Japan accepted just 28 refugees last year while a record number applied for asylum, a government document dated for release on Friday showed, throwing a spotlight on the nation's reluctance to accept foreigners.
In 2016, 10,901 people sought asylum in Japan, up 44 percent from a year earlier, when the country accepted 27 refugees.
Immigration is a prickly subject in Japan, even as the country's population ages and its workforce shrinks.
Last week, the head of Japan's main opposition Democratic Party called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to speak up against U.S. President Donald Trump's refugee ban but Tokyo remained silent.
Japan's own refugee controversy was seen as the main reason why the country refrained from criticizing Trump's travel ban policies.
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