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