NHK has learned that a quarter of the foreigners granted refugee status in 2020 in Japan were Chinese.
The Immigration Services Agency of Japan says eleven Chinese received refugee status last year out of the total 47.
That was the highest figure since Japan began accepting refugees in 1982.
China has been increasingly criticized for its treatment of ethnic minorities, including the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The international community alleges that China is committing human rights abuses.
The greater number of Chinese who were granted refugee status in Japan could well be linked to the situation.
Japan grants refugee status, in accordance with the UN refugee convention, to those people who are likely to be persecuted in their own country for such reasons as ethnicity, religion, and politics.
Currently, Japan's Diet is deliberating a revision to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act as it was pointed out that the criteria for granting refugee status in Japan are stricter than those in the US and European countries.
Although some people are allowed to stay in Japan on humanitarian grounds even though they were not recognized as refugees, the planned revision is to give clear legal criteria for those who do not fully merit refugee status.