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  • Yomiuri: Immigration’s “Gaijin Tanks” violate UN Principles on Detention

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 23rd, 2006

    Hi Blog. Daily Yomiuri reports: Two state-run immigration “Gaijin Tanks” (where overstayers await deportation) have no full-time doctor on staff, despite ministerial requirements. This is apparently happening because of “culture and language issues” and “lack of career advancement” (not to mention long hours and low pay).

    Yet maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of any kind is required by the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. Amnesty International calls on the GOJ to cough up the cash for conditions if they’re going to detain people like this indefinitely.

    Read on for more on the dynamic and the conditions that overstayers face if they get thrown in the Gaijin Tank. Debito in sapporo


    Detention centers lack docs
    2 facilities holding visa violators not offering proper medical care
    DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)

    Two state-run immigration centers where foreigners who have violated the
    Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law are detained until they are
    deported failed to have a full-time doctor on staff despite ministerial
    requirements, it has been learned.

    As adequate medical treatment and health care for the detainees is
    stipulated in a Justice Ministry ordinance, a full-time doctor is required
    to be stationed at the centers’ clinics.

    However, the West Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, has
    not had a full-time doctor for about five months since the last doctor
    resigned on Aug. 1, according to the Immigration Bureau.

    The Omura Immigration Center has not had a full-time doctor for about two
    years since a clinic chief dispatched from a local university resigned at
    the end of 2004.

    Full-time doctors shoulder such responsibilities as preventing the spread of
    infectious diseases and instructing nurses and other staff.

    Maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of
    any kind is also stipulated in the U.N. Body of Principles for the
    Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment
    adopted at the General Assembly in 1988. Therefore, the government may face
    criticism from abroad over the centers’ lack of full-time doctors.

    Addressing the situation, the Immigration Bureau began recruiting
    prospective applicants through several channels, including the ministry’s
    Web site and local job-placement offices.

    But no applications have been received due to the demands of the work, which
    requires that doctors be able to deal with people of different nationalities
    and handle the attendant culture and language issues.

    Doctors also complain that the centers pay less than private hospitals, and
    that working at the centers will not further their careers.

    The introduction of a national system requiring doctors who have just passed
    the national exam to undergo training at medical institutions is another
    reason for the lack of full-time doctors at the centers.

    Because the new system allows doctors to work at private hospitals, where
    salaries are relatively high, during their training, many prefer to work
    there rather than at university hospitals, which are also facing a shortage
    of doctors.

    As a result, a local university hospital discontinued sending an experienced
    doctor to the Omura center after the clinic chief left the center on Dec.
    31, 2004.

    According to the Immigration Bureau, of the nation’s three immigration
    centers, only the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki
    Prefecture, has a full-time doctor.

    Addressing the problem, the West Japan and Omura centers have each hired a
    part-time doctor to work six hours a week, over two days.

    As of the end of October, there were 254 detainees at West Japan center, and
    176 at Omura center. Of these, 15 at West Japan center and four at Omura
    center have been detained for six months or longer.

    The immigration centers have detained Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Myanmars
    and other Asian nationals, as well as people from Middle Eastern, Latin
    American and African nations.

    If there is an emergency when no doctor is on hand, detainees are sent to
    nearby hospitals by ambulance or other means. But in all cases they are to
    be accompanied by officials to prevent them from escaping.

    If the detainees are hospitalized, officials are required to watch them
    around-the-clock in shifts. So officials are often called in on their days

    A member of an Osaka-based civic group supporting foreigners said: “There
    are cases in which detainees complaining of poor health couldn’t immediately
    undergo medical examination and treatment. That’s a serious problem.”

    An Immigration Bureau general affairs division spokesman said, “A part-time
    doctor isn’t enough, so we’ll continue our efforts to find a full-time

    Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan said: “The
    central government hasn’t fulfilled its responsibility to ensure adequate
    medical services at the centers. It’s required to have a budget for two
    full-time in-house doctors at each facility.”

    DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)

    One Response to “Yomiuri: Immigration’s “Gaijin Tanks” violate UN Principles on Detention”

    1. debito Says:

      Japanese version of this article:

      読売新聞 2006年12月21日










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