COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

18-year Immigration Bureau veteran challenges the system

17 Comments

According to his self-published profile, Yoichi Kinoshita, an 18-year veteran of the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice (which since last April was upgraded to the Immigration Services Agency), took early retirement last March after obtaining a Master's degree in Jurisprudence from the graduate school of Kanagawa University. He then established the Immigration Problem Assistance Center, based in Nishi Ward, Yokohama. 

On Nov 18, reported Weekly Playboy (Dec 22), Kinoshita held a seminar on the theme, "What are the problems of immigration?" 

Each year, Kinoshita points out, several thousand foreigners are deported from Japan due to overstays or other reasons. Many of them had fled from persecution in their own countries. While awaiting disposal of their cases, they are usually confined in five facilities in Ibaraki, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. 

"In the past, people were allowed to stay through issuing of special dispositions," he says. "But I get the feeling that more applicants are being refused. 

"As one example, in the case of a foreigner marrying a Japanese, permissions have typically been granted except in cases of egregious violations of the immigration law. But recently enforcement has become much stricter."

During his tenure as an immigration official, Kinoshita acknowledges a bias had existed to approve stays for wives of Japanese men, but not foreign men married to Japanese women. During in interview of a couple, suspicions might be raised that the marriage had been concluded under false circumstances. And at the moment the bureau handed down its refusal, the foreign husband would immediately be taken into custody -- over the Japanese wife's angry objections. 

It was his reservations over this dysfunctional system that led Kinoshita to return to university in 2017. 

"Even in cases of confinement or deportation, we should give top consideration to the person's human rights," he says. "Confinement is not determined by a court, but by Immigration. There is no oversight by an external organization. So Immigration has become a black chamber that's out of control." 

Kinoshita also revealed the contents of an internal memo from the head of Tokyo Immigration dated April 7, 2016, which was titled, "Removal of foreigners who might cause security issues in Japan up to the Tokyo Olympics." Another memo, dated Feb. 28, 2018, indicated the policy of "Internment without limits on length, excepting those suffering from serious injuries or illness." 

One of the participants at the Nov 18 seminar was a Mrs B, a Chinese national whose husband, Mr K (also Chinese), was being detained at Ushiku. K had previously studied in Japan and was employed by a Japanese company. His wife had traveled to Japan using her elder sister's passport. The couple have a daughter born in Japan, who attends middle school. 

After Mrs B came forward to immigration and revealed her identity, not only was her application for legal status refused, but her husband was detained for abetting her crime. All family members lost their status of residence and Mr. has been confined for the previous 3 years and 8 months. 

In Kinoshita's view, "The husband is being held hostage to encourage the entire family to return to China." 

Since 2013, seven people have died while under confinement, four of whom were at the East Japan detention center in Ushiku, Ibaraki (figures current to June of this year). 

"Immigration is confronting three main problems," Kinoshita tells the magazine. "One is that there are no standards on who to confine and who to give conditional release, and so on. The second is that there's no transparency in the process of granting permissions. And third is that the courts and other external organizations are not involved in confinement. So Immigration can arbitrarily determine confinements of extended duration." 

Will the situation get better? Or become even worse? Only time will tell, but the picture is not very encouraging.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
Login to comment

Sounds like a good man. However, using the anecdote of a Chinese woman who used her sister's passport to enter Japan is not very heartwarming. I totally agree the transparency and accountability are necessary when confining anyone.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

During his tenure as an immigration official, Kinoshita acknowledges a bias had existed to approve stays for wives of Japanese men, but not foreign men married to Japanese women. During in interview of a couple, suspicions might be raised that the marriage had been concluded under false circumstances. And at the moment the bureau handed down its refusal, the foreign husband would immediately be taken into custody -- over the Japanese wife's angry objections.

It's just not a bias but a bias that influence decision making process that will make foreigner with certain background suffer .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

During his tenure as an immigration official, Kinoshita acknowledges a bias had existed to approve stays for wives of Japanese men, but not foreign men married to Japanese women.

This bias is very pronounced and it exists not only in immigration but in greater Japanese society in general.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This bias is very pronounced and it exists not only in immigration but in greater Japanese society in general and in every other country as well.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

What on earth was K using someone else's passport for?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This bias is very pronounced and it exists not only in immigration but in greater Japanese society in general and in every other country as well.

No it doesn't.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sounds like a good man.

I agree.

However, using the anecdote of a Chinese woman who used her sister's passport to enter Japan is not very heartwarming.

Absolutely. She entered on a passport that wasn't even hers. And then wants to apply for legal status. I don't think any country, even the western democracies, would have accepted her request. like you said, this is not the best example to use.

I totally agree the transparency and accountability are necessary when confining anyone.

Absolutely. Without that, no country can attempt to say that it respects human rights.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Here's the website of the Immigration Problem Rescue Center.

https://www.im-res9.com/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

PerformingMonkey

Thank you for that

very helpful

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Even in cases of confinement or deportation, we should give top consideration to the person's human rights,"

"Will the situation get better? Or become even worse? Only time will tell, but the picture is not very encouraging."

Scary and very preoccupying indeed,to the foreigners that have a chance to work somewhere else just leave Japan,because things might even get worse.

It's not a good country to settle as an outsider,and the human rights organization have almost no powers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And again the Uyoku boy is giving gems of "wisdom"

First thing first,I'm a westerner but NOT an american,second thing I don't have Japan,on the contrary I love the nice people I meet and their warm heart unlike yours.

Third,you should stop always change the topic and point your fingers to the others.

I'm not american and I don't have enough knowledge to criticize their system,but what I know is that one of their strength was the mixing of many cultures.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

William77 very well said!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's good to read about people like him! Maybe Japan can change for the better as a whole

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What on earth was K using someone else's passport for?

He wasn't; it was his wife, Mrs. B, who did that. Her husband is now in jail for "abetting" her crime. The article doesn't say what happened to Mrs. B or their daughter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oops, that first sentence in my post should be a quote; it is a question from Pukey.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He can't chalage the system? Without a system Japanese will be lost. Best to continue to abuse foreign people, can't they build a railway, mine coal. These people need work, Japan needs workers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese immigration needs massive reforms focusing protecting foreigners human rights.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites