Kurds in Japan.
Balibay, 24, is a Kurdish asylum seeker who fled to Japan more than eight years ago after he said his family was persecuted by Turkish security forces who tortured his father. He has since been on provisional release from immigration detention, which means he is barred from working while the immigration authorities consider his application for asylum and could be detained again at any time.
But the ban hasn’t stopped Balibay from providing the muscle on a slew of public works projects funded by a government that refers to people like him as “undesirable.” “Japan bans us from working, but everyone knows that without foreigners this country’s in trouble,” said Balibay.
“Construction jobs won’t get done. There aren’t enough workers and young Japanese can’t do these jobs. The government knows that better than anyone.” Two of Balibay’s brothers have also worked without permits on government projects around Tokyo, laying asphalt and digging sewers. Reuters also spoke to more than 30 Kurds on provisional release who are working illegally on private sector projects, mainly in demolition.