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Regarding Requests for Asylum from Olympic Athletes and Others

Japan Association for Refugees

Regarding Requests for Asylum from Olympic Athletes and Others

There are cases where athletes and others who are visiting Japan for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics wish to seek protection in Japan or other countries due to threat of persecution, etc. in their home countries. In order to ensure that these people are properly protected, we would like to ask the media to take the following points into consideration when collecting information and reporting on such cases, so as not to interfere with refugee protection.

Risks Associated with Reporting on Asylum Seekers

  • There is a possibility that the public disclosure of information related to requests for asylum may increase the risk of persecution for the asylum seeker and their family in their home country.
  • Media attention and coverage may make the application for refugee status itself difficult.

In light of these risks, we ask that you take the following measures in your reporting and media coverage.

  1. Do not report on asylum seekers’ requests in a way that allows them to be personally identified.

If the fact that an athlete or other individual is seeking asylum is made known to their home country through the media, there is a risk that they may be persecuted after returning to their home country, or that their family in their home country may be persecuted. In order to avoid making public their act of applying for refugee status or seeking asylum, it is important to avoid reporting in a way that allows individuals to be personally identified.

  1. Ensure that application for refugee status is not hindered by media coverage.

If information regarding an individual’s intention to apply for refugee status and where they are staying is disclosed, this may lead to increased restrictions and surveillance of the athlete by e.g. the athlete’s team, home government, or embassy. As a result, it may become difficult to apply for refugee status and protection may not be possible.

In order to ensure the safety of the individual, journalism activities, such as inquires to related parties and interviews with the individual must be limited as much as possible.

Reference: To Members of the Media: Regarding the Reporting of Refugees

Reporting on individual refugees may lead to serious disadvantages for them. This is a summary of what we would like media representatives to keep in mind. Please refer to the page linked below for a detailed background explanation. (Japanese only)
https://www.refugee.or.jp/contact/press_request/request_press_jar_2103.pdf

Contact Information:

Japan Association for Refugees, Public Relations Unit
https://www.refugee.or.jp/contact/media/
press@refugee.or.jp
Tel: 03-5379-6001