On viral posts on Twitter, Japan is seen as an example when it comes to immigration. "Go live in Japan, the country where people are smart!" chants one post. On the other hand, Europe would be the model not to follow. In question, Japan would impose strict restrictions on Muslims.

Among these rules, we can read: "Japan is the only country that does not give citizenship to Muslims", "In Japan, Muslims do not have the right to permanent residence", "in universities in Japan, Arabic and Islam are not taught", "no one can create an Islamist cell or Islamic school in Japan" or "Sharia law is not allowed in Japan". However, this fifteen rules listed are not true. 20 Minutes explains.


The publication in question is not new. For several years, it has been disseminated on many websites and social media accounts. But the fifteen or so assertions are actually not based on much. Here are some of the checked:

  • "Japan imposes strict restrictions on Islam and Muslims." IT'S NOT TRUE

According to a 2008 report on international religious freedom, the number of Muslims in Japan was estimated at between 115,000 and 125,000, or about 0.10 percent of Japan's population. The country is also very attached to its secularism and the separation between the State and religions is well defined. Article 20 of its Constitution provides for freedom of religion for all. "No religious organization can receive any privileges from the state, nor can it exercise political authority."

  • "Japan is the only country that does not give citizenship to Muslims." IT'S NOT TRUE

According to the website "Turning Japanese", it is quite possible for a Muslim to obtain his Japanese citizenship, as well as permanent residence. When applying for citizenship, no questions are asked about religion. That is why the Ministry of Justice cannot actually publish statistics on religions regarding applications for naturalization.

In addition, the website of the Ministry of Justice in Japan explains the conditions of naturalization. There are three: by birth, by notification or by naturalization. The site also specifies the documents needed to apply for naturalization, but none mention religion.

The requirements for naturalization are as follows: living in Japan for five consecutive years, being 20 years of age or older, and "driving straightly". The only people who could be banned are people belonging to "an organization plotting or advocating the overthrow of the Japanese government."

  • "In universities in Japan, Arabic and Islam are not taught." IT'S NOT TRUE

The text in question also mentions the prohibition in universities to teach "Arabic and Islam". For example, we can find a center for Islamic studies at Kyoto University. Arabic courses are also well taught at the University of Tokyo for example.

  • "Muslims must perform their religious rites in their apartments." IT'S NOT TRUE

Contrary to what the text believes, it is quite possible to find mosques in Japan. The country has about 80, according to the nippon.com website.

Tokyo Mosque, Japan 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/EdEFBivvR4

— seda (@ylzy01) December 4, 2021

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  • "In Japan, you don't find halal food." THIS IS RATHER FALSE

If it does not run the streets, halal food does exist in Japan. According to a travel site, it is also possible to find halal-certified products in specific grocery stores and in some restaurants.

  • "Sharia law is not allowed in Japan." IT'S HALF TRUE

As for Sharia law – which would be the way forward for Muslims – it is not applied in Japan, but no more than in Europe. Across [especially Muslim] countries, Sharia law varies and adapts. For example, there are countries where Sharia law is not included in the judicial system, countries where it applies to more personal matters such as marriage or divorce, and countries where Sharia law applies completely. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the Constitution is based on Sharia law, while in Indonesia, Sharia law applies more to family law issues.

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