Japan takes measures to let Myanmar people stay

Japanese immigration authorities have decided to allow people from Myanmar to extend their stays in the country for up to one year, in response to the ongoing military crackdown in the Southeast Asian nation.

Japan's Immigration Services Agency drew up the emergency measures for people from Myanmar who want to continue to stay in Japan even after their visas have expired.

Under the measures, the 35,000 or so Myanmar people currently living in Japan will be allowed to stay for another six months or one year. They can also obtain work permits. The agency says the measures start from May 28. Stays can be extended if the situation in Myanmar fails to improve.

Priority will be put on processing asylum applications. In cases where refugee status is not recognized, resident status will be granted.

The authorities plan in principle to allow about 600 people who are overstaying their visas to remain in Japan. They say those who have committed serious crimes will be denied from staying, but will not be deported.

The agency also says the resident status of two diplomats at Myanmar's embassy in Tokyo remains valid. The embassy earlier told the Japanese government that it had revoked their passports.