The family and supporters of Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali with her portrait head to the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Aichi Prefecture on Monday. Photo: KYODO
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Family of dead Sri Lankan woman unconvinced by Nagoya immigration account

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P. SmithToday 05:03 pm JST

So you will blame the officials if they moved quickly and blame them if they moved slowly? What I see is this: On seeing the psychiatrist's recommendation, they didn't decide to release her immediately. Which is understandable because apparently, THIS is what the psychiatrist wrote:

https://digital.asahi.com/articles/ASP5F628LP5FUTIL011.html

亡くなる2日前にウィシュマさんを診断した医師が「仮放免してあげれば良くなることが期待できる」

Translation: Two days before her death, the doctor (did not mention it is a psychiatrist or other specialty) said, "It can be expected she will improve if provisional release is granted."

Comment: Even counting stereotypical Japanese soft spoken-ness and indirectness, this simply cannot be read as "RELEASE HER NOW OR SHE'LL DIE, DARN IT!"

But they did decide to have the detention center's medical staff give her an inspection, see what they think. That seems like a reasonable first step, would it not. 

That's when they noticed the esophagitis, and they moved her to the hospital. Where the doctor apparently wrote THIS (same Asahi article):

「内服できないのであれば点滴、入院(入院は状況的に無理でしょう)」

Translation: If oral intake is not possible, IVs and Hospitalization (it's probably impossible to hospitalize her given the circumstances)."

Comment: Again this, in no way, can be reasonably interpreted as an instruction to hospitalize her. It in no way gives any vibes that Ms. Wishma is likely to bite the dust in about 24 hours if she's not hospitalized.

The Ministry officials' interpretation of events:

「『点滴、入院』というのは、診察の途中経過だ。最終的には収容施設内で薬の投与を続けるという医師の判断で、点滴や入院は指示されていない」

Translation: "IVs and Hospitalization" refers to mid diagnoses. Finally, the doctor's judgment was to continue drug administration within the detention center, and he did not instruct for IVs or hospitalization."

Comment: Which does not seem inconsistent with the actions that were finally taken.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The family also visited the single-person cell where Wishma was held, describing it as "small and as if for an animal."

Were they expecting her to live in a hotel or something? All the condolences to them for their loss, but what do you expect from a DETAINMENT CELL?

..

It seems that her death was ultimately caused by her not receiving the care she needed. Whether her death was actively caused by malpractice or inactively caused by negligence has to be judged by a court of law, if applicable.

However, one may ask questions about how this all unfolded.

[...] Wishma entered Japan in June 2017 on a student visa planning to teach English to children in Japan, according to her family, the ministry's interim reports, and supporters.

Wouldn't she need a work visa to accomplish this? Why would she go "on a student visa" to teach English to children in Japan?

Wishma attended a Japanese-language school in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo but her attendance started flagging from early 2018

Why did she stop going, though? Is this the initial reason why the family stopped paying?

moved in with a Sri Lankan man in the central Japan prefecture of Shizuoka [...] while finding work making bento meals.

Was moving in with the guy in a different prefecture after expiration of her visa status an attempt to flee the authorities? Also, what happened to her teaching English? Is it even possible to pay taxes when you don't have a visa status?

But in August 2020, she sought police protection after accusing the man of domestic violence [...] Her illegal immigration status was discovered at this time, and she received a deportation order.

What became of the man? And more importantly, what was his visa status? Was she so desperate in her situation that she opted to talk to the executive - which then ended up executing the law? Has she spoken with her family about this? Has she contacted her embassy?

She received a threatening letter from him and feared he might kill her even if she returned home to Sri Lanka

I cannot find any information about the Sri Lankan man. Does somebody have more info on him? Did her family know this? What does he have to say about her?

She initially thought that the immigration agency was a shelter and would protect her,

Seeing how she was pretty smart, was she under so much stress that she didn't mind being detained anymore?

Did she deserve to die? Nobody really deserves to die.

Should the officials have acted quicker? Undoubtedly so.

Was the officials' slow response understandable? Also yes. Wishma has demonstratively shown to have had low integrity on at least two to three separate occasions, which of course impacts your credibility in the long run. Of course, one shouldn't speak badly of the deceased, but acquitting her of any responsibility or agency in this matter is just as lazy and backwards as saying that it's entirely her fault.

In this case, everyone contributed to the outcome in a humanely fashion.

First we have the deceased, who ended up undermining her own chances and later credibility by taking the choices she did. Then we have her ex-boyfriend, who seemed to have pushed her into the arms of the police and put mental pressure on her to "not return home, or else". Lastly, we have the officials who failed to believe the deceased and only acted when it was too late. (Depending on how much they knew, the family could also be responsible. Moreover, couldn't the Sri Lankan embassy have jumped in here, too?)

All of this combined led to her timely demise. If only one of these few things went different, she would most likely be alive now. There are just too many factors to only blame one party.

But of course, I forgot that we live in an age where emotions reign supreme and heterogenous opinions and actual facts are discarded just to be offended at something.

RIP Wishma.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@bokudaToday  04:57 pm JST

1) If that's so, then someone must have taken a picture of said letter. Link, please to either raw image or transcription.

If there is no link available.

2) Who wrote that letter - the psychiatrist or the hospital endoscopist? The Psychiatrist claims he wanted her released, the hospital endoscopist claims he wants IVs and hospitalization.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Also, you demonstrated in the second paragraph that the detention center officials are responsible for her death.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

One problem with that is ... are they? The psychiatrist made his recommendation on the 4th. The detention center is a bureaucracy. It doesn't move immediately, and nothing in this article tells me the psychiatrist put any great stress on urgency.

Somewhere between the 4th and the 5th, they decided she had esophagitis and carted her to hospital. I assume the person who made the initial diagnosis of esophagitis was, if not a fully-rated doctor, at least someone with some medical training.

Your second paragraph defeats the argument in your first paragraph.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

The doctor looked her over and then did endoscopy but didn't insist Wishma stay or recommend serious treatment

That version has been retracted.

The Doctor's letter was censored by immigration, so the doctor stepped up and released the full version to the press.

There you can see how the doctor insisted in Wishma's immediate hospitalization and release.

It's very clear now that immigration negligence is the cause of death.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Sad and unnecessary death. It was not a suicide

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@P. SmithToday 04:29 pm JST

When you die whilst in detention because the people detaining you ignored a medical professionals advice, it is the fault of the detention center officials.

One problem with that is ... are they? The psychiatrist made his recommendation on the 4th. The detention center is a bureaucracy. It doesn't move immediately, and nothing in this article tells me the psychiatrist put any great stress on urgency.

Somewhere between the 4th and the 5th, they decided she had esophagitis and carted her to hospital. I assume the person who made the initial diagnosis of esophagitis was, if not a fully-rated doctor, at least someone with some medical training.

Anyway one way or another, within about 24 hours, she got to leave the detention center for a brief visit to an outside hospital. Is that "ignoring medical professional's advice"? It's more accurate to say Wishma flopped before they could really decide whether to follow the recommendation or not.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I said "A great extent her fault", not fully her fault.

What percentage of fault do you ascribe to the people who ignored the medical professionals?

If you die in prison, depending on how you died, the prison officials may or may not be at fault, but unless you are a political prisoner or the victim of a miscarriage of justice, you are responsible for putting yourself in prison in the first place.

When you die whilst in detention because the people detaining you ignored a medical professionals advice, it is the fault of the detention center officials.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@gintonicToday 03:54 pm JST

So you are implying she faked the symptoms, ( she must have faked them really well since the doctor who examined her recomended an IV drip to be administered in his report -which was of course ignored by the officers in charge )...how certain are you that is what she did? What a humanitarian.

To be more accurate, it's disputed whether that event happened:

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210514/p2a/00m/0na/016000c

According to Takeshi Shina, a member of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, who was present at the meeting, the Justice Ministry recognized that, before it produced its report, it had obtained medical records on a stomach endoscopy she received at a hospital outside the detention center.

> The records show instructions from a doctor reading: "If (medicine) cannot be administered orally, she should receive an IV drip and be hospitalized." When the Ministry of Justice made inquiries with the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau, it was told that they "weren't the facts." The ministry said it therefore stated in the report that "there were no instructions from a doctor to administer an IV drip or hospitalize her."

Now, before you immediately buy the doctor's version of the facts, I'll just point out that at least at this stage the Immigration Department has a stronger claim than the Doctor:

1) If the Immigration Department's version is true, then the Doctor failed to spot that Wishma is in a fairly critical condition. It's possible Wishma deterioriated in the space of one day in an unpredictable way but that doesn't seem too likely. Thus he allowed without comment for Immigration to ship her back to detention. That makes for a potential malpractice case on the doctor's part and gives him a motivation to "gundeck" his documents to sloth blame onto Immigration.

2) If the Doctor's version is true, then we'll have to accept that the relevant immigration officials have it in for Wishma so much they are willing to risk having her death on their watch, which simply cannot be career-enhancing. The doctor's written recommendation gives them a solid basis to just sloth Wishma and whatever happens to her next onto the hospital. Why don't these bureaucrats do that?

3) What happened can be explained much more easily if the Immigration Department's version is true. They suspected Wishma got esophagitis so they carted her to the neighboring hospital. The doctor looked her over and then did endoscopy but didn't insist Wishma stay or recommend serious treatment, so they reasonably believed that Wishma simply cannot be as sick as the human rights people say she is and carted her back. Then she flopped.

Now does that make sense to you?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

This girl’s life could have been saved.

The medic already gave a critical diagnosis of her bad health but the competent authorities decided to ignore his or her advice.

This is something of an extreme gravity and a very big violation of the dignity of human life.

In a real democracy the people involved in this would be presecuted but here everyone covered everyone.

If you love Japan then change it for better.

Things can’t always remain the same.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

This is a serious hypocrisy of immigration.

I think lot's of illegal workers in japan basically in recycling sector.

Immigration like to keep their eye closed on this issue since we have shortage of worker in recycling sector.

RIP Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali.

Forgive us.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I assume that whoever runs the immigration authority isn't a softy. Every decision involving special medical attention to detainees needs this persons Hanko and even for someone to propose or request special medical attention for a detainee, is an insult to this person, if the detainee isn't already on death's doorstep.

That is how these bureaucracies often run. Everyone is compartmentalized and has to appear tough and rigid or you may not get promoted if you show sympathy towards a detainee or try to cut a corner to give someone special attention or care. Rules are rules (especially in Japan). You are to do your job and thats that! Its well pointed out in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipeligo how these systems operate.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This injustice should be reported in media around the world.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

OK, suppose you are in prison for six months. If you are able to fake these symptoms, you might just wrangle yourself a release and a chance to see the sun again. How certain are you that you will retain your integrity and not lie?

So you are implying she faked the symptoms, ( she must have faked them really well since the doctor who examined her recomended an IV drip to be administered in his report -which was of course ignored by the officers in charge )...how certain are you that is what she did? What a humanitarian.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

ScarceToday  06:41 am JST

Why was she even being held? If she wss issued a deportation order, then whyvwas she imprisoned and not deported in a timely manner?.

When someone get deportation order . They have the right to refuse it and choose to stay in Japan but only the court and judge can decide if they can stay in Japan or not.

But waiting for the court decision might take over a year. Some people can get supervision release and some not while waiting for the court decision. As we have seen she already had someone who can be her guarantor but the immigration refused her release 2 times. I think the immigration broke the law first they need investigation on why she was denied 2 times release even when a Japanese national was ready to take her a d take responsibility by law only people who had some crime before who might be denied the processional release.

Second crime by immigration is not taking her health issue seriously.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@AntiquesavingToday 02:14 pm JST

One has to wonder how much of that is due to Anglophones ascribing everything to racism, when the entire incident can be explained by the involved individual(s) concrete characteristics, like in this case. The Immigration people don't have to distrust foreigners, because it is entirely justifiable to distrust Wishma the individual (oh, and JapanToday just ate my message elaborating on this point).

@sir_bentley28Today 01:15 pm JST

Hmmm let's see here...........hollowed out eyes, which is a sure sign of lack of sleep, lack of sunlight, poor diet, dehydration, stomach virus and bacteria! Foaming at the mouth which solidified the fact that you're dehydrated, stressed and have an internal prolem. Oh! And lookey here! Stiff fingers which could possibly be a case of Dupuytren’s contracture whichis similar to arthritis or even Stenosing tenosynovitis!

OK, suppose you are in prison for six months. If you are able to fake these symptoms, you might just wrangle yourself a release and a chance to see the sun again. How certain are you that you will retain your integrity and not lie?

How hard do you think the human rights group people on your side will be checking if you are faking it.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Her supporters said Wishma used a wheelchair and that when they last met her on March 3 at the immigration center, there was foam around her mouth and her fingers were stiff. They said her eyes appeared hollow.

If that is true, that is gross negligence.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"on March 3 at the immigration center, there was foam around her mouth and her fingers were stiff. They said her eyes appeared hollow."

And it appears that no one from the detention centre did any think, when some one is in the poor state and they sat back and either choose to ignore the fact make them totaly responsible, just because its its Japans way or its goverment regulations, the fact is they have some one in there care, and just to ignore them and out side people. and it looks like that is exactly that, that they must be held liable for there lack of action. and thus leading to her demise.

And we need to see the autopsy. just to make sure there is no cover up.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Detention centers are not for wife beaters or beaten wives.

She should have sought refuge at some NPO, etc. (after promptly addressing her visa status).

Wrong choices made.

Too late now, I guess.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Dear All,

It is a tragedy.

Also, it is very very unfortunate to see the comments on Japanese news article that received the maximum likes (23K) does not blame the system. It points towards the victims.

Link: https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/b23c33b31f0ef93bd57d3af05079116f633a603d

Google translation the liked comment:

If you enter the country legally and stay in Japan legally, you must be protected by law regardless of nationality.

On the other hand, staying illegally for any reason must be punished according to equality before the law.

I don't think I liked Japan or any quibble there.

Illegal residents use infrastructure facilities without paying income tax or residence tax

Moving out is a natural measure

Assumption: JapanToday is ready by 90% foreigners and Yahoo Japan news is read by 90 % Japanese.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Detention centers are not holiday let's! They are not designed to be desirable. They want those inside to seek repatriation as soon as possible. The key to avoiding detention is to obey the law. Don't enter Japan on a student visa if you are really seeking employment.

Yes, the Japanese economy needs these workers but don't take the bait. There are better options.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

A very sad story, at the end of the day she died in custody and as such given what I’ve read in this article I hope there is an inquiry into her death. If there are failings in the system then they need to be corrected as well as neglect on the part of the Immigration Dept. I know if that happened here there’d be serious consequences.

A few callous comments by some posters here, I’m curious to hear how they justify that ‘she is responsible for what happened’.

Absolute baloney

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Bingo for the poor Sri Lanka family.

They did not support her when needee. And now have enoigh money toncome to see her dead body.

That is the truth.

They let be beaten bybanother Sr Lanka man, with no empathy.

Mass immigration issue showing just the tip of the iceberg.

Justice and care were not given obviously.

What do you expect when the government is not even caring for Japanese nationals in a pandemy situation ?

Don't come in Japan to be treated medically for free while you are a rule violator !

Sorry for this blunt reply but my Japanese family is already struggling for some with their own local issues and I don't think they need more foreigners issue like we undergo like in my own country.

RIP to her.

I hope her fate will save the ones of many others by being on the news showing the true face of Japan. Paradise only for tourists.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

*The sources also said the immigration authority suspected Wishma was feigning (faking) illness to gain provisional release and conveyed this view to the psychiatrist.*

Sadly I have seen firsthand many experiences in Japan where they would casually say that foreigners lie. The immigration authority should NOT be in a position to make medical judgments.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Seems irrelevant to the core of the issue and I am not even sure which country where smartest group of people wish working at detention center, SDF, police you have in mind.

Seems true to any country. If you can't get authority from the level of your intellect, you always have a choice to be a police. Instant authority. You can order people who are way smarter than you. It feels good.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

A lot of people who get detention center jobs, SDF or police jobs tend not to be the smartest people in Japan. Not always but more often than not!

Many start these jobs right out of high school or senmon gakko because they had very little chance of getting into university.

Seems irrelevant to the core of the issue and I am not even sure which country where smartest group of people wish working at detention center, SDF, police you have in mind. I highly respect these people and their jobs anyway.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Her supporters said Wishma used a wheelchair and that when they last met her on March 3 at the immigration center, there was foam around her mouth and her fingers were stiff. They said her eyes appeared hollow.

Immigration "authority" : Hmmm let's see here...........hollowed out eyes, which is a sure sign of lack of sleep, lack of sunlight, poor diet, dehydration, stomach virus and bacteria! Foaming at the mouth which solidified the fact that you're dehydrated, stressed and have an internal prolem. Oh! And lookey here! Stiff fingers which could possibly be a case of Dupuytren’s contracture whichis similar to arthritis or even Stenosing tenosynovitis!

The sources also said the immigration authority suspected Wishma was feigning (faking) illness to gain provisional release and conveyed this view to the psychiatrist.

And nobody was held responsible?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Hope that bill includes basic medical care. A young woman in a wheelchair should raise red flags higher than Mt. Fuji.

Basic medical care is in place already at centers. The issues often arise when those refused deportation and detained, not a few go into hunger strike and intentionally tries to become physically ill to gain provisional release status. Reminder : I am not talking about her case.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@HIro

I don't get why she would risk dying in detention if she fear her life is in danger from a former partner. And now the family seek justice?

She was detained when she reported her boyfriend to the police. The police was supposed to protect her, but they murdered her.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Typical deception of Japan.

Recent government of Japan insists to Japan values human rights or democracy toward international society but actual they continue to trample on human rights or democracy easily for a long time.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

Wishma's death is tragic, but the article also suggests it is to a great extent her fault.

The punishment for her "crimes" is deportation. She died.

Good to know the extent of your humanity and logic is no longer than a poodle's wagging tail.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

A life was lost here and there's a trail of evidence which would've and should've qualified her for asylum here. But Japan decided to throw her in a cage "small enough for an animal!"

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Its the risk you take when immigrating to another country. Could take the chances of their home country and see how good the chances of survival are there. Dont want to harbor too many immigrants. Especially Japan, as it would not be able to handle or manage. I seen countries first hand when they take in too many immigrants and refugees, your country goes down hill.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

In any other civilized country those in charge would have lost their jobs and possibly been charged.

Once in custody of the police, immigration, etc... Those in charge are responsible for the wellbeing of the detained.

This was clearly not done, victim blaming as some here are doing should be considered unacceptable.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

And again, the bill now being proposed are basically solution for these issues at detention center.

Hope that bill includes basic medical care. A young woman in a wheelchair should raise red flags higher than Mt. Fuji.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's not a secret that most people do not achieve their best health in a prison. By that standard, should all prisoners be granted "provisional release"?

We are not discussing " all prisoners" here but her specific case. Immigration officials disregarded the doctor/ psychiatrists recommendations , then purposely left it out of their report into the case.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So Japan is equal to or worse than North Korea or CCCP. Really... makes me forget the news reporting those supporters SMART and 62year-old local women who tried to take care of her once provisional release is granted are all Japanese people and the funeral held to send her off here in Japan. Didn't know those or other countries have such local backups for illegal stayers.

FYI as of 2020 Dec

Foreigners who refused deportation order total 3100

of which, detained 250, provisionally released 2440, fugitives wanted during provisional release 420

I believe J-Gov should release all the true story out including video footage to explain exactly what happened there with all the behind stories including why her school attendance started flagging just about 6month after her entry, what she has been doing all these years. These Japanese supporters must know more than reported through media. And again, the bill now being proposed are basically solution for these issues at detention center.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Anyone who expects justice from the japanese ministry of justice is kidding himself. They are hostage takers.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

As others have said, there is definitely a stench of a visa scam here - paying an agent to get people into the country to find work and they end up being forced into some criminal activity or poor working conditions. There needs to be an investigation into the disgusting treatment she received at the hands of immigration, but also an investigation into the visa system that is most likely being abused to get people into the country.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Do you mean those Japanese got detained ? or accepted deportation and left Canada

No most tried fighting deportation as they all expected their "plans" to marry their boyfriends would be enough.

Didn't work, one even had to be taken to hospital due to an ectopic pregnancy, all medical expenses picked up by Canadian immigration as us normal in a civilized society.

Yes they are all women all expecting to fine a Canadian husband.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

AntiquesavingToday  12:16 pm JST

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

I know several Japanese that overstayed their visas in Canada.

Not one was so poorly treated, not one denied medical attention not one is dead.

I guess Canadians value the lives of everyone not just Canadians.

Do you mean those Japanese got detained ? or accepted deportation and left Canada

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Overstayed my working holiday visa by a month of so back in the day. Had to pay 5,000 yen and got told to make sure it didn't happen again.

Not sure of the entire circumstances behind this one, but wonder if skin colour and nationality played a part. I get a general feeling that anglo nationalities are treated better here.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Her mother has told Kyodo News that she was "worried about sending a girl alone overseas" but thought "it would be okay in a safe country like Japan."

This has got to sting. In my opinion once you incarcerate someone their life is your responsibility. I am glad this story is making the news. I think it is the tip of the iceberg.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

I know several Japanese that overstayed their visas in Canada.

Not one was so poorly treated, not one denied medical attention not one is dead.

I guess Canadians value the lives of everyone not just Canadians.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

@JimToday 07:29 am JST

If they had just followed the doctors recommendation that she be hospitalized then this whole saga would have been avoided

Considering that the diagnosis was on March 4 and she died on the 6th, even unconditional deference to the psychiatrist's recommendation is unlikely to save this woman.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Even hardened criminals in prison in civilized countries get medical attention if they are ill. And medical care in this case was NOT 'delayed', as you out it. It was practically non-existent.

Yet again, the point is she should've avoided the detention centre altogether by leaving or renewing her visa.

It is well known that conditions in Japanese detention centres or jails are not the best, why putting yourself in one?

The justice system here is a joke and that's why most Japanese people avoid having to deal with the police (i.e. not reporting certain crimes or committing crimes) and that should go double for foreign nationals.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

@dbsaiyaToday 07:27 am JST

Put in a simpler way for government apoloigists, what would you say if a Japanese were treated the same way and died while in custody in Sri Lanka?

If the Japanese were in a mirror situation, is there a reason why he won't choose immediate deportation if it was offered to him? When you are in a Third-World country, you don't have expectations, and being allowed to actually get out w/o further fuss would be considered pretty good.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

What a tragedy! I'm so sorry.

My heart goes out to her family.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Look, it’s just printed in the text.

after being detained for overstaying her student visa

Don’t overstay your student visa (or any other one) and you will not be held in such a detention center and if you are not held there you also cannot become sick and die there. It’s probably also not so difficult to understand for students , university graduates, English teachers...

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

El RataToday  09:31 am JST

Other than not deporting her quicker, I don't see any wrongdoing by Nagoya Immigration Bureau. She was the one who didn't follow the rules and unfortunately that contributed to her death. I will say it once again, had she been in her country or had renewed her visa chances are she would still be alive.

You know, everybody, including the posters of these type of comments, makes unskillful choices in their lives. That shouldn't mean their lives are somehow less valuable and worthy of protection and care.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

A lot of people who get detention center jobs, SDF or police jobs tend not to be the smartest people in Japan. Not always but more often than not!

Many start these jobs right out of high school or senmon gakko because they had very little chance of getting into university.

Which means they are ignorant to a lot things working for the government gives them a sense of superiority over others.

That makes for a bad combination when a real emergency like this situation arises.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This tragedy is unfortunate but to go on to suggest that medical treatment is unavailable to those in detention is a deceptive and slightly irresponsible exaggeration. Here in the states, we (sadly) have also had quite a few asylum seekers die while being detained but that does not suggest that we are denying anyone emergency medical care.

Even hardened criminals in prison in civilized countries get medical attention if they are ill. And medical care in this case was NOT 'delayed', as you out it. It was practically non-existent.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@P. SmithToday 07:17 am JST

I said "A great extent her fault", not fully her fault. If you die in prison, depending on how you died, the prison officials may or may not be at fault, but unless you are a political prisoner or the victim of a miscarriage of justice, you are responsible for putting yourself in prison in the first place.

As for the recommendation:

A psychiatrist who saw Wishma on March 4 recommended she should be granted a provisional release, saying in a report to the Nagoya immigration center that her condition would improve if she were released, according to sources familiar with the matter.

It's not a secret that most people do not achieve their best health in a prison. By that standard, should all prisoners be granted "provisional release"? Also, if the point is that she would do better in the open, the psychiatrist can convince Wishma to accept deportation and report that to the authorities. BTW, isn't the ostensible reason for her not wanting to return to Sri Lanka being that the man might kill her? If she was "provisionally released", she would be in the same country as that man who supposedly wants to kill her. See the problems?

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

el rato:

How about following the rules of your host country to avoid imprisonment and delayed medical care?

Even hardened criminals in prison in civilized countries get medical attention if they are ill. And medical care in this case was NOT 'delayed', as you out it. It was practically non-existent.

I'd rather see a cold-blooded murderer or serial rapist die than an overstayer.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This story is tragic at so many levels.

She went to the police to escape domestic violence and was turned in to the immigration and died as a result.

What message does it give to anyone else out there in a similar situation, put up with the violence, because the alternative is death!!!!!

5 ( +11 / -6 )

There are probably a lot of prejudice people working in immigration and the police department in Japan. It is no different than white supremacists founding the police forces in the US (slave patrols).

It highly likely that these immigration officers are lying to protect themselves and will attempt to put the blame on someone else in typical Japanese manner!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

In my country, our institutions server the community.

They treat you with empathy, humanity and most professionally.

Japan has a long way to go to be considered a first world country.

So far has proved that Sry Lanka, in the middle of a pandemic/civil war, is safer than Japan.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Some Japanese, most of them are extremely gentle, kind, peaceful. Unfortunately there are few cold blood, heartless people, insensitive, cruel, sadic, the result is this very sad death of a harmless person. Hope that these bad officers be punished.

@Makoto Shimizu - You are right that there are many gentle, kind, peaceful Japanese people. Unfortunately, many of those people work in systems, institutions, and environments that are inherently heartless, insensitive, sadistic, and cruel, and don’t ever speak up about the practices and methods of working.

It’s easy to cite examples of this - For every Dentsu, with all the instances of inhumane hours of overtime and deaths from overwork, there will be hundreds of other black companies that treat their workers like dirt.

Once we head up from companies to institutions like the prison service, the police, immigration detention etc. which give people actual power to wield, the treatment seems to get worse.

There are bad, cruel, heartless, evil people everywhere around the world, but if the good, gentle, kind people never speak out against the evil, heartless systems they themselves are a part of, then they are complicit in allowing those systems to continue to behave in their abhorrent ways.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Makoto ShimizuToday  09:20 am JST

Some Japanese, most of them are extremely gentle, kind, peaceful. Unfortunately there are few cold blood, heartless people, insensitive, cruel, sadic, the result is this very sad death of a harmless person. Hope that these bad officers be punished.

Makoto what you say it’s very true,me as many other expats do well know that many Japanese people have a good and warm heart of course.

But the issue here is not about an individual person but about a whole institution and system lead by the actual Japanese government that raise many preoccupied questions about the inhumane treatment and detentions of people that come from certain counties.

Japan was a signatory of the human rights paper but seems to forget it.

You have the power to change things for better and make a more right society for your country next time you’ll vote.

To change things people need to remove these ultra far right wingers and give a chance to Mr.Edano.

Sadly we could read so many stone cold comments in this forum forgetting that a young woman’s life and her dreams are no more.

Humanity and compassion should be part of our daily thinking.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Another PREMEDITATED MURDER done by the Japanese gov. officials on a foreign national with, probably, again, zero repecusions.

The guvernments should take a more strong position against Japan, because Human Right off the foreigners are almost non-existent here. And the racism is deeply rooted into their culture.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

he initially thought that the immigration agency was a shelter 

...and she was a university graduate?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Really hope the family gets justice. Been learning myself in an unrelated issue how difficult it is to get justice when any admission of guilt would open the offenders to real legal action. Rather than face repercussions, they will deny, deny, deny. It is such an uphill battle. Don't give up.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Err, how about giving her some medical attention instead of, once again, leaving her to rot in prison? You're not listening, are you?

How about following the rules of your host country to avoid imprisonment and delayed medical care?

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Sad that this is happening in a country that when it was very poor, shipped hundreds of thousands of

it's own citizens to far flung countries where they were happily accepted and granted citizenship in those countries and now that it is rich it has forgotten it's own past.

Japan glitters to a lot people outside and not until you live here for a long duration that eventually you learn

that not all that glitters is gold.

The treatment of subjects from developing countries has been dismal and don't think it will change anytime

because the vast majority of Japanese people are oblivious to the problems as the media here has been doing

a good job of not mentioning the bad aspects of Japan but rather how sugoi Japan is and the envy of the world.

Shame to anybody supporting the inhumane treatment of another human being, pray that you are not detained

and treated inhumanly.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

I suppose she feigned her death as well. These disgusting people and system are literally leaving others to rot in jail and die. They don't really want these people in Japan so was she offered the chance to go straight back to Sri Lanka asap? It seems going back to even a war-torn country seems safer than being stuck in a Japanese immigration centre.

El Rata:

Other than not deporting her quicker, I don't see any wrongdoing by Nagoya Immigration Bureau.

Err, how about giving her some medical attention instead of, once again, leaving her to rot in prison? You're not listening, are you?

1 ( +10 / -9 )

My, this is the most horrifying story I have read on Japan since the similar story of the Vietnamese man who was murdered by the Japanese government in northern Japan last year for similar issues. This one is notably worse because of the TIME they had to make the right choice and didn't. When the Japanese government detains people it becomes their responsibility to provide healthcare and keep them alive. These tragedies feel almost as though foreigners who are being detained lose their rights as human beings. Just like the police who don't care about pets at crime scenes, people are being treated as though they are animals, and animals have no rights and are treated pretty badly by the government here. That needs to change.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Immigration authorities killed her due to lack of awareness.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Wishma used a wheelchair and that when they last met her on March 3 at the immigration center, there was foam around her mouth and her fingers were stiff. They said her eyes appeared hollow.

... and ...

the immigration authority suspected Wishma was feigning illness to gain provisional release

The Immigration official who made that assessment is, a the very least, guilty of causing death by neglect. They should be immediately fired from their position and brought before the courts to face charges.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

I had a feeling that Kazuaki would chip in with his "well actually..." 'splaining comment, but he outdid himself this time.

Even if she was serving a sentence as a convicted murderer, her death still wouldn't have been "her fault".

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Until all those ojayi que spose and japan get hit with sanctions, this will never end, those descendent of criminal need to get put in position as soon they leave japan, and I guaranty that all this stop.

the idiots outside japan thinking that Japanese are kind people need to wake up, Japan have not change, they are worse than Chinese CCP.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

@Eisenach 

Do you realise that a lot of Japanese nationals travel overseas on tourist visas but end up engaging in business,research,expos etc while on tourist visas?

I have worked with so many Japanese overseas who go on tourist visas but engage in different activities.

If gvt's overseas start cracking down on these kind of visas,a lot of Japanese people abroad would get in trouble.

Think before you spew nonsense.

14 ( +22 / -8 )

describing it as "small and as if for an animal."

I think even Ghosn said the detention conditions were inhumane !

Psychological torture, uncertainty , no medical help , guilty or not regardless of circumstance.

She came to Japan to find better life and died in pain in a prison cell just because she overstayed her visa during a pandemic.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

She should not have refused deportation order. Other report says she was following the order but suddenly changed her mind after meeting a supporting group member. If DV from her ex roommate was the reason for her refusal, she and/or her family should have reported to police in Sri Lanka for protection in advance. Her family who could afford to pay air-fare to join her funeral should have sent that money for her tuition or for her air-fair to return home in the first place. Yes it is such a tragedy but new bill currently proposed are designed to solve these issues as quickly as possible so as to shorten or negate unnecessary detention

True.

Other than not deporting her quicker, I don't see any wrongdoing by Nagoya Immigration Bureau. She was the one who didn't follow the rules and unfortunately that contributed to her death. I will say it once again, had she been in her country or had renewed her visa chances are she would still be alive.

True, here too.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

She should not have refused deportation order. Other report says she was following the order but suddenly changed her mind after meeting a supporting group member. If DV from her ex roommate was the reason for her refusal, she and/or her family should have reported to police in Sri Lanka for protection in advance. Her family who could afford to pay air-fare to join her funeral should have sent that money for her tuition or for her air-fair to return home in the first place. Yes it is such a tragedy but new bill currently proposed are designed to solve these issues as quickly as possible so as to shorten or negate unnecessary detention

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Other than not deporting her quicker, I don't see any wrongdoing by Nagoya Immigration Bureau. She was the one who didn't follow the rules and unfortunately that contributed to her death. I will say it once again, had she been in her country or had renewed her visa chances are she would still be alive.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

Some Japanese, most of them are extremely gentle, kind, peaceful. Unfortunately there are few cold blood, heartless people, insensitive, cruel, sadic, the result is this very sad death of a harmless person. Hope that these bad officers be punished.

17 ( +24 / -7 )

""Supporters kept demanding that immigration authorities get her medical attention or grant her provisional release, but their requests were denied.

At the end of February, Wishma requested provisional release again, saying that she wanted to be treated at a hospital, but her application was again denied.""

SHE WAS KILLED, when a person pleads for help, drops 20kg in six month, detained and crying for help, the least that could be done is to admit her to a hospital, but she was denied the right for medical attention.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

If the detention centre ignored medical professionals opinions solely because they thought she was faking it, they are absolutely responsible for her death.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

But why would she fear for her life if her family truly care about her and would protect her? Was it that bad just to go home?

I don't get why she would risk dying in detention if she fear her life is in danger from a former partner. And now the family seek justice? Why didn't they just convince her to come back home? The world is huge. Is not like Japan is a paradise that once you get in, your life would be secure and full of happiness.

-11 ( +9 / -20 )

This story is fishy to say the least.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@Eisenach

Aside from the utter cruelty of blaming the victim...

Protect from what? A person got murdered for not having her paperwork in order. It doesn't look like she was the one posing a threat to someone.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

but the article also suggests it is to a great extent her fault."

Defend the system to the end, no matter how deplorable the case might be. Victim blaming at its finest, no compassion.

How many people have died till now in immigration custody here? With the Olympic spotlight that it so desperately craves on it, foreign media should do an in depth story on the Japanese imigration system

10 ( +17 / -7 )

This news made my heart literally cry,this country’s institution sense of cruelty and the general indifference toward such very grave issues made me lose all the will to keep living here.

I’m lucky that I was born in a developed country but people can’t choose their birthplace and I believe developed countries should also mean a developed and equal society.

I feel soo much pain and sorrow for the people living in Japan coming from these countries because either the people or even worst the J-institution will discriminate them.

I made a choice with my wife to go back to my country in western Europe for reasons like this.

Japan is sadly everything but a true democracy.

The death of this poor poor girl outcries justice!

Shame on you Japan.

And even shame to some posters here even trying to justify the murder of her.

12 ( +23 / -11 )

The thinking in this country seems to be if you break the law then anything that happens afterwards is all your responsibility.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

 So many people make so much effort to get a valid visa and go through so many obstacles as well as hardship while doing so.

Yes, being white and speaking English can be such a challenge sometimes.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

@Kazuaki are you saying that visa those who overstay their visa should be murdered?Then just pray that a Japanese national does not get caught abroad.

This is murder and Japan as a country should no longer be respected internationally.

The system here is so barbaric.

She went to the authorities to ask for help and instead they murder her.

13 ( +22 / -9 )

Yes, she did break the law. The punishment for the violation is not death.

This is the part of Japan that is pure evil.

15 ( +25 / -10 )

The way Japanese immigration officials treat people from SE Asia and the subcontinent is bizarre. They seem to honestly believe every person from that area who comes here is doing so with intention to illegally emigrate. Maybe 20~30 years ago, Japan was very rich compared to neighbors. Not so anymore.

11 ( +20 / -9 )

"Why was she even being held? If she wss issued a deportation order, then whyvwas she imprisoned and not deported in a timely manner?"

Because, she was trying to game the system. Under Japanese law any deportation order can be stopped, if you file for refugee status. If your application is turned down, you can apply over and over again. Thats the game. The Japanese government-wisely- is putting a stop to it.

-16 ( +14 / -30 )

@Kazuaki

While those may be fair points, what is your justification or response about the detention center dismissing the advice of their psychiatrist?

Had they followed it, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect she'd still be alive?

How about her cause of death? Is it not the responsibility of the authorities to determine it?

While I agree with you that she broke the law and was rightfully rounded up by the authorities, I don't believe that she should have been denied proper medical treatment, which likely led to her death, while in the care of the authorities. Your comment comes off as a callous 'she got what she deserved' type comment.

We see time and time again that the authorities largely disregard the wellbeing of any alleged rule breakers, regardless of the severity of the crime, and advocates for those being detained, professionals or otherwise, are largely ignored. This is a totally unjust and misguided aspect of the justice system.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Once again, a little bit of Japanese darkness shines through.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

"She received a threatening letter from him and feared he might kill her even if she returned home to Sri Lanka, Matsui added. She initially thought that the immigration agency was a shelter and would protect her'

IMO smells like perhaps human trafficking craka lackin...

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I know first hand how Japanese Immigration don't give a toss. Before the new facility was built in Nagoya I was held for 2 days at the new Centrair airport after being rejected entry for doing something one of their own staff had told me to do. The new airport has no facilities for this and i was locked in a cleaners cupboard that had been cleared out and a blood stained sofa put in there for me. No windows, no A/C and was not offered any food only a plastic cup for some tap water in there. I asked repeatedly for food and was ignored. It was half way through the second day that Singapore Airlines who I had flown with found out about me and demanded they are allowed to bring me some food. I hope these guys are held accountable for this woman's unnecessary death

25 ( +33 / -8 )

This is so evil on many levels. Doesn't her school/university that sponsors her visa bear some responsibility as they are to have her renew her visa, or provide for exit?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki

You say her death is tragic, but then you proceed to victim blame her. There is a real lack of empathy around these parts nowadays. It’s the detention center’s responsibility to take care of its inmates in a humane manner. If they can’t do their job properly then that is on them. Why they always feel the need to needlessly drag it out is beyond me.

25 ( +34 / -9 )

Say her name on the Olympic podium. Use the Olympic spotlight to foster accountability, justice, and betterment.

Poor woman. Indeed, how about some knees on the ground for her....that would be aah, so regrettable, for J- authorities wouldn't it, especially with the world watching.

19 ( +28 / -9 )

immigration has been busted already releasing false evidence in this case.

and the negative of releasing any footage is making everybody very angry.

which means they have something to hide

Well, this is what happens when the jgov incessantly lies all the time. No different to CCP and NK.

Absolutely! cheeks of the same butt.

Willfully ignoring recommendations of Japanese medical professionals? They are guilty of murder.

exactly!

International pressure MUST be shown on this System ( I refuse to call it a justice system when it is anything but). The family should continue the fight and continue to talk to foreign media and get their story out.

14 ( +23 / -9 )

Supporters kept demanding that immigration authorities get her medical attention or grant her provisional release, but their requests were denied.

And is that because ‘foreigners’ are regarded as less deserving of fair treatment?

Obviously it is...

18 ( +26 / -8 )

Wow someone needs to be fired

13 ( +21 / -8 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki - it is unthinkable you are blaming fault on her. The government was responsible for her well being, as she was in their custody, and couldn't do anything to improve her sittuation. As such, the faultship lies 100% with the government. And you should know, the Japanese immigration tends to treat people like her like "subhumans", lesser humans than other citizens or foreigners.

Somehow in the government's view, just because they broke the immigration law, such peoples' lives are no worthy any more. It is tragic that she complained about pains for months before she passed away. There is no face-saving for Japan right now, as a country it should be ashamed of itself because if this aspect.

35 ( +44 / -9 )

The whole problem here is the immigration detention system in itself. The authorities allow people into Japan to fulfill the labor shortage by approving student visas without checking background information properly. It’s not the student visa that they need but actually they just want to work here. So the student visa concept is abused from the start. The immigration department turn a blind eye on this concept.

Although I’m totally against any from of illegal stay in any country, I really feel sad that a young lady lost her life due to the negligence of the immigration authority officials! It should be as simple as if a person overstays their visa ( without a valid reason as in this case ), then instead of holding them in detention just send them on the next flight back. The whole system is flawed and this is not due to only the relevant authorities only but also people who overstay their visa. So many people make so much effort to get a valid visa and go through so many obstacles as well as hardship while doing so. It’s unfair that some people hide and overstay as illegals. Nevertheless in this case the relevant immigration officials who denied the poor lady medical rights should be dealt with accordingly! They even questioned a medical practitioners diagnosis without any knowledge themselves. If they had just followed the doctors recommendation that she be hospitalized then this whole saga would have been avoided ( that is until the next such case )!

23 ( +30 / -7 )

Kazuki, I beg to differ with your governmental stance. Wishma was in the care and custody of immigration, i.e. Houmu Sho, the Justice Ministry. Every person has their human rights to be treated with dignity and care while in confinement, no matter what their transgression. She was not granted those basic human rights while in custody, of all places the Justice Ministry. Just to keep things in perspective, Kawai Katsuyuki who was indicted and plead guilty to election violations was the previous Justice Minister. The current minister Kamikawa is nothing but window dressing for the LDP to show gender equality, she has no legal background or education and has ordered the most executions of any former justice minister. The ministry, like all ministries in Japan are lazy, incompetent, and run like a bureacracy where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Put in a simpler way for government apoloigists, what would you say if a Japanese were treated the same way and died while in custody in Sri Lanka?

31 ( +42 / -11 )

In all embassies, it is well known to push authorities to really provide health care to foreigners in prison. But Japanese doctors help is late and so bad. Everything has to change in Justice and condition in prison!

Rip to all those people suffering of Japanese non justice.

18 ( +27 / -9 )

Wishma's death is tragic, but the article also suggests it is to a great extent her fault.

She forced the immigration detention authorities to ignore the advice of medical professionals? That’s a unique interpretation of the article.

Whenever someone is detained, that person’s wellbeing becomes the responsibility of the jailers.

35 ( +47 / -12 )

Big 3, Japan, China and Korea, the bullies of SouthEast Asians, not surprised about this, esp in a very Japanese way.

9 ( +24 / -15 )

It’s not like thousands are turning up, but the system can’t handle actually destroys those that do. Beautiful Japan.

13 ( +24 / -11 )

Wishma's death is tragic, but the article also suggests it is to a great extent her fault.

Wishma attended a Japanese-language school in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo but her attendance started flagging from early 2018, according to her teachers. As remittances from her family stopped, she also failed to pay her tuition. The school ultimately expelled her, notifying the immigration services agency in Tokyo that she had lost her student status.

She was there to be a student. Even before her family (for some reason) cannot pay her tuition, she has stopped going to school. Understandably, with the basis of her visa gone, it was terminated.

In late December, she applied for provisional release, but the request was denied in mid-February.

Considering that she is in the detention center because she's an intentional rule violator, I'm so shocked (NOT)! She could have chosen to accept being deported.

She received a threatening letter from him and feared he might kill her even if she returned home to Sri Lanka, Matsui added.

A risk she'll have to take. Suppose she was a native Japanese. If she received a letter she considered threatening from a boyfriend, but the authorities (reasonably or not) decide not to take action, then she'll have to live with the risk of him killing her.

-43 ( +18 / -61 )

Willfully ignoring recommendations of Japanese medical professionals? They are guilty of murder.

48 ( +56 / -8 )

Well, this is what happens when the jgov incessantly lies all the time. No different to CCP and NK.

24 ( +36 / -12 )

Shouldn’t it be an autopsy done ?

is œsophagites the official cause ?

Overstaying is a “crime” in Japan, as it becomes an illegal stay but these matters should be dealt with a quick resolution of the visa status, or a deportation . In no way a cell.

29 ( +35 / -6 )

immigration has been busted already releasing false evidence in this case.

and the negative of releasing any footage is making everybody very angry.

34 ( +44 / -10 )

Tragic. Too bad the decedent will never receive justice.

Japan is clearly happy watching its society age out of existence in order to keep the Japanese bloodline “pure.”

34 ( +47 / -13 )

A psychiatrist who saw Wishma on March 4 recommended she should be granted a provisional release. Sources said the immigration authority suspected Wishma was feigning illness to gain provisional release. On March 6, she was pronounced dead.

There needs to be accountability and justice for Wishma and all other victims of Japanese immigration. Say her name on the Olympic podium. Use the Olympic spotlight to foster accountability, justice, and betterment.

“Japan's hidden darkness: Deaths, inhumane treatment rife at immigration centers,” Mainichi Shimbun, 9 July 2019, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190709/p2a/00m/0fe/012000c

30 ( +41 / -11 )

Why was she even being held? If she wss issued a deportation order, then whyvwas she imprisoned and not deported in a timely manner?

53 ( +60 / -7 )

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