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Toll mounts in Japan's detention centers as foreigners seek asylum

By Thomas Wilson, Mari Saito, Minami Funakoshi and Ami Miyazaki

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People commonly urinate and defecate when they pass away. There was no reason to put that in the story.

-13 ( +8 / -21 )

A report by the national Immigration Bureau, which is part of the Justice Ministry, said the guards “could not grasp the seriousness” of the situation because another Sri Lankan detainee who was acting as an interpreter did not translate Fernando’s words accurately. But the Justice Ministry’s Torisu told Reuters the guards did understand what Fernando was saying.

Ministry man making it up as he goes along?

Business as usual: gross incompetence.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

And the moral of the story is,don't seek help in Japan.....

14 ( +15 / -2 )

Sadly this is not going to make the mainstream press here in Japan as it is not a priority to the government nor the Japanese people themselves, most who know nothing about the centers themselves. Which makes it even easier for the authorities to keep under wraps.

Talk to the average Japanese person about this issue and they will probably respond they never heard of it, next when you tell them about what happens and the conditions their common response will be, "If they knew they shouldn't have come here in the first place it's their fault for being detained" Meaning their being detained and dying is on them, because they shouldn't have been coming here in the first place. Deflect and obfuscate.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

My first reaction is to say that there should be a full time doctor at a detention centre with 800 people, but knowing the quality of doctors in this country I doubt it would make much difference.

His third son, Jude, who traveled to Japan for the funeral, is also now seeking asylum.

Wow, really? I suspect this is why sympathy is in such short supply at the detention centres.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

M3: Quality of doctors in this country are great. Perhaps you should learn Japanese. I only had an issue once with a doctor here, but had many many more stateside.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

another protest in Osaka for exactly the SAME reason...so nothing changed... I joined a protest just last year at the same detention center because the people there refuse to bring the "inmates" to the hospital, the american in my room had to fake an heart attack so they finally brought him to the hospital to treat his problem, ridiculous!! Once inside they play mind games with you, and when they find you still want to stay in Japan anyway they start calling your family/parents/girlfriend to discourage them, saying that it's very hard to get out and even if they have the 3.000.000 to free you, you still won't have a visa, which means you can't work for years and they you have to pay all your expenses during your stay while you fight in the court for your visa. REALITY : if you don't have any concrete reason to get out immediately (somebody pregnant/ ill outside) just hang on for 6 months. They will release you almost the day after you complete your time, this if you have a guarantor outside willing to pay the bond (99% of the cases between 100.000 and 300.000 yens). Once outside, you are told you can't work or leave your Province without a permission. REALITY : you CAN work and travel around, the only thing they care is if you are living at the same place you said you're going to be living (the guys will come once in 4, 5 months) and the most important: a GREAT deal of all the people freed get an out of court settlement with the Immigration within 1 year. If you have a family , a life in this country, never give up. You might thing this story apply only to criminal and overstayers, but so many good people I saw there for the pettiest crimes such as shoplifting or traffic offenses, or people who lived apart of their spouses for more than 6 months while still sending money to them, how ridiculous is that??? Many japanese go to work in other provinces (they call it 単身赴任 tanshin funin) but if a gaijin do the same, it's clearly a fake marriage.. go figure.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Japan needs to be called on its immigration centers' conditions the next time a representative goes to the UN and porports that Japan is a nation that adheres to human rights. It does not. A society should be judged by how it treats the weakest in it. In that sense, Japan is no better than China or any of the SE Asian nations.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

When a people have nothing human about them, EVIL lives in their hearts, they would have to give but evil itself. . Japan has no reason to hold people in these Gunkanjimas at all! The victim is Sri Lankan, a country whose Prime Minister spoke passionately in Japan's defence during the San Francisco conference, imploring that Japan should be allowed back in the community of Nations. Asian's have born the greatest brant of Japanese wickedness. So much for " Asia for Asians" BS.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

which held more than 13,600 people in 2014.

I expected around 100 maybe a bit more but not in the thousands. Where do they put them?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Smooth processing demands each observe the manual so understand documents must be in order to pass immigration

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm at a loss for words. I really am.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Seems like you die a lot on those detention centers, more than in the death raw.. UN must call Japan on this too (like recently on children prostitution) and force the country to respect the basic human rights which are nowadays standards in other countries. At bare minimum provide the minimum of doctors needed to monitor those people.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Can you actually come here without some type of visa? (even if you are not on a waiver list) I cannot board a plane for Japan without first showing my visa...is it different for these people? These people seem to be in more danger here than wherever they are coming from. This is sad.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan obviously has a deep rooted Xenophobia which results in very little sympathy for foreigners who go on the wrong side of the law and are seen as a deviants in their idealized view of the society.

Denying medical care is not just negligent it is criminal, the guards responsible for this mess should face punishment and prosecution.

However the bigger issue is the economic migrants posing as refugees. The Fernando family are poster boys for all that is wrong with the refugee problem in the world today. The author obviously has tried to write a sympathetic article, however the political violence described is present in every developing country in the world today. And as the author points out, the party that this family supported is part of the Sri Lankan ruling coalition. So by what flawed logic can these people consider themselves to be genuine refugees.

Each application by this family harms the one made by a genuinely persecuted refugee who will have to wait all that much longer because these fake ones.

-1 ( +5 / -5 )

my boyfriend now have been held on Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau since February this year. He made a few phone call to me by payphone from detention center. yesterday he has been in Q&A session with an officer from immigration.they didn't inform yet an actual amount that have to pay for his release.they will call him again on next month. based on your story thunderbird, its seems impossible to be release within only a few month.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

what tipped off immigration officials that fernando was not really a tourist?

it seems like most of the deaths mentioned were unpreventable, choking and heart attacks. while i'm sympathetic to their plight, i see little reason to make their accomodation more pleasant. the broke immigration laws and suddenly want to apply for asylum, which keeps them in detention. am i wrong here? because most people are deported rather quickly if they want to leave japan.

3 ( +7 / -4 )


Why is he being held?

For overstaying a visa, working in a Job apart the jobs specified on his Visa, he did something illegal, etc.

Give us more info.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan should keep all these people out of Japan, end of story.

They wanna get medical care they should pay for it. I don't want my tax yen to pay for their health care. They are free to withdraw their asylum application anytime they wish and then they can go back where they came from.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

sadsam is correct.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

it's me he coming to japan for intern technical training thru an agent. but when he arrived at japan the works is different from what have been told before he pay the money to agent. so he flew from that job and seek and refugee visa because he was afraid to return to his country. he working part time and have been arrested for that. they said he can't work for 6 months. just after 6 months that he can work. so my boyfriend should eat grass or what while waiting for 6 months to be end?some of his friend already go out from the detention center with paying a lot of money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


Do you know percentage of real asylum seekers vs people claiming asylum but just want to better their lives in another country?

True asylum seekers have to proof that they will be persecuted/ killed in their country of origin, lengthy process to do that.

How much money and resources are wasted on wrong claims and it comes out of the tac-,payers pockets of their target country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

it's doesn't matter where you come from, this is a humanity issues. as a people worldwide seeing japan as a world first class country, it's not only count on how fast your bullet train can reach kilometers per hour, it involve many others than that. if you said that all these people should out of japan, then japanese also should leave others country. stay only in japan, shut down your airport and build a wall all across your border.these people coming to japan with hope that they can get a better life, not just for them, but for their family in their motherland. just because they come from third world country, so they don't deserve a better life?and all their right have been denied?

0 ( +4 / -4 )


I know he came here on a scam, all to common in the world.

He did right contacting the authorities, BUT and this is a big BUT he worked 6 months illegally no country will accept that(yours and his included).

So he applied for a refugee visa which will be granted if he can proof prosecution or being killed if he returns but takes time.

I have lived in 3rd world countries but was born in Europe, 1st world countries don't give free handouts, you have to work/study just as hard as in your Home-country.

Nothing is denied and nothing is for free. If you only got qualifications as a cheap labourer don't expect a better salary or job once your refugee status is granted in another land.

Takes a LOT if work and study to make it anywhere, I would say 1st world countries are the toughest to make it. You are competitors are tough.


4 ( +4 / -0 )

Currently on speaking my 4th language fluently, can get by on a few more. Every time I moved country(twice now) I had to start at the bottom and work my way up. Not easy and I will keep fighting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@it's me : you are right. now i just have to wait until second hearing process and ready with a cash. so that somebody don't have to spend their yen tax on medical fees to this people and maybe can use it to grow a grass in their country. deal with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Guards with scant medical training make critical decisions about detainees’ health.

Sounds like most Japanese doctors, in my experience.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I've heard of these cases on many occasions, there's a serious lack of visiting docs for sure ... also need better communication between the immigration & the embassies issuing visas and correct scrutiny of the documents for smooth passage or immediate deportation of illegal migrants.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Best of luck to you and you BF. Both of you seem like fighters and should succeed.

Wish I could help as I know people in the government.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As an American who applied for legal work visa and had to under go the immigration process,

All I can say is that it would've been wise to have applied for refugee, student, work, etc visa in your native country or another host country before landing in Japan and expecting the best outcome..

AND to provide ample review of whichever organization or company that is helping you apply for visa.

Japan is a first world country but it is not like the United States. And don't be naive to think that with decades of American influence of human rights, civil rights, etc. Japan and its society will easily and faithfully indulge in American style thinking and liberal philosophy.

Yes they have an strong economy that spans throughout the globe and is one of the most popular first-world tourist nation, but that doesn't mean they want to accept diversity and the mass influx of immigration.

And what's more important to note is that many of the bloggers in this site who complain and demand reformation in Japan's refugee process need to understand that the violence and deaths of refugees is not as unusual as they think. In many other nations hosting refugee camps throughout the globe, there have been hundreds of thousands of deaths in camps where lack of medical support, food, and clean water is prevalent in many nations.

This issue has no easy solution, and to demand the release of these illegal immigrants will not solve all problems. Work is very difficult for foreigners with legal work visa as it is.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

It sounds suspiciously like the revision to the law that enabled asylum seekers a 6-month renewable work visa was made in order to entice (economically?) desparate people to apply, and then exploit them until courts eventually rule against them, and they are deported. When the economy is good, the courts move slowly, when bad, they move quickly. I somehow doubt the asylum seekers are treated much better by their employers than they are by the immigration authorities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have commented a lot about this on before please click on my name you can see all my experiences. I want to summarize by saying I was in solitary prison 11 days and immigration center in Osaka 43 days. Not so many people, including me, in the center had come to Japan illegally in fact very few. Many had done very little wrong and it was crazy that we were being detained. maybe there more refugees now as they closed the center in ibaraki where refugees were mainly held There is an excellent clinic with great equipment in the Osaka center which we had automatic access to at any time. I was treated there for some pain around my heart at one stage I thought that they looked after me well

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Moe Hay MannMar. 10, 2016 - 11:52AM JST these people coming to japan with hope that they can get a better life, not just for them, but for their family in their motherland. just because they come from third world country, so they don't deserve a better life?and all their right have been denied?

They don't have a "right" for a better life in Japan. They want a better life make it better at home, in their own country.

Japan, and indeed all the other developed countries owe nothing to people from third world countries. Nothing. There is no human right for a better life.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@sad: Correct again. With all the money Japan, Europe and the US have given third world countries, they should be 1st world countries by now. It is your govts. that cause the problems for you. Kick them out.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

4 people died because of lack of medical staff...so whats the problem? I for one is not willing to pay additinal tax so that the govt will pay a full time doctor to a facility crowded by illegal immigrants. Most of the people in the detention areas are not refugees but people fighting deportation for comitting criminal acts and breaking the laws of immigration.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Most of the people in the detention areas are not refugees but people fighting deportation for comitting criminal acts and breaking the laws of immigration.

Ahh, so because of these criminal acts, they don't deserve to have their health watched by doctors, and if they die it's no big deal right? Gotcha.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan has to make it more clear that they do not grant refugee status to asylum seekers. I was a refuge lawyer in New Zealand for several years and even there where they grant around 500-1000 refugee residence visas a year it is never easy to get. The test is the same all around the world. It is set by the United Nations. You have to show a genuine fear of persecution. The onus is completely on you. About 1 in 10 succeed. Usually from countries that have civil war going on. Somalia, Republic of Congo and a few others. Sri Lanka I have never heard of a success from there. Japan simply interpret the test much more strictly. Japan is doing more harm than good by giving totally false hope to these thousands of people then only granting 27 of them residence. If Japan wants to play its part in taking refugees they could take the 27 from other countries. For example New Zealand or Australia or Canada where many refugees go. The people would get the status in those countries and then get asked if you want to go to Japan instead. Some presumably will. Japan could contribute a small amount of cash to certain countries to help pay for the processing. Japan is way too racist and small minded to be able to organise a system to process these people. I was in a cell for 43 days with a guy from Nigeria who had come to Japan to apply for refugee status. He had zero hope and would not have even had hope in new Zealand where they take 20 more times the refugees every year. He had been led to believe that Japan was a Christian country that took many refugees. He had been misled by some agent who processed his fake passport.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sri Lanka, Iran, Cameroon, Cambodia . . . . these people come from the 3rd world gutter.

Why should the Japanese have to shoulder the burden for their already "pre-existing" medical conditions? Its a shame to die in captivity. Perhaps it would've been better if they'd not come at all. Or never should have over-stayed their visas.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And the moral of the story is,don't seek help in Japan.....

Yes, because strokes, choking on food and dying of heart failure are all Japan's fault, as are the suicides and attempted suicides. 12 people have died since 2006... how does that compare to other countries? In the UK there have been 25 deaths since 1989, there have been 21 in America since 2004, and in Europe 160 between 2010 and 2014.

Any deaths in these places are to be avoided, and there really needs to be medical staff on duty 24/7 and not just a single doctor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sri Lanka, Iran, Cameroon, Cambodia . . . . these people come from the 3rd world gutter.

Yeah! How dare they be born into non-prosperous countries. They make me sick. Absolutely disgusting. They should have made sure they were born in America, and then they never would have had a problem.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There is a good reason that they are keeping these 10,000 or so asylum seekers in Japan. Yes about 1000 are in immigration detention centers but the rest are working like slaves for large Japanese companies like Subaru as detailed in this article by the same team of journalists as this one. These poor people are probably told that they will get residence as a refugee at the end of their 3 years of slavery but in reality nobody even looks at their applications they are just rubber stamped as a no http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/29/business/corporate-business/subarus-secret-low-paid-foreign-workers-power-export-boom/#.VuEko5x97IV

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan needs to be called on its immigration centers' conditions the next time a representative goes to the UN and porports that Japan is a nation that adheres to human rights. It does not. A society should be judged by how it treats the weakest in it. In that sense, Japan is no better than China or any of the SE Asian nations.

I agree. Unfortunately this is one of the dark sides of Japan that the world and even Japanese themselves are not aware of. Japan still has a long way to go in ensuring proper and just treatment for these asylum seekers detained in her immigration centers. A first world country to the world but deep down a third world nation in more ways than one. Ironic.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Talk to the average Japanese person about this issue and they will probably respond they never heard of it, next when you tell them about what happens and the conditions their common response will be, "If they knew they shouldn't have come here in the first place it's their fault for being detained" Meaning their being detained and dying is on them, because they shouldn't have been coming here in the first place. Deflect and obfuscate.

They shouldn't have come to Japan in the first place and it's their fault for being detained. Yes, this is obviously the case. Last time I checked Japan wasn't the closest safe destination to any of these countries. Under international treaty they shouldn't be using their refugee claims as a ticket to immigrate wherever they please. But trust a liberal to only care about international treaties insofar as they weaken and degrade civilized countries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The comments from some of you are kind of appalling. Because he applied to be a refugee = he deserved to die. Ridiculous.

I was the Canadian who was in the room next to Nick. I saw everything with my own eyes.

The guards were teasing him before he died, saying stuff like "You're walking and talking, you're fine!". Nick was moaning so loudly it woke everyone up on the entire floor. He was in excruciating pain for two hours. 2 HOURS!

The article mentions that the coroner's review of the videotape from the room's camera showed that he vomited and urinated on the mattress. Why did the guards not notice this? Why did the guard who entered the room at 9:23 not do anything about this?

The guards PROMISED to look after Nick - they told him they'd put him in a special camera room to make sure he was OK. In reality they just left him to die locked up in a dirty 3 tatami cubicle with bars on it.

The government immediately dispersed witnesses to this case, there appears to be only two people remaining in Japan who saw the event happen, myself and another guy who will never talk publicly about it. All the other people have either died or disappeared.

Why won't the MOJ actually release the video tapes from the hallway cameras and the room cameras? It is not a privacy issue. It is because the video evidence will blow apart their lies and their coverup of what is at best manslaughter, at worst murder.

How about the MOJ's spokesman on drugging - "Detainees are given drugs because the psychiatrists at the detention centers determined that the patient needed them"

Reality check: The doctors working at Shinagawa are not psychiatrists nor are they psychologists. I asked them personally when I was there. The drugging is just to keep the population of people medicated and incapacitated. They are issuing strong anti-psychotropic and anti-depressant drugs to people that do not need them.

Finally- I'm not a criminal (Well, if you count visa overstay as a crime..) I was deceived by a black-kigyou company after living in Japan legally with valid visas for almost 6 years. I have no family in Canada, no friends there, I have lived my entire adult life in Japan and speak fluent Japanese.

What does immigration care? Not at all. They threw me in there with the rest of the criminals, drug dealers, murderers, refugees, etc. There is no separation of criminals from non criminals which is a violation of UN law. But in my opinion the worst criminals in that building are the ones covering up this murder.

If anyone wants details on what really happened in there, feel free to contact me. Maybe people think I'm biased. But I dare the MOJ to release the video camera footage that recorded every second of this incident and try to prove me wrong. Everything I say is verifiable fact.

If you lock a man in a room you know to be burning, are you not responsible for his death? Why should the MOJ get away with this? Look at the video tapes. They knew he was sick. We all knew it. His hours of moaning in agony was easy enough to understand.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wanna pinpoint some facts about this report and story,from my personal experience in same detention center; First,i was in Shinigawa with the Canadian guy,who talked to Reuters,i know him,talked to him several times,this guy was detained because of six years overstay,he-all of a sudden-after six years overstay in Japan,remember to ask for asylum after being arrest.So we can understand his reasons to tell all these lies about Japanese immigration.i answered him before when posted same lies about Japan immigeration and authorities and challenged him to answer,but he just vanished!!And here i am challenging him again and wish him to be honest and courage to answer or reply. Second,as report mentioned,the man was not visiting his son,but wanted to apply for asylum as shown,Moreover after all these supposed tragic incidents for him and his family,we see his other son visited Japan under reason of attending his father funeral,but he instead applied for asylum!!!!my question is,if Japan authorities and immigration is so bad,cruel,and caused his father death,why and how comes on earth his second son applied for asylum after all?!wasnt that the same scenario his father did?!! Japanese immigration never rejected any request for any detainee to go to hospital,it happened twice with me personally,the Canadian Guy translated and witnessed one of them. MY last question,WHY the canadian guy still live in Japan-he already released-if its that worse and hell as he described in the report?!I guess its fair enough.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How can we contact you?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

GREAT!Here you are JAMES BURKE!do you remember me?or you wanna me refresh your memory?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sorry Ghoneim but your facts are not accurate.. I lived in Japan many years legally with normal visas. I was not an overstayer for 6 years. You knew me for around 3 weeks while you were in that immigration center. By some stroke of luck you were released far quicker than most people in your position were. I think that your bias is showing - they really spared you, you were very very lucky not to be detained for 1+ years.

As for what I speak about immigration, let the facts speak for themselves. Release the videos of what happened is what I request from the MOJ.

You on the other hand were not there when that incident happened. You arrived in the facility something like half a year AFTER the incident. I don't know what useful information you could have given Reuters pertaining to this incident.

You also spent only something like 3 weeks in that place, not nearly enough time to experience what the real conditions of that facility are.

I don't think attacking the issue of the man's son applying for refugee status is relevant or even fair, considering your own passport history. I think you should refrain from bashing people like this guy's family when your situation is not that far removed from your own. I won't post your personal information like you have (erroneously) written up mine, but I think it's quite hypocritical that you'd criticize the son for what he is doing.

Why I was released is written in the article. I am on a provisional release program. I'm not a criminal and was released after 14 months of being held there.

I am still battling with the Japanese authorities. I hope that some day this matter will come to court and I will be able to serve as a witness against the MOJ lies and coverup. I also sincerely hope that the video tapes are released and that judges can clearly view for themselves what happened.

If you think I am lying, that's fine, but the facts speak for themselves - the article was written by Reuters, they do a pretty good job of checking facts before reporting. On the other hand we can immediately point out a few areas in the article where statements by the MOJ clearly do not match reality, such as the guards non-recognition of the severity of Nick's pain, or the MOJ spokesman's statement that psychiatric medications are prescribed by psychiatrists to patients who need them.

Almost every single person in those detention centers is on a morning, afternoon and evening dose of Diazepam AKA Valium or even stronger medications, whether the patient needs them or not. Got a headache? Prescription: Permanent regimen of Diazepam.

The only prescriptions that expire in the immigration centers are prescriptions for anti-biotics. The guards don't know this though, so plenty of mistakes happen with people getting the wrong quantities of medicine, or the wrong medicine entirely, or mixing and matching of incompatible medicines.

Prove me wrong MOJ. I've got your own RX's to prove my side of the story. What do you guys have? A list of blacked out text. That's great.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

appaled by so many IGNORANT comments on this website. ok, so you are the Mr. Right, law-abiding gaijin who never forgets to renew your visa, or have your hard-earned Eijuuken. do you still believe you would never have any sort of problems with the Immigration?? Don't be so naive. Probably when you get nabbed over nothing you might remember these words. Many many cases that I could write a book. Ever watched Con Air? Met a guy exactly with the same fate, push back a racist old geezer on the way home, the man dies and the gaijin loses his Eijuuken and spend 6 months in the detention center.

@Moe I just told what I saw in Osaka, but I also saw many people getting out within a month (for example a brazilian and a korean whom has they whole family in Japan, and believe me, a chinese who got his LOVER pregnant). This 6 months period is for people who came alone to Japan, but the same sometimes applies for people with family and kids, the average is 6 months and between 2 or 3 provisional releases (仮放免 kari-houmen) denied until they give up and free you. The average waiting for the answer after you apply is between 3 to 4 weeks. If after one month there's no answer the chances are 90% you get it aproved (between 35th and 50th day).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Fine,you still remember me,i wanna every one here to follow up us. first,i stayed one month,not 3weeks.one month was enough to experience all what happens in detention center.six years overstay is clearly violating law,let alone a crime.Why you apply for asylum after-not before-six years overstay if you are really serious?Can you tell what was your faked case or you consider this irrelevant?Can you tell why Japan immigration denied your application,or you prefer not to talk about it?Can you refresh my memory-during my stay-japan immigration refused anyone request to see a doctor or go to hospital?Can you mention one example-only one-about any bad treatment of any kind from immigration authorities against anyone?You were calling all available media from detention center,telling all what you still tells,have they ever questioned you about what you said or did?You claimed overstay is not a crime,and complained they kept you with criminals,drug dealers,and refugees,while you yourself is a refugee,didnt you apply for asylum as well?more important you admit they keep criminals,drug dealers murderers,so never keeps innocent nice guys,yes?Can you tell honestly,from your experience,have you met among detainees anyone a real refugees or all applied just to stop deportation-according to law-including you?Am waiting your highly appreciated answers,then i can comment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They threw me in there with the rest of the criminals, drug dealers, murderers, refugees, etc. There is no separation of criminals from non criminals which is a violation of UN law.

I have no family in Canada, no friends there, I have lived my entire adult life in Japan and speak fluent Japanese.

Hi James, just to be clear are you saying that you applied for political asylum as well?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should have made sure they were born in America, and then they never would have had a problem.

Sure America has its problems, but it never stopped being great. When are all those 3rd world gutters going to get their act together and try to create their own prosperity?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Ghoneim, I won't bite into your trolling. You don't know my visa history (Definitely not six years of overstaying..) nor do you know my personal history.

Overstay is considered an administrative crime and only became a crime in Japan very recently. In many (most?) countries overstaying a visa is not considered a crime and is simply an immigration violation. In my case I had several valid visas including a working holiday visa and a student visa among others, for several years while I lived Japan legally. I got sucked into working for a black-kigyou company that promised to sponsor my visa, then at the last minute when my legal visa was about to expire, didn't. I ended being stranded without cash and becoming an overstayer. I don't pretend to be perfect, I was young at the time and also a student with minimal money, and I have no family or friends in Canada since my adult life has been spent entirely in Japan. I made what I believed was the least worst choice. You know nothing about my history in Canada so I am not even going to touch that. I'm also not going to go into the details of my battle with immigration - you may want to watch out about what you say as divulging personal information related to immigration without permission can be considered a crime in Japan. I'd appreciate it if you'd knock it off. If anyone wants to ask me about my story they can contact me through Facebook and ask me personally. Ghoneim's information about me is not accurate. I'll leave it at that.

As for Japanese immigration rejecting refugee applications, Japan rejects almost all refugee applications. If they have not rejected yours already, I am sure they will, just give it some time. I'm guessing they gave you a 1 year special visa or maybe provisional stay permission. One day you will walk into the office to update your visa and they'll slap you in handcuffs by surprise.

I'm not sure what you mean about "Was I ever questioned about anything". Everything I've said is verifiable through freedom of information requests, or through independent investigation. Reuters thoroughly crosschecked everything I said to them with multiple witnesses and video surveillance tapes - I certainly was not their only source. Why don't you write a 開示請求 and send it to the MOJ if you want to know whether XYZ fact is true or not. The coroner's statements are in perfect agreement with mine. Are you calling the coroner a liar now? He seems to be one of the only people to have actually seen the videos.

I don't even get what your interest in this case is anyway - you were not even there.

You were in a very different place from the place where Nick died. One month in a ward of 30 people is not enough to understand the situation in a building housing 800. Nick's ward was a very very dirty place with some very inhumane guard leaders.

But if you want to get into details about denial of medical treatment while you were there, alright, I remember you getting into a fight with an old Iranian man in your room with horrendous tooth rot. His teeth were so rotten and infected that the Immigration center dentist wrote an official note directly to the director of the Shinagawa immigration center, and gave a copy to the Iranian man, stating that without immediate treatment the infection could spread to the brain and result in death. The note stated that the treatment was not possible to perform with the equipment at the immigration center and that it would require a trip to an external dentistry office. This document written by a qualified dentist was ignored by the immigration inspector and the guards and the guy's jaw bones continue to have rot spreading through them. I don't know what became of him.

Several months after you left a man from the Philippines injured his back somehow and begged for medical treatment on a Friday evening. He was refused. From my understanding (This is anecdotal now, but can be verified if you search around yourself) he was given an x-ray on the following Tuesday (Because x-rays are only taken twice per month at the immigration center) and the results came back 2 weeks later indicating that he had fractured his spine.

So we have that problem. A guy breaks his back and has to endure it for 3 weeks on nothing but the equivalent of 150mg of ibuprofen three times per day.

There was another case, maybe before you arrived, a blind Philippino around 60 years old who developed something like gout or sciatica and could not walk and was moaning in pain. This guy was in my room. He was in such awful pain that he started defecating himself on the floor and couldn't walk, he had to crawl slowly everywhere. Again this was a Friday and he was told he could not see the doctor until Monday. He was also told that he was limited to 3 doses of 150mg of ibuprofen (or equivalent) per day, and therefore he was not allowed to have any more pain relievers because he had drunk up his daily allotment already. This guy had several Japanese children by the way. As far as I know he was deported.

How about the whole thing with rooms of 8 people sharing unsterilized shaving equipment with a guy known by immigration to have hepatitis, or in another case, a guy with HIV being told by immigration guards not to tell anyone about his condition and being mixed in with the population? Oh yeah, they sterilize the razors, AFTER the entire room is finished using it. Makes sense.

The HIV guy was playing with a ball in the 10 square meter "exercise room" floored with jagged rocks where people routinely cut their feet to shreds on the sharp edges and bleed everywhere. Shoelaces are not allowed so most people go barefoot and virtually everyone who's been in those centers knows what that floor does to your feet.

How about despite immigration guards receiving warnings NOT to share unsterilized razors from 3 separate doctors from third party hospitals, they still do it? EVEN NOW.

Any of you reading this article want to share an HIV tainted razor?

They haven't taken a single step to improve conditions in there. There was a hunger strike in 2014 that led to the addition of meat to the menu. Keep in mind many of these people are not criminals but they are detained for periods of 1 or 2 or 3 years with no charges pending against them. It's the JP version of Guantanamo Bay.

Ghoneim I'm done replying to your baiting - Reuters fact-checked everything for months before publishing this story. You can go and character-assassinate me all you like but that doesn't change that you were not there when this happened and you know nothing relevant to the investigation or reporting of it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Overstay is considered an administrative crime and only became a crime in Japan very recently.

If "the book" says its a crime, its a crime. Financial crimes, hate, sex, violent crimes are -crimes, period.

In many (most?) countries overstaying a visa is not considered a crime and is simply an immigration violation.

Violation, infraction, tort, whatever. Its still (in one way or another) "a crime." Just like you got spirit of law vs. letter of the law.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@James Burke

Thank you, especially for all the detailed information about life at the centre. I was just curious to piece together all the facts. I'm very sorry you lost your friend/acquaintance, it must have been horrible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If "the book" says its a crime, its a crime. Financial crimes, hate, sex, violent crimes are -crimes, period.

I don't argue it. I dispute whether it should be a crime or not, and I believe that amnesty should be granted for people who have lived in a country for years, have a Japanese fiance or wife, etc. That is my personal belief.

@M3M3M3 Thank you, especially for all the detailed information about life at the centre. I was just curious to piece together all the facts. I'm very sorry you lost your friend/acquaintance, it must have been horrible.

There are so many facts it is mind-boggling. I know that some question my reliability "What's a Canadian doing in that place?". To those who want to know my full story, facebook me, I'm easy to find. I have nothing to hide, but this article's not the place for it.

One more piece of trivia. After Nick died they put his former-friend, another Sri-Lankan, right in the same spot in the same room Nick had previously occupied.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Jame Burke. hi pal, tried to find you but there were so many James Burkes, how does your profile picture look like? Just want to get in touch before all this gets deleted by tomorrow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

hi pal, tried to find you but there were so many James Burkes, how does your profile picture look like? Just want to get in touch before all this gets deleted by tomorrow.

my profile pic is the same as the one showing up on here, blond streaked brown hair. my FB email is paradoxbox@gmail.com - should be able to add me directly that way. I'll talk to anyone as long as they're not just out to bash me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

and yes, such a stupidity when people think only "Third World ppl" and "criminals" go to these immigration centers...probably in america or europe, but definitely not in Japan. Wake up, we're all in the same boat!! As a devoted christian I make the effort to love even the bigots, racists, haters, I only pray for you to never have the same fate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I might say that the Japanese embassy is quite lax in giving out visas. First, they never ask for a health clearance. Some who come here have some health issues that they themselves don't know. I know of one who haven't been here for 5 yrs yet already having a free dialysis. Secondly, I find it weird for some detainees to expect good medical care when they weren't even good in following immigration laws. Thirdly, enough with so much drama. Another prototype of the Cordero's drama. Enough of the drama! That family is twisting some reality just to stay here and work. Plain and simple! No need to drag the church and god on their own invested interest. Haven't they known it's already Lenten Season! Let them do a little penitence by telling the truth and letting out God and the church from their own created trouble. Iam a gaijin too but I'm tto tired of all kinds of dramas!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I believe that amnesty should be granted for people who have lived in a country for years, have a Japanese fiance or wife, etc. That is my personal belief.

I agree with you somewhat. You're married / engaged to a Japanese women is already giving you somewhat the benefit of the doubt.

But if you were just some "thug" doing ur own thing and exploiting a rich country for ur own gain . . . then I'd say, "Throw the book."

I'll talk to anyone as long as they're not just out to bash me.

No bashing. You made a pretty good point. With a name James Burke -tells me you you don't come from some 3rd world trashy dump like the others.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Hey James. I've refrained from commenting on this thread up to this point, for the very reasons that you point out - I don't know what exactly went on there, and I have no experience of the detention center so I don't feel in a position to be able to comment either way, beyond life being precious and so sorry that your friend lost his, in whatever the circumstances. Just one thing though - and I hope the mods will allow it because I think it would be very important for other people here to understand and potentially protect themselves in the future: If you don't mind speaking publicly about it, can you just explain how you were duped by the black kigyou? If you speak fluent Japanese, and I'm sure you must know that you need a degree here (generally) for business sponsorship (and I'm making the presumption that you don't have one as you have been here as a student but please correct me if I'm wrong) - I'm curious as to how you were duped by them. NO bashing intended at all. I'm not criticizing you for falling for it, (God knows just a few weeks ago I fell for a stupidly obvious scam msyelf!) but I just think knowing how it happened may well help some other people here not to fall the same way you did. Thanks

0 ( +0 / -0 )

stuff like this is why you're no longer on the UN Human Rights Council, Japan

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

While it is a shame that these people passed away, I believe that it's right for Japan do have strict immigration laws. They simply cannot allow possible terrorists to enter the country. The country's safety comes before the safety of the immigrant. No more PC, and no more cushy, ignorant liberal ideals. They let these kind of people in, they'll end up like Germany and France. If only the West was this diligent in protecting themselves from ISIS, all the while proclaiming that they want to embody a false sense of freedom.

But at least there is one man who is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his country is safe, regardless of what the foolish sheep want to believe, to ensure that it returns to its former glory. It is said he will build a wall, he will make deals with China and Japan, and he will ban all those who slaughter innocents in the name of their god.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hi James.

I can't make the connection between being hired by a black kigyo and ending up in detention, can you elaborate.

Many black kigyo out there like fast food franchises etc

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I believe that amnesty should be granted for people who have lived in a country for years, have a Japanese fiance or wife, etc.

This just opens up another loophole to be exploited, people landing in Japan finding a girlfriend and trying to stay on using it as an excuse. Many years ago I met someone who tried to do the exact same thing, even though he was already married back home, but failed.

Every country has the right to grant and deny visas based on set criteria. If a Canadian expects to be given refugee status, I cannot find a better case of outright dishonesty.

With a name James Burke -tells me you you don't come from some 3rd world trashy dump like the others.

If they had a criteria for denying visas to people who discriminate based on color, many of these barely educated English teachers would be on the first plane out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

NathalieB & It"S ME Questions about how I was duped

I had a student visa at the time, I was 24 or 25 I guess. I was working at a big eikaiwa. I do not have a degree but I did have the required 3 years of teaching experience necessary to get visa sponsorship without having a degree (Specialist in humanities). After the 2011 earthquake and half the foreigners fled Japan I was headhunted by the black company. It was a kind of eikaiwa but a little different from the typical place. They offered other things like translation services and computer courses and stuff. The salary was good, and it seemed legit. The boss took a copy of my visa and alien registration card when I started.

I worked for the company for a couple of months, juggling the big eikaiwa, school, and the new job, and finally decided to ask the newer company to sponsor my visa so I could escape the brutal 7 day schedule that I had been keeping up for over a year and a half. Boss says, yeah should be no problem. I'll take care of it. I trusted those words, big mistake. I informed my boss that I was going to quit the other job and only work at the new place, so I expected a schedule full enough to keep my alive. No problem says the boss.

Fast forward a few months, I've quit school because I passed the JLPT1 and 留学生試験 tests, but also realized I didn't have enough money to get into a university anyway so I'd be better off just focusing on getting my work visa. I ask the boss about it, boss says "the paperwork takes some time, there's a lot of documents to process"

Fair enough I think.. More time goes by. My student visa expires and I convert it at immigration to a final "tanki taizai / tourist" permit 30 days in length. I'm starting to panic and am searching for other sponsors for a visa because A) I don't have enough money to leave Japan on such short notice (Apartment kaiyaku fees? Airplane tickets? Moving expenses? Pay all that as a student limited to 20hours of work per week? Yeah right! and B) Companies that will sponsor a random English teacher with no degree based solely on having the required 3 years of experience are very rare. I realized I was in trouble but too late.

The week before my visa was set to expire my boss just straight up tells me when I come in for work one day "Sorry, I can't sponsor your visa, I don't want to be tax audited."

And that was it. My boss never had any intention of sponsoring my visa. I didn't quite understand what tax audits had to do with anything at the time (It was my second or third job ever, I had never paid taxes before, it was taken care of by my company in the past) The company was not paying taxes obviously, I realized this later, but I was already in a position where the only option I had was to overstay.

I might have been able to go to immigration and ask for an extension, but I knew they would probably detain me immediately and then deport me for even asking since you're supposed to have enough funds to get both a student visa and tourist permit.

I also have my own reasons for not wanting to return to Canada, having no family or friends there, and after stumbling on a murder scene in 2009 (Which also got my name printed all over it, I have this problem of always being around horrible incidents, murders, heart attacks, I could swear I'm the angel of death..), among other things, I just decided to stay in Japan and try to live a normal life, get married naturally, have kids, and then turn myself in to immigration and hope for either a spouse visa and slap on the wrist, or at worst a 1 year departure order. In any case I'd at least have enough money to pay for a ticket out and to survive for my time out of Japan and would be able to find someone to move into my apartment etc. etc.

I ended up overstaying a total of 2.5 years. I had a steady gf at the time and we were seriously talking about kids and marriage. We had a serious discussion about our future together on May 23rd. I was looking for bigger apartments and had been buying dishes and furniture for two people the whole month. On May 25 2014 I was randomly stopped while walking home from work, same route I had used for 4 or 5 years. Just another random racist gaijin stop by the police. I'm sure anyone here under 30 and living or working around Shibuya, Shinjuku or Ikebukuro have also experienced this at least once. If not yet, you will.

Anyway, the immigration workers, as others have mentioned, coerce and lie and deceive young women into breaking up with their fiancees and husbands in order to make the deportation process easier. My GF of about 3 years decided to leave me because of the tremendous lies and coercion. Her life is in shambles now - I was a major pillar of emotional support and comfort for her. My life is in tatters and I'll probably be dead within the year in all honesty.

While in police detention, before being sent to the immigration center (all visa overstayers stopped by police are) I actually met yakuza. The yakuza were far more polite, honest and courteous than the immigration people are. If you need convincing just try calling any of the departments of Shinagawa immigration besides the departments on floor 3. They'll talk to you in extremely rude tameguchi, absolutely unheard of for government employees. These people are out of control but most foreigners can't speak Japanese well enough to understand they're being heavily insulted. There are many Japanese people complaining on chiebukuro about it. It's pretty outrageous.

That's how I ended up in the immigration center. I made lots of mistakes leading up to being in there, but I was boxed in with no good alternatives, I made the best choice I could to ensure my survival. I had put all my hopes on getting married and escaping the nightmare with a spouse visa or a light 1 year departure order, but the hammer came down before it could happen. If I'd had about 6 more months of time I would've been married, probably with a visa, who knows if this report would've ever made the news, and .. butterfly effect.

The things that happened inside the detention center and my release from it are far more complicated and as I mentioned anyone who wants to know more, facebook me and I'll be happy to share.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Agree with Ulysses.

That opens up situations like anchor children, many Chinese ladies travel to those countries to give birth and they will be listed as Dependants of them.

And similar situations.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

James you are right. I remember the razors and bare feet now. Very dangerous. I did not overstay or anything but was stuck in room with a Chinese guy who had done 12 years in prison for violence maybe murder. Also agree they do everything they can to get your Japanese partner to ditch you. All very wrong but can all be fixed if they simply stop taking refugee applicants

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hey Michael the american in my room was complaining just about that, he knew he had Hepatitis and found it absurd everybody at the same room (always from 2 to 4 people) had to use the same electric razor. To tell you the truth I really didn't mind being with all sort of criminals, roughly speaking 50% of the people there came from the prison, 40% were overstayers and about 10% (me included) were the unlucky people, most treated unfairly by the Immigration during the visa renewing process and refused to leave the country because we knew it wasn't right. The immigration even pays for your Ticket home (after some convincing you have no money and nobody in Japan) so the only people who last for more than 2, 3 months there are the people who truly wish to remain in Japan, so even the heavy criminals don't dare to do bad things while there because it would only make their stay longer.

I'm all pro immigration but after some time there I kind of understood why refugee approval rates are so low in Japan. 100% of the people I saw applying for refugee status while there (Iranians, Egyptians, Nigerians, Chinese) were only trying to avoid deportation, tons of useless applications that only make the real refugee applications get longer to get approved. I also remember a curious case that pissed off literally the whole block. A Vietnamese refugee came for the first time to the Detention Center. He has been living in Japan for many years, has many relatives in Osaka and was freed literally within a month without requesting or applying for anything, literally without moving a finger, he spent the whole month like he was in Vegas, gambling, smoking and throwing parties in all the rooms almost everyday. He didn't piss off everybody because he was freed so much quicker than everybody there waiting for months after 2 or 3 provisional release applications denied, but for the fact that he came from the prison, for the 5TH time. As soon as his refugee status was granted many years ago he started dealing drugs, more than half of his time in Japan was in the prison.... so you can have an idea on how you're "gifted" when you're granted refugee status, the immigration will never bother you, even after 5 jail times.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Successful refugee applicants get citizenship because they have to have a passport from somewhere? A thing that many do not know is that you can get bail while your immigration decision is being considered. I only found this out after 6 weeks and was released the next day after paying about $3000 which I got back after I got my work visa. Nobody told me not even the Japanese immigration lawyer I consulted. When I questioned the immigration staff about it they said that they presumed that I had known but did not have the money. The rules for bail are basically that someone with a job will house you and vouch for you. I found out when I saw a new guy filling out his application one lunchtime. I filled out one as well and got out the next day

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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