TOKYO: The Japanese government has given refugee status to 114 more people who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country in August 2021, government sources said Wednesday.
It is one of the largest groups of people ever to be recognized as refugees in Japan at once.
According to the sources, the 114 are former employees of the local office of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and their family members. The Immigration Services Agency notified them of the decision on Monday and Tuesday.
The refugee status will allow them to stay in Japan as long-term residents and lower the requirements for them to obtain permanent residency.
The government treated the 114 people collectively on humanitarian grounds, based on information that the Taliban were persecuting U.S. and European embassy workers.
Afghanistan has been mired in political instability under Taliban’s rule since the Islamist group seized Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
The Japanese government has been helping those who worked as local staff at the JICA office and the Japanese Embassy in Kabul to leave the country.
In 2022, Japan granted refugee status to those who worked at the Japanese Embassy and their families. A total of 147 people from Afghanistan were recognized as refugees that year.