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Refugees offer native cuisines to students

Foreigners with refugee status in Japan have served their ethnic cuisines in observance of the United Nations World Refugee day on June 20th.

Friday's event was organized by a group of university students to promote understanding about plight of refugees who have sought political asylum in Japan.

Refugees from Myanmar, Vietnam and other countries prepared their native dishes, including chicken curry and a deep fried dish including mashed beans.

Visitors attending the event cast ballots for the dishes they enjoyed the most.

Kyaw Kyaw Soe is a refugee from Myanmar who has been living in Japan for 23 years. He told the audience about the plight of refugees who fled to Japan.
He said most refugees have a poor command of the Japanese language and are struggling to find a residence to rent.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that at the end of 2013, 51.2 million people worldwide had been displaced due to conflicts or persecution. That's the highest displacement figure since World War Two.

Also last year, a record number of more than 3,000 foreigners sought refugee status in Japan. But only 6 of them were recognized as refugees. The figure was the lowest in 16 years.

One of the organizers expressed hope that more Japanese people will be aware of the problem.

Jun. 20, 2014 - Updated 20:32 UTC