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Japan to let Ukrainian refugee applicants stay in country: chief Cabinet secretary

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Japan will allow Ukrainians applying for refugee status following Russia's military invasion and other Ukrainians whose residency statuses have expired to stay in the country under certain conditions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a Feb. 28 news conference.

    "Even if one does not qualify as a 'refugee' by the refugee convention, we will allow them to stay if it is recognized that they need humanitarian consideration," Matsuno said.

    He added the government intended to respond similarly to refugee applications from Russians opposing their country's invasion of Ukraine.

    Matsuno also explained that a visa issuance suspension -- part of the Japanese government's sanctions on Russia -- is intended for officials affiliated with pro-Russian separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, adding, "We will not immediately suspend issuing of visas to applicants only because they have Russian citizenship."

    The Japanese government plans to ease coronavirus pandemic border restrictions on new entries by foreign nationals in stages from March 1.

    (Japanese original by Shuhei Endo, Political News Department)

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