Japan will limit asylum seekers’ right to work from Monday, making changes to its refugee system that are likely to swell the numbers of those in detention centers, the justice ministry said, prompting refugee groups to flag humanitarian concerns.

The move to tighten one of the developed world’s toughest refugee systems, which accepted just ten during the period from January to September last year, is a bid to clamp down on what Japan views as a system of back-door immigration.

From Monday, the right to work is to be limited only to those Japan regards as bonafide refugees, while repeat applicants and those failing initial checks will be held in detention centers after their permission to stay in Japan expires, the justice ministry said.

“We want to focus on responding appropriately to refugees that need protection,” Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa told a news conference on Friday, adding that the changes do not mean the government will be reluctant to accept refugees.

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