The high court in Tokyo has given refugee status to a Burmese man.
The court upheld a lower court ruling that said the Japanese justice ministry was wrong to deny the refugee claim.
The high court judge - Toshiaki Harada said it is clear the 52-year-old man is regarded as an undesirable person by the Burmese military regime.
The refugee's name is being withheld because he fears for his safety. He arrived in Japan in 1988 after taking part in anti-government activities in Burma.
It is not clear if Japan's justice ministry will appeal the high court ruling.