Photography: Mohamed

Mohamed, a Myanmar refugee, came to Japan 5 years ago. Unlike the majority of refugee applicants I’ve met in Japan he applied for refugee status upon arrival at Narita airport. This means the Japanese government treats him slightly different to other applicants here with the main differences being the ability to work, and only having to report to immigration once every 3 months to renew his provisional release.

Being able to work has allowed him to set up his own car exporting business which provides him with a regular income. This in turn means that he does not need to rely on government handouts to get by. He is also very active in the local Muslim community and is an imam at a local mosque.

Unfortunately like most refugees here his contact with his family back home is limited and despite putting on a brave face here in Japan told me that deep down all he can think about is being reunited with his wife and two children.

モハメッドさん(ミャンマーからの難民)は五年前に来日しました。私が今まで会った多くの難民とは違い、成田空港に到着した際、難民申請をしました。これにより、日本政府の彼への扱いはすこし変わり、働くことができるし、毎月入国管理局に行く必要はなく(他の難民は毎月入国管理局へ申請に行かねばなりません)、三ヶ月の仮滞在期間を所有しています。

車の輸入会社を立ち上げ、定期的な収入もあるため、日本政府からの支援は必要ありません。彼はまた、地元モスクでのイマーム(イスラム教の導師)としても活動的です。

しかし残念ながら、ほとんどの難民と同じように、母国に残した家族とのやりとりは充分ではありません。日本でがんばっているようにみえる彼でも、実のところ私に明かしてくれたことは、頭の中は妻と二人の子どもたちとの再会のことばかりでした。

At his office outside Nagoya
Mohamed is also an imam at a local mosque.
Friday prayers

Cycled since I was a kid, moved to Japan in 2001, bought my first 'serious' camera in 2005. Spent the later half of the 1990s travelling in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines and wish I'd photographed a lot more back then.

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