of whether you speak Japanese. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, and appreciate any help you can offer! Most JAR staff speak English and Japanese, so please feel free to sign up for volunteer work in English via email.
Different staff members are in charge of different volunteer tasks, so please contact the person in charge of each task with your name, email address, and any questions you may have. You do not need to commit to doing the same volunteer task every week.
- Sorting through donations in the Yotsuya office
- Pick up food donations on Thursdays 3-6 p.m. (time and dates cannot be changed)
We get many boxes of donations every week, mostly clothing. These donations need to be sorted by gender and clothing type (e.g. “men’s tops”, “women’s jackets” etc.) onto shelves or into boxes we have already set up. This is typically done on Thursdays late afternoon, during business hours. If you are interested, please contact Elise Kirsten (email@example.com).
We provide free meals to refugees and asylum seekers at our office. To meet these needs, JAR picks up food donations from a local food bank (called Second Harvest Japan) in Akihabara every Thursday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. (This time slot cannot be changed.) We need volunteers to go pick up food donations, bring them back to the Yotsuya office, and sort them. Depending on the week and availability, volunteers will meet another volunteer with a car at Akihabara and drive back. (If you have a car, we would be most grateful!) If not, volunteers will bring suitcases to Akihabara, pack as much food into the suitcases as possible, and bring them back by train. If you are interested, please contact Elise Kirsten (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Office Hour: 10:00-18:00
Consultation Hour for Refugees: 10:00-17:00
Close: Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holiday