Failure to Protect Refugees?: Domestic Institutions, International Organizations, and Civil Society in Japan


This article explores why Japanese government policies, despite major reforms, still do not comply well with international norms of protecting refugees. There has been great progress in the growth of nongovernmental organizations and civil society, the strong presence of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Japan, and the reduction of structural constraints on the ability of organizations to influence government policy. Despite these steps, lack of access to the Ministry of Justice and ideational constraints have hindered efforts by nonstate actors to reform refugee policies toward greater compliance with international norms of protection.