Mitsuru Miyasako, director of an immigrants' lobby group, speaks on a recent hunger strike staged by dozens of people seeking to immigrate to Japan while in detention, during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Thursday. Photo: AP
crime

Foreigners in Japanese immigration detention end two-week hunger strike

34 Comments
By Minami Funakoshi and Ami Miyazaki

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But the last of the strikers began eating this week because they had reached their physical limits and because they wanted to see if authorities would respond positively after their protest gained media coverage.

This hasn't gotten a whole hell of a lot of coverage here in Japan. The average Japanese person does not seem to care a lot about the plight of these people.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

PPretty poor that they allowed these people to almost die. Shows how much they really care. In the end they said nothing will change.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Shigeki Otsuki, a justice ministry official overseeing immigration detention, confirmed the hunger strike had ended and said authorities were already doing what they could to improve conditions.

"We will continue to respond appropriately as we have done in the past. We won't change anything in particular," Otsuki told Reuters

Contradiction in terms. The only way anything will change is if their plight gets worldwide media coverage and condemnation. Without naming and shaming, nothing will change.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

They get free shelter and food, that's more then they have at their country but still making trouble, they came to Japan on their own will and making trouble, who is covering the medical bill after their hunger strike, the public and announcing further trouble, how gorges of Japan not sending them back ASAP

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

The inmates should wait until 2019 to protest and have their supporters spread the news all over the world. THEN, Abe et al will be worried about Japan's IMAGE just before the Olympics and make some changes. Now, three years before the magic 2020 date, they don't care; it's mostly lower class Asians anyway getting their free room and board and death, right?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

You very sadly may have a point borscht.

The threat of negative publicity may be the only thing that wil force a change.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if the LDP really try to muzzle the national media before and during the event.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This hasn't gotten a whole hell of a lot of coverage here in Japan. The average Japanese person does not seem to care a lot about the plight of these people.

The previous news about the start of the Hunger Strike in that detention center has been censored by JapanToday when they decided to close the comment section (first time I saw a comment section closed after a few hours), and now it seems they have suppressed the whole news about it, try to search for "Hunger Strike" or even "detention center" and witness how everything disappeared , there is nothing to be found but that news today which will vanish also in a few days I imagine, very alarming, I hope for the moderator to explain on this matter but I rather believe my comment will be suppressed as the previous news about that strike.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It's the same pattern as you can see in Europe. Coming illegal, pushing the public to be accepted to stay. Next step, point to the human rights and require the family can come as well. After that request to adjust the environment to their needs so that they feel like at home. All in taxpayers money.

it's known 90% of asylum seeker are not refugees but just looking for quick money.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

It's always about votes - and the ruling party doesn't see any, or much, negative effect from the current situation - so why change it?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's the same pattern as you can see in Europe. 

No it is not, they ask for better conditions and medical cares, they do not want to be the next on the list of people left to die.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

If someone offered me a steak, I would end my hunger strike in a heartbeat.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Ghost Rider: Great post. Full of speculation and lacking facts. "It's known," is not a good way to hide a naked assertion. Try citing the source. I'm sure you're an indigenous person from your country, so have every right to criticize those that migrate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good to see the protest......the authorities generally quote they are following the law. The next step is to challenge the "fairness" of the procedures in court. Society changes and so should laws be adjusted but the Tokyo district court is where the discussions should start to take place. Finding a good lawyer that understands the issues of fairness is not easy, but I understand it is also possible to file your own case.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But the last of the strikers began eating this week because they had reached their physical limits

What a shame.

What exactly are they demanding? The article only say they demand "better treatment".

 to object against their repeated detention

Repeated detention is only due to repeated violation by the detainee.

one of whom swallowed a razor blade,

Is this relevant?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

swift_justice

have a talk to those who run asylum centers which are mostly left wingers. They will reconfirm it to you based on experience. I did and they highlight most refugees are male 18-30 years, best age to work.

If I would be a refugee I would try to save my family too, going to the next safe country and not travel around the half world. Go read the official reports and you wil also notice some countries are even not willing to take back the own citizens.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The conditions must be humane regardless, but before we can decide whether the detentions are justified or not we need to hear more about the individual stories and backgrounds of the detainees. When, why, how, where, did they come to Japan and end up in immigration detention? Let's start with the man who swallowed the razor blade.

It's only when the public knows the details that they can make an informed decision about whether these people deserve any sympathy and a change of policy. Such details have been sorely lacking from almost all of the Reuters articles on this issue.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

it's known 90% of asylum seeker are not refugees but just looking for quick money.

Because people routinely stop eating for 15 days when they're looking for "quick money"

And you still haven't shown anything. Being male age 18-30 also means you're the best age to be able to escape harsh treatment and flee to another country.

"The next safe country" is also incredibly nebulous, especially when so many countries aren't taking any more refugees because they've met quotas. It's not like it's a "one size fits all" situation. It's incredibly easy to say "I would" when you have never been in a situation where you had to flee your country.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

they highlight most refugees are male 18-30 years, best age to work.

Best age to be killed or recruited by force, too, in countries under civil conflict and war. They are fleeing from death.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

["Four hunger strikers were hospitalised during the protest, one of whom swallowed a razor blade, which passed through him without causing life-threatening injury"]

So he cheated and was out of the game right?

In all seriousness though, hunger strikes rarely change anything. You are not hurting anyone, but yourself. Had these been Japanese nationals perhaps. If Japanese people on the outside do it in droves to show their support, perhaps as well. But prisoners or detainees. No. Same with the hunger strikes in Israel at their facilities.

"The inmates should wait until 2019 to protest and have their supporters spread the news all over the world. THEN, Abe et al will be worried about Japan's IMAGE just before the Olympics and make some changes."

I doubt that would help. As much as I love Japan and on a different but similar issue, they will most likely build homeless shelters for those on the streets to keep them out of view during the games to give a "clean" image. And then once over probably close, if not out right tear them down and those same people will be out on the streets again.

So as I was saying, I doubt waiting for a few years to do these hunger strikes will do much good, since some of these homeless are native born Japanese who just fell on hard times. My question is, are the detainees there now, will they still be the same ones there for the Olympics?

And if a moderator wants to question my post, one example backs the other.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

it's known 90% of asylum seeker are not refugees but just looking for quick money.

Where is it known & who by? Source/link please.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These hunger strikes fail for a few reasons

1) Japanese immigration has a nightmare-doctor (completely unethical) force-feed detainees who are deemed to have gone too far with their hunger strike. This is a violation of the most basic of medical ethics.

2) The immigration authorities tells the detainees that if they don't stop their hunger strike, the possibility of their receiving provisional release will be reduced or eliminated.

3) The detainees on a hunger strike are segregated from other detainees who are not on hunger strikes. They are put into solitary confinement.

As far as whether the conditions are humane or not, well, they are locked up in their rooms for something like 19 hours per day, receive no sunlight, no warm or hot food, and spend a year or more behind bars without facing any charges. If they have a medical emergency, the likelihood of it being ignored even if they start to die on the floor is quite high, as past articles have demonstrated.

Does that sound humane to you?

The attitude of Otsuki is proof enough that the Justice ministry has its own little SS style unit mentality going on. They need a major attitude correction. There are a lot of goings-on in the detention centers that violate the most basic of UN Human Rights, as well as the UN anti-torture clauses.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

paradoxbox Today 12:33 pm JST

You often comment on this subject, but none of your comments is backed by facts.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I wonder if the medical cost was less than what they saved on food and toilet paper?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Hunger Strike" or even "detention center"

Next time try Hunger strike at detention center in Japan when you search and you will find a crap load of hits, and nearly all of them for foreign consumption.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rowan, Maria, and Toasted:

Thanks for the assists. Battling lack of information (ignorance) is always easier with help.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When North Korea detains Americans and others in this manner , that is without due process , we call it abduction. We label it so thanks to the massive exposure by world media. How is this Japanese case any different? I aver that if these ABDUCTEES ( I call them by their right conditional situation) were to go through the process, I think 90℅ of them will be deported or serve legal sentences before deportation.

What riles me is that, Japanese government will be frothing at the mouth about the good relationships they have with the countries whose people they are abducting. Once, I worked as a translator for a company in my country for some Japanese, they inadvertently overstayed their visas, we took their passports to the immigration office, the officers themselves said that because Japanese are our friends they'll extend the visa with no ado. Friends behave FRIENDLY to those they admit in their circles, NOT this hypocrisy!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

-it's known 90% of asylum seeker are not refugees-

Where is it known & who by? Source/link please.

According to the Ministry of Justice, 99.7% of the asylum claims that were processed or appealed in 2016 found that those applying did not meet the strict criteria required to be recognised as convention refugees (or at least they were not able to sufficiently prove their case). This doesn't include those who were given some other form of subsidiary protection short of refugee status. The information is easily found online.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

M3×3

Please, let them be deported!! This is an affront to their individual sovereignty and inhuman, much beneath the standing of a so called " civilized" country as Japan claims. For goodness sakes THE Donald has deported them , Canada , Britain. France do it , and in the case of France, they just conduct a swoop, from your house to the airport and onwards. It behooves Japan to behave better.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Cogito Ergo Sum

Please, let them be deported!!

Yes, I completely agree. That's what we should do to people who go through the legal process and are found to have no legal right to remain in Japan, but how would you propose achieve that when the detainees are doing everything they can to remain in Japan?

The first issue is that everyone has the right to have their case appealed or reviewed if new information arises. This takes a long time and there is a tremendous risk of some people absconding if they are releases. Would you strip asylum seekers of the right to appeal? Or would you automatically allow anyone appealing their claim to be allowed out on provisional release despite the risks?

The second issue is that you must have cooperation of these peoples' home countries or suspected home countries (in the common case that they have ripped up their travel documents and falsely claim to be from a warzone). Countries like Turkey and Pakistan often simply refuse to cooperate in deportations. Japan cannot simply charter a flight to Islamabad airport and offload a plane full of suspected Pakistanis without any passorts or identity documents. So what do we do? Bribe the detainees to go to their embassy, apply for a passport and then finally leave?

For goodness sakes THE Donald has deported them

Most American deportations are to Mexico. Mexico recieves huge financial incentives from the US which ensure its cooperation in the deportation process. Should Japan and the rest of the world sanction the countries that refuse to cooperate? I say yes to that. I also think sanctions should be imposed to bar entry to anyone holding a passport from one of these uncooperative countries since we may never be able to deport them.

, Canada , Britain. France do it , and in the case of France, they just conduct a swoop, from your house to the airport and onwards.

But not to the countries I have mentioned above.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The detainees show strong character and determination. Precisely the kind of people you do want to revitalise a country. Especially if they've only overstayed their visa. Obviously, it they are out and out proper criminals (violent, extremist, bankers, politicans etc) then they should be deported.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Cogito Ergo Sum

Here is an article detailing the problems America has had with countries refusing to accept their deported citizens and proposals for a law to deal with it. Japan faces the exact same problem. (Sorry for linking to Foxnews but their story was the most comprehensive).

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/16/bill-would-cut-off-aid-to-countries-that-dont-take-back-their-illegal-immigrant-criminals.html

4 ( +4 / -0 )

ended their hunger strike as their mental, physical and health conditions worsened

thats what happens when you don't eat.

Having been deported from two countries, i have a more complicated view. I'm still alive, and although i suffered a lot both physically, mentally and financially, I managed to just shake it off and start a new life in a different place.

i also understand life in war zones through experience. humans have a duty to care for each other.

But when i stroll around places like Nishinari in Osaka and see the homeless and day workers,i wonder...if we just deport these illegal immigrants instead of locking them up for years at taxpayers cost or letting them on the streets temporarily to carry out dubious stuff...wouldn't it be better to invest in Japans needy?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

May 26  03:21 pm JST

-it's known 90% of asylum seeker are not refugees-

Where is it known & who by? Source/link please.

According to the Ministry of Justice, 99.7% of the asylum claims that were processed or appealed in 2016 found that those applying did not meet the strict criteria required to be recognised as convention refugees (or at least they were not able to sufficiently prove their case).

First, the claim regarding 90% of asylum seekers not being refugees was a general claim about all asylum seekers.

Second, your source of information is the Ministry of Justice, which of course is going to justify its appalling track record on denying asylum. For Europe, 61% of asylum seekers were accepted in 2016.

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Asylum_statistics

i know Japan is special. However, when its numbers are drastically different than other countries and the government cannot even use the phrase "immigration policy" when trying to sort out the declining birth rate, the logical inference is that Japan is misapplying the convention on refugees.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

CH3CHO

You often comment on this subject, but none of your comments is backed by facts.

My facts come directly from the source. I have been inside those centers and can prove everything that I say.

Most of the things I have said regarding the issue are already known to people involved with the issue. Why not send an email to the Nihon Ishikai and ask what they think of the doctors who are working at the immigration centers, or about the immigration center's stance on HIV and Hepatitis prevention?

I could also give you a list of the hospitals that Japanese immigration has hand-picked to meet its standard of violation of UN protocol; but I don't think you'd actually ever follow up on it. A fair amount of the information I have provided has been published on JT and with Reuters

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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