TOKYO: Japan will limit asylum seekers right to work from Monday, making changes to its refugee system that are likely to swell the numbers of those-

In detention centers, the justice ministry said, prompting refugee groups to flag humanitarian concerns.

The move to tighten one of the developed world's toughest refugee systems, which accepted just 10  during the period from January to September last year-

Is a bid to clamp down on what Japan views as a system of backdoor immigration.

From Monday, the right to work is limited only to those Japan regards as bonafide refugees, while repeat applicants and those failing initial check-

Will be held in detention centers after their permission to stay in Japan expires, the justice ministry said.

''We want to focus on responding appropriately to refugees that need protection.'' Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa told a news conference on Friday, adding-

That the changes do not mean that the government will be reluctant to accept refugees.

Asylum seekers with valid visas now receive renewable permits to wok in Japan while their refugee claims are reviewed -a system the government says has spurred people to seek asylum as a means of finding jobs.

With its shrinking population and high barriers to blue collar immigration, Japan is grappling with highest labour demand in decades.

This has spawned a ''grey'' labor market in which worker strapped companies hire asylum seekers to make up the numbers, Reuters investigations have found.

The number of  asylum seekers in Japan has risen steadily in recent years to a record with more than  14,000 applicants between January and September last year-

An increase of almost 80 percent from the year earlier period, ministry data shows.


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