crime

Two detainees die at immigration center

37 Comments

Two detainees at an immigration center in Japan died over the weekend, an official said Monday, just months after the death of another man at the same facility.

An Iranian man in his 30s choked on his dinner on Friday, a spokeswoman at the immigration center in Ushiku, northeast of Tokyo, told AFP, adding that he was taken to hospital but died on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, a Cameroonian man in his 40s was found unconscious in his cell, she said.

"Officials immediately called an ambulance while giving him cardiac massage," she said, adding he was pronounced dead at hospital about an hour later.

She said the Cameroonian had complained of feeling sick on Thursday, and had been moved from a shared room to a private one. She said he had also seen a doctor.

"The cause of his death is not yet known," she said, adding a autopsy will be carried out on the bodies of both men.

Rights activists say conditions in Japanese detention centers are poor and allegations of mistreatment are rife.

In October last year, an asylum-seeker -- a member of Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic group -- collapsed and died after staff at the Ushiku immigration center failed to call for a medic, allegedly because the doctor was having lunch.

Kimiko Tanaka, a member of a local pressure group, said information was currently hazy, but that campaigners were trying to collect information on both cases.

"We hear that detainees, including roommates of the Cameroonian man, refused to return to their cells, which are locked at night, as a form of protest," she told AFP.

The center's spokeswoman said there had been some disquiet over the man's death, but "things have now returned to normal".

Japan tightly restricts the number of immigrants and asylum-seekers it accepts.

According to Justice Ministry figures for 2013, 3,260 people applied for asylum, many from Turkey, Nepal and Myanmar, as well as countries in South Asia and Africa.

Japan accepted six refugees during the year, down from 18 in the previous year.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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....and no one will ever care a fig in Japan.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Who is going to take responsibility for these two people died?

7 ( +12 / -5 )

There appears to be a problem at the center, an inquest would be helpful. But I doubt anything will happen.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

SIX refugees were taken in by Japan last year. That is absolutely shameful. Shame on you, Japan!
6 ( +19 / -13 )

Japan accepted six refugees during the year, down from 18 in the previous year.

Yeah... 6 out of 3260 is just shameful. Hopefully this classy nation will accept more refugees, and hopefully treat them better than this.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

skeeter27 - I dont know how you can claim the government should take responsibility for a guy choking on his dinner? Are you proposing we liquidize all food in detention centers?

-20 ( +9 / -29 )

Japan accepted six refugees during the year, down from 18 in the previous year.

As others have noted, this is simply pathetic. Japan wants to be able to be "international" as it comes to all countries of the world buying their products, but wants to ignore the realities of the outside world when it comes to playing a real role in helping people on a humanitarian level. Granted, not every country wants or needs to be as open in this regard as the U.S. or many European countries are. But for the world's 3rd largest economy to only accept six refugees is completely shameful.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Kimuzukasii, Do you honestly believe the report.hope the autopsies are independent

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Didn't a Ghanaian man die in custody only just last week?! What the hell is going on?!?!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

A 30 year old guy choking on dinner? And another one mysteriously dying in his cell 2 days later...hmmm...not suspicious at all.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

The Ghanaian died over a year ago, what you remember is the outcome of the trial.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

May justice prevail with those who caused their death. Just like that man from Ghana a few years back.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Where did those guards get their training? Trying to hide the evidence? oh, choked on his dinner, oh we found him like that.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

i think if you're stuck in an immigration cell in any country, you are SOL because the only thing the host country wants to do is to get your butt out of the country.

also, i don't understand why many posters think japan HAS to accept more refugees. why should the humanitarian aspect of it outweigh the cost-benefits?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

We will never hear the truth, people don't just die

1 ( +6 / -5 )

also, i don't understand why many posters think japan HAS to accept more refugees. why should the humanitarian aspect of it outweigh the cost-benefits?

If a country only accepts 6 out of 3260, then one is excepted to accept more. It's just common sense. It's about doing the right thing.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

WHAT the hell is going on!? Seems very suspicious. There should be an official inquiry.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@kimuzukashiiii "Should food in detention centers be liquidized?" Why do you take the announcement of "choking on food" at face value? The death rate in detention, at least anecdotetally, seems very high.

I would be interested to see some statistics on how the death rate for foreigners held by immigration services differ from that of locals held in prison.

Maybe this time the Iranian (who I note is anonymous and not named like a real human being) did actually choke, but we know from the case of Abubakar Awudu Suraj that the authorities basically strangled him and then pressured doctors to declare he had an existing heart defect, a claim that was completely a complete lie.

In any case, we all know there will be scant to no media coverage and none of our Japanese friends will even know about, much less care to talk about, what the government does behind closed doors in the name of "protecting" its people.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act should be revised and these abusive detention houses run by the immigration authorities abolished.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The problem with the "immigration centres" in Japan is that visa overstaying is treated as a crime in Japan, the same as rape, murder, terrorism, etc., and "detainees" are treated worse than prisoners because the guards know that they have absolutely no chance of filing a criminal case since they won't be allowed back into Japan and trying to sue from overseas is hopeless.

In short, these "detainees" have no legal protections whatsoever, beyond those provided by pressure from their home governments. Note how it is always people from small countries with little or no power who die? That's because the guards know that they can do as they like and there are no repercussions.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

This is a problem even it happened in a Japanese only detention facility. Please investigate and get it sorted fast.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ok so they highlight the death of two detained, so japan should open the doors to all like the uk, do you see the huge issues uk faces with immigration.

im sure if you looked at u.s. or canada or any other detention facility you come with random deaths also, nobody can say it doesn't happen, i mean here in canada we have people die of diseases or random events and we have high level of care.

those that cry shame don't know what they are talking about.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Any of your guys that have come to Japan has being detained?

Why do you people think they are detained?... and you know a common cause of chocking in cells and sudden dead are because, something they swallowed burst in their stomachs, or came back to the larynx and asphyxiated the person.

Not to say that every persona that came to Japan has some... shady snack before coming here. And also not to say the treatment that some people get in these Japanese holding facilities.

But there is a need to see this matter under another light, don't you think?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If it's for me to request political asylum, then let it be in Canada. Application first, then the hearing, and the decision. If approved, I could be eligible for PR, in which when going to Japan chase for the same thing

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here is an interesting article on Narita's detention center for those who want to read more on the subject. http://globalitemagazine.com/2012/01/10/inside-the-gaijin-dungeon-at-narita-airport-in-japan/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So the majority of JT posters believe that the staff at the detention centre are murderers? A guy chokes to death and another... who knows? Ebola is currently on the march in parts of Africa, people also suffer strokes, fatal heart attacks, even DVT can cause death.

However, you want to believe the worst because it fits your own personal world view.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Thunderbird 2 "However, you want to believe the worst because it fits your own personal world view."

Nonsense, people don't "want to believe" anything - we want accountability, transparency and the media to stop ignoring these issues and do their job - supervising those in power and driving such changes towards openness.

It is clear to anyone living in Japan that suspicious deaths in Japan (of both foreigners and Japanese) are just not investigated in the same manner as other industrialized countries, particularly when the government or other powerful organizations are involved. In addition to the death of Abubakar Awudu Suraj , there have been a number of cases, not only involving immigration, when completely spurious explanations have been given and accepted without scrutiny, both in fatal cases and cases of non-fatal injury.

I won't cite a whole list of examples as I will be edited for going off topic, but Japanese governmental authorities in general maintain a culture of secrecy when suspicious activity occurs and simply do not practice open disclosure as understood overseas.

While in this particular case, there may be natural causes, the skepticism of other posters is well founded.

I would be interested to hear your grounds for having confidence in Japanese government announcements on sensitive matters that have not be independently verified by a third party. Why do you believe what you are told despite past evidence to the contrary?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Why do people keep dying at detention centers. It's highly suspicious.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Some one post a "stroy" from a Canadian journalist Mr. Johnson...

Here is the story in the Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2012/01/japans-immigration-control

The Canadian Embassy knows about this... so either Canada and Japan are in to this together... or maybe there is no "This" at all and is just people dying of various causes (booze and drugs mainly).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan accepted six refugees during the year, down from 18 in the previous year.

This doesn't tell the whole story. In past years, about a quarter of the applicants received a visa on humanitarian grounds. These people didn't meet all the requirements to be officially recognized as refugees but they basically are refugees.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This doesn't tell the whole story. In past years, about a quarter of the applicants received a visa on humanitarian grounds. These people didn't meet all the requirements to be officially recognized as refugees but they basically are refugees.

It doesn't help that Japan has rejected 99% of the applicants. It's obvious that the bureaucrats don't want to have anything to do with the refugees, so they make the hurdle for being accepted unreasonably high.

http://www.amnesty.or.jp/human-rights/topic/refugee_in_japan/faq.html

It has even created abuse of refugees.

Currently in Japan, because of the system forbidding asylum seekers to work during the screening process, many of them are working illegally with low wages, and some of them are even treated inhumanely in their jobs.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Problem faced globally is separating true refugees from economic migrants.

Many economic migrants try to claim refugee status/asylum.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

People don't only die in Japanese detention centres, they do so all over the world, most recently in PNG, where the centre is run by Australia. Even in my own UK people die in detention centres... and who do they blame first in all cases? Staff. People die from a huge variety of natural causes or misadventure.

I don't know if the staff at the Japanese centre are lying, covering up, or murdering people, but without anything to go on, we once again have the staff being blamed.

Why do I believe what I read despite 'evidence to the contrary'? Why would I believe that a modern, rich country exterminates people in detention centres and covers it up? Because it sounds like a conspiracy theory.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It doesn't help that Japan has rejected 99% of the applicants. It's obvious that the bureaucrats don't want to have anything to do with the refugees, so they make the hurdle for being accepted unreasonably high. Currently in Japan, because of the system forbidding asylum seekers to work during the screening process, many of them are working illegally with low wages, and some of them are even treated inhumanely in their jobs.

It's the same in almost any western country, rejection of 99% of the applicants is not uncommon, due to most being economic rather than political refugees. However, most of the 99% are not deported, but given temporary visas. Please show me any country where asylum seekers are allowed to work during the screening process.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@thunderbird

Abubakar Awudu Suraj was killed and the immigration authorities ran around trying to find doctors who could attest to non-existent medical conditions that would allow them to cover it up. So yes, they attempted a conspiracy.

Of course these days, the meaning of conspiracy theory has changed from "a theory about people working in secret to achieve illicit aims" to "an unfeasibly unlikely theory about people working in secret to achieve illicit aims" but the former definition applies exactly to several past cases in Japan.

Again, it is difficult to argue on JT without getting edited for relevance violations, but in recent years a sumo wrestler (the sumo association is overseen by the Education Ministry and is therefore a quasi-governmental organization) was also killed and a conspiracy to cover his death did indeed take place. In this case there is no theory about it.

Your loaded use of the word "exterminate" suggests Pol Pot style killings, but there is no need to go that far. There are proven, verifiable examples of the Japanese state attempting to cover up the reasons behind the death of certain, named individuals. And of course, we only find out about those cases where the attempted conspiracy did not succeed.

Another example is the poor guy in a jail in Nagoya who died when guards kindly tried to "wash" (according to the wise and sympathetic judge) his behind with a high pressure hose.

None of this has anything to do with conspiracy theories in the currently accepted sense of the term.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan would be the last place I would consider to seek asylum. Not very immigrant-friendly...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This Numbers are very suspicious and a independent Investigation is needed to protect the reputation of Japan!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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