Japanese court orders government to grant refugee status to Syrian national

A court in Japan has ordered the national government to grant refugee status to a Syrian man, stating that he could face persecution if he returns home.

The Nagoya District Court handed down the ruling on Thursday.

The Syrian national in his 30s, who lives in Aichi Prefecture, came to Japan in 2019. His application for asylum was rejected, and he filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government seeking refugee status and other forms of relief.

The presiding judge noted that the man refused military service due to his opposition to the Syrian government.

The judge acknowledged that the man applied for a deferral of conscription for an extended period and hosted rallies and other events against the Syrian government, which led to him being detained twice.

The judge said that if the man returns to Syria, he could be arrested and treated harshly, forced to serve in the military and possibly commit war crimes, and persecuted for his political opinions.

A lawyer representing the man says the ruling is believed to be the first in Japan ordering the government to grant refugee status to a Syrian national.