It has been a decade since Liliane last saw her little girl. She fled Africa in fear for her life, leaving behind everything she knew and loved in the hope of a fresh start in Japan.
Today, she scrapes a living from dead-end jobs, and what Japanese she knows has been snatched from television shows. There is little government help for people like her: free language courses are limited, social housing is hard to find, discrimination is rife.
Yet Liliane is regarded as one of the lucky ones — she was granted refugee status in Japan, a country which refuses more than 99 percent of cases.
“It has not been easy,” she tells AFP, speaking under a pseudonym.
She adds: “Here they do not pay for your studies, they do not help you to get bank loans, or give you social housing… we are left to ourselves, we have to fight alone.”
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