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2013年 11月 12日 International Friendship

Hi, everyone!

I am Masanori working at Toshin Business School as a senior advisor.

I’ve also been involved in the work of international development at NGOs, a law office and at United Nations agencies. Let me share some of my thoughts with you today.

What do you imagine when you hear the word “refugees?”

Did you know that there are refugees from around the world living in Tokyo and other major cities where you might be studying?

As an assistant to human rights lawyers, my first job out of graduate school was to help asylum seekers (many came from Burma) to win refugee status in Japan. We worked hard so that our clients would be allowed to stay legally in Japan until they could safely return to their home countries. It was a challenging task especially because the Japanese government has strict policies towards refugee status and doesn’t grant it easily.

In 2012, over 2,500 people applied for political asylum in Japan, but only a handful received refugee status, leaving others anxious about their futures. Hidden in the official numbers are individual stories of courage that often inspire those (including myself) who came to support the asylum seekers.

Our mission at Toshin Business School is for our work to contribute to global society through language learning and by cultivating leadership with altruism.

There are several ways we can all work to achieve that goal. If you happen to sit near an international student in class or at lunch, take a moment to speak with them. Where they come from? What is life like in their country? Even if they are not refugees, they may inspire you in many ways. Chances are they would enjoy meeting you and would value your friendship.