Please help Dr. Gabriel avoid persecution and continue to contribute to Japan

Please help Dr. Gabriel avoid persecution and continue to contribute to Japan

January 31, 2022
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Signatures: 14,772Next Goal: 15,000
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Why this petition matters


Did you know that there are thousands of foreign refugees currently in Japan who are waiting for asylum recognition from the Japanese government? 

Many have lost their status of residence during the long wait, unable to return to their home countries for fear of persecution but living in limbo here in Japan. 

One such person is Dr. Gabriel Osaheni Aghedo, who is seeking protection from the Japanese government by applying for refugee status. 

Dr. Gabriel was born in Nigeria and came to Japan in 1991; he has lived in Japan for over 30 years, more than half of his life. However, having no status of residence means that he must spend his days without permission to work or health insurance (especially dangerous during Covid).

Dr. Gabriel is a devout Christian and was forced to flee his home because his book about natural healing, Perpetually Healthy, Good-Looking and Rich, was considered hostile to Islam by Boko Haram, an extremist group that is terrorizing many parts of Africa. 

At this time, Dr. Gabriel is in Japan, but his sister and niece in Nigeria have been threatened with violence. The family's house has been destroyed and, in 2020, his sister received a letter from Boko Haram that said, "We will kill Gabriel when he returns home." Even now, his relatives are receiving threats, and many are not able to return to their homes. And while Gabriel wants to help them, if he entered Nigeria again, he would immediately be targeted by Boko Haram

This is a petition to convince the Ministry of Justice and the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau to allow Dr. Gabriel to stay in Japan. 

Please help us in this effort by including your signature below. 

Please note: the request for financial support below is your chance to help, not directly to Gabriel’s case; we are only asking for your signature. 


Dr. Gabriel’s application for refugee recognition has been rejected once before. This is not unusual, given that Japan a very low acceptance rate, only around 1% Despite international pressure and a promise to improve this situation, Japan still lags far behind almost every other country. 

 Dr. Gabriel cannot give up just because he was rejected once. He still cannot return to Nigeria, where he faces mortal danger. 

Even if you are forced, as Dr. Gabriel was, to flee your country due to persecution (which is the definition of  a refugee), unless you receive official refugee recognition, you have no right to the protections outlined in the 1951 Refugee Convention by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. So he must wait. 

But waiting is difficult. Until the Japanese government makes a ruling, Dr. Gabriel’s legal status is known as "provisional release," a precarious status that does not include access to health care or the right to support himself through work. 


Dr. Gabriel is a cheerful and sincere person who has built relationships of trust and respect with many friends and supporters in Japan. He has made many contributions to Japan and the Japanese people. He has taught English and German and has given numerous talks and lectures about life in Nigeria and life in Japan as a refugee asylum seeker. He is giving many of us in Japan a firsthand understanding of a world we otherwise would not know about. He is just the sort of person who is a valuable bridge between Japanese and foreigners in this time of globalization. (If you want to learn more about Gabriel, check out this profile.)


Dr. Gabriel is now in the process of applying for refugee status for the second time, with the support of his very well-known lawyer, Shogo Watanabe. Those of us who know Dr. Gabriel best hereby call on the Minister of Justice and the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau by making the following two requests:

(1) Please conduct proper screening of refugees in accordance with international standards.

(2) Even if Dr. Gabriel is not granted refugee status, please grant him residence status based on humanitarian considerations.

("Special Permit for Residence with Humanitarian Considerations" allows a foreigner to remain in Japan, while granting him access to health insurance and a work permit, even if it does not grant him refugee recognition.)

Although the Minister of Justice makes the decision on refugee status, it is important for the refugee counselors to see the support from Japanese citizens and people all over the world for Dr. Gabriel and others in his situation. (Anyone, regardless of nationality or residence, is free to sign.)

The collected signatures will be brought to the Immigration Bureau by Dr. Gabriel’s lawyer as part of the evidence of support for Gabriel’s case. 


We want to create a society that gives hope to people like Gabriel, who have fled their homeland, and welcomes them as members of the community and the nation.

Let's join together our voices to bring attention and compassion to this issue. 

Please contribute your thoughts to this petition.

Thank you for your support!

【Deadline】March 31, 2022
Gabriel’s hearing has been postponed due to Covid protocols. Please use this time to gather as many signatures as possible. 

David Slater (Professor, Faculty of International Liberal Studies, Sophia University)
Naho Kimura (Student, Faculty of International Liberal Studies, Sophia University)
Kenji Arikawa
Mari Kobayashi
Tadatoshi Kamimori 
Fukushima Dargo Claire
Sayaka  Watanabe  (NPO WELgee)
Momoko Ogihara 
Akari Kasuya
Kyoko Arai
Naoko Watanabe
Tomoko Taguchi
Susumu Otsuka (Catholic Church Meguro)
Yoko Takeuchi (Catholic Church in Kojimachi)
Izumi Sakura (International Community, Catholic Church, Ueki-cho)

Support now
Signatures: 14,772Next Goal: 15,000
Support now