An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in Japan.


An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in Japan.

Zarny Shibuya fled Myanmar for Japan when he was eight years old. He later worked as a model in Tokyo before starting his own clothing design business. He took the name 'Zarny Shibuya' after becoming a designer in Tokyo.

Content of this page:
1. Description of the refugee situation
2. Japan's response to the refugee situation
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact


1. Description of refugee situation

Where does the population of concern live?

Mostly in urban settings.

Population of concern

Refugees - Settlements (rural/urban) - 1,895*

Asylum Seekers - Settlements (rural/urban) - 29,040*

Stateless persons - Settlements (rural/urban) - 709*

Find live data, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in Japan on the UNHCR Operational Portal as well as Global Focus (donor page can be found here). 

* The figures are retrieved from ASR (end of 2018), which are sourced from publicly available data and UNHCR estimates based on information provided by various partners.

2. Japan's response to the refugee situation 

The Humanitarian and Emergency Relief Department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is responsible for coordinating and compiling information related to refugee responses, including from other Ministries.

Civil society in Japan has taken the lead in realizing the first multi-stakeholders’ consultation towards the Global Refugee Forum in November 2019, mobilizing all partners in Japan to prepare Japan’s contributions to the first such Forum.

Partners involved:


  • Line Ministries of Foreign Affairs, of Justice and of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • JICA as development partner
  • Universities participating in the Refugee Higher Education Programme and other academic institutions.

Partnerships in the refugee response

Partners mobilised in the context of the Global Refugee Forum include government entities, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), refugees, media, foundations, faith-based organizations, NGOs, and international organizations. There is a growing consensus that a whole-of-society approach is necessary to deliver more sustainable refugee responses.

3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact

Summary of the Refugee Compact in action in Japan.

Though a small portion of Japan’s contribution is directed towards the domestic protection situation, the main portion of contributions from actors in Japan go towards supporting efforts and interventions directly in refugee settings.

In July 2019, the Government announced an increase in admissions for the resettlement programme, from the current figure of 30 refugees (individuals) per year, to 60.  An expansion of the selection criteria (previously limited to Myanmar refugees) will also apply, helping to meet the needs of refugees of various backgrounds within the Asia region. 

The Refugee Higher Education Programme (RHEP) currently provides scholarships at undergraduate and postgraduate degree for up to 15 refugees each year. When the programme was initially launched in 2007, there was a single university supporting these types of scholarships; today this number has grown to 11 universities across the country.

Pledges and contributions made by Japan


Pledges and contributions dashboard (interactive by Area of Focus)

This dashboard includes all pledges and contributions made towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Japan, including national pledges made by the Government of Japan itself.


> See more good practice projects and initiatives in Japan