NAGOYA, Jan 26 (News On Japan) - In a groundbreaking decision, the Nagoya High Court has overturned a lower court ruling and ordered the government to recognize a Rohingya man living in Nagoya as a refugee, citing the risk of persecution and ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
Kin Maung Soe, 44, a member of the persecuted Muslim minority, has applied for refugee status four times since arriving in Japan in 2007 but had been denied each time. Challenging the government's refusal to acknowledge him as a refugee, he filed a lawsuit.
The Nagoya District Court initially dismissed his case last year, stating that being Rohingya did not immediately qualify him as a refugee. However, in a reversal on the 25th, Presiding Judge Yasuhiro Hasegawa of the Nagoya High Court ruled, "The plaintiff holds beliefs that are in direct opposition to the military's policies in Myanmar. There is ongoing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya, and he is at risk of persecution, which qualifies him as a refugee." The judge also emphasized that it is unrealistic to expect refugees to leave their country with sufficient evidence to prove their status and that their testimonies should be the primary material for consideration.
Following the verdict, Kin Maung Soe expressed his relief and gratitude: "The Rohingya are told they are not needed by the country, and it's difficult to even move around within it. I am very happy with the judgment." The Immigration Services Agency of Japan responded by stating they will closely examine the contents of the decision and respond appropriately.