The State, Ethnic Community, and Refugee Resettlement in Japan

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Using the case of Karen refugees in Japan, this paper examines how a state-driven refugee resettlement policy resulted in refugees suffering under difficult conditions and how, in turn, this drove the existing ethnic community to become an active player in assisting resettled refugees to adapt, in contest with the state. Japan was the first Asian country to initiate a refugee resettlement program in 2010. However, the government failed to consult with other stakeholders, notably the ethnic community, causing difficulties for the refugees in adapting to their new life. In helping resolving this crisis, the Karen community emerged as a legitimate actor in the governance of these refugees. The current study highlights the contest between the state and ethnic communities over resettlement programs and contributes to the understanding of the structural formation that influences refugees in the early stage of resettlement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1234
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Asian and African Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development

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