Japan Times Zeit Gist on Noriko Calderon, born in Japan, child of overstayers, facing deportation

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Hi Blog.  Here’s a David McNeill article on what could turn out to be a landmark case, that of Noriko Calderon, a NJ born to two NJ overstayers, who face deportation but have support and legal representation to the GOJ to try to force the issue of her needing to stay.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out, as thin edge of the wedge questions are raised in the article below.  Japan Probe also had a section on this dealing with her recent press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (which I saw yesterday morning on cable TV news, so the case is receiving a lot more attention than usual).  I admire her going public and making her case.  Brave girl, our Noriko.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo



A young life in legal limbo
Hearing to decide fate of Filipino girl, 13, born in Japan


Special to The Japan Times, Tuesday February 10, 2009

For years, Arlan and Sarah Calderon fretted over when to tell their daughter, Noriko, that she was different.

News photo
Uncertain future: An immigration hearing on Feb. 13 is likely to decide whether Noriko Calderon, who speaks only Japanese, will be sent back with her parents to the Philippines, a country she has never visited. DAVID MCNEILL

Dark-haired and olive-skinned, she looked indistinguishable from the children she walked to school with every day in Warabi, an everyman suburb of Saitama Prefecture. But unknown to her, Noriko’s parents were illegal Filipino immigrants.

In July 2006, the then 11-year-old discovered the family’s secret in the worst possible way when her mother was arrested for overstaying her visa.

In stunned silence, she listened as her parents told her the family would be sent back to the Philippines, a country she had never visited. “I know nothing about life there,” explains Noriko in Japanese, the only language she speaks.

Today, as the family fights to stay in Japan, Arlan regrets not coming clean. “We always intended to tell her but thought that if we did it when she was too young she wouldn’t understand. We just couldn’t find the right timing.”

Sarah had come to Japan on a short-term visa in 1992; her future husband joined her a year later. Like thousands of other immigrants who arrived during or just after the bubble years, they found that the country turned a blind eye to their illegal status.

“It wasn’t that difficult to live when I came here first,” says Arlan, a construction worker. “Employees didn’t ask about visas.”

But he says everything began to change about five years ago.

In 2003, a joint statement by the Tokyo government, the Justice Ministry, Tokyo immigration authorities and the city police warned of the “growing problem” of illegal immigrants.

“Many illegal residents are engaged in illegal employment. Furthermore, not a small number of them are engaged in crime to get easy money,” it said. “For national security, the problem of these illegal residents requires immediate attention.”

Known as the Kyodo Sengen, the statement signaled a nationwide crackdown on an estimated 250,000 visa over-stayers. Life immediately became tougher for the Calderons, says family lawyer Shogo Watanabe, who believes the crackdown was unfair.

“To some degree, the authorities closed their eyes to these people in the 1990s. Japan needed them to do the hard, dirty jobs others wouldn’t. Like many foreign families, they have lived peacefully and productively here for years. They fell victim to a change in policy. I find that hard to accept.”

The impact of the statement was immediate: Employers were told to scrutinize visas more carefully, police numbers were beefed up around areas of heavy foreign residence, and thousands of overstayers were brought to Narita airport. Sarah Calderon was caught on a police check near Warabi Station.

Her arrest started a two-year battle that is now stalled in legal limbo. Only allowed to stay in Japan on temporary permission from the Justice Ministry, the family faces an impossible choice: return together to the Philippines or leave Noriko behind.

“It is unlikely that the parents will be given residency status, but there is some sympathy for their daughter’s situation,” said a ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. A decision on the family’s fate is expected at their next immigration hearing on Feb. 13.

The case shares some similarities with the plight of Myanmar refugee Khin Maung Latt and his Filipino wife, Maria Hope Jamili, who fought for years for the right to stay in Japan with their two children, who were born in the country. The family eventually won, says lawyer Watanabe, who also defended them.

“The key factor there was that the deportation order would have split that family apart because they were from different countries. In this case, the Calderons are both from the Philippines. The fact is, however, that sending Noriko back will inflict a lot of psychological damage. For a start, she would have to return to grade school.”

Winning public sympathy for the Calderons has been more difficult, he says. In December, Fuji TV carried a largely hostile report that shocked the family into a monthlong media boycott. “One of the questions they asked was whether I still take a bath with Noriko,” recalls Arlan. “What does that have to do with anything?”

Commentary on many blogs has also been negative. “We can’t allow foreigners who came here illegally to stay,” wrote one critic on the free bulletin board 2channel. “If we do, many more will come to have children here and claim citizenship.”

Watanabe calls comments like that “a joke.” “Do people who say those things have any idea how difficult it is to come to a country like Japan and live for years hiding from the authorities? Do they know what it is like to raise a child illegally here?”

He estimates that there are between 100 to 200 similar cases around the country — illegal families with children who have been born and raised here. Amnesty is unlikely, meaning dozens more legal battles are likely in the coming years. Like Noriko, most of the children speak only Japanese and have never been to the “home” they are being sent back to.

Japan is not the only country where policy on immigrants has taken a harsh turn. Ireland, which has experienced a wave of immigration from Eastern Europe and parts of Africa since the early 1990s, ended automatic citizenship for babies born to foreign parents in 2004. The country has since tried to deport several foreign families.

The U.K. deported over 60,000 illegal immigrants in 2007, or one every eight minutes, according to the country’s Home Office. Britain has also tried to deport several U.K.-born children, including Patrick Wandia Njuguna, whose mother fled Kenya. She was refused political asylum.

What makes Japan unusual, say observers, is its still-contradictory approach to foreign workers. On the one hand, there have been signs of a shift toward a policy the government of the world’s second largest economy has so far avoided: mass immigration.

Last year a group of 80 lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by former party Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa proposed allowing foreigners in Japan to increase to 10 percent of the population by 2050, the clearest statement on the issue so far.

“There is no effective cure to save Japan from a population crisis,” said the group. “In order for Japan to survive, it must open its doors as an international state to the world and shift toward establishing an ‘immigrant nation’ by accepting immigrants and revitalizing Japan.”

But Watanabe says such newfound openness stands in stark contrast to the way foreign workers already here are treated. “I want to ask Nakagawa-san and the LDP: ‘If Japan can’t accept families like the Calderons who have been living here for years, how can we invite more?’ “

In the absence of a clear line from the government, he says, the courts interpret the law rigidly, ignoring treaties on the rights of children and the impact of deportation on children like Noriko. Occasional breaks with precedent are rare, though he cites the case of an Iranian woman allowed to stay in Japan last year with her family so she could attend college.

Now 13, Noriko says she “cannot imagine” life in the Philippines. Despite her foreign-sounding name, her friends in Saitama had no idea about her background until they saw her case aired on TV, she recalls. “I was worried but they said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us sooner, we would have helped you.’

“Support like that makes me feel stronger.”

David McNeill writes for the London Independent, The Irish Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and is a coordinator of Japan Focus. Send comments on this issue and story ideas to community@japantimes.co.jp
The Japan Times: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009

26 comments on “Japan Times Zeit Gist on Noriko Calderon, born in Japan, child of overstayers, facing deportation

  • I saw this on TV a month or two back but I don’t know what station it was broadcast on. Is the Asa Zuba morning show with Mino Monta on Fuji? It wasn’t his show but the bit played on the afternoon news on the same channel.

  • It’s inhuman, isn’t it?

    Why don’t the authorities (and citizens) take some responsibility, after all, they have failed to correct the situation for eleven years. I think it’s a safe bet local officials are all complicit in this. Surely they knew what was going on.

    — Probably better not to speculate on that.

  • “In July 2006, the then 11-year-old discovered the family’s secret in the worst possible way when her mother was arrested for overstaying her visa.”
    It is just amazing how inaccurate Japan Times is. This article just misses the whole point why this case could be a landmark case.

    Associated Press reported differently.
    “Calderon’s father, Arlan, 36, came to Japan in May 1993, a year after her mother moved to Japan. Both of them entered the country on a different person’s passport.”

    Overstaying visa and using a fake passport are two different things.
    Actually, GoJ routinely issues Teijusha visas to children of overstayers.
    Approved cases 2, 3 and 16 in Heisei 18 are such cases for overstayers.

    The question is “Should Teijusha visas be issued to children of foreigners who came to Japan with false passports?” Otherwise, this would not have been news.

    — Not sure if you can use the word “routinely” based upon a few cherrypicked cases from the GOJ, but I agree with you this information about coming in on other people’s passports is a very important fact of the case. Thanks for advising us.

  • Will it be possible to find some kind Japanese or Phillipino family who would take care of her while she is studying until she graduates high school (it is 5 years more), and to receive some help for that from NGOs and the government, like free treatment, free textbooks and school stuff, seikatu hogo, etc…Then, after graduation, she will be old enough to decide herself what to do from now on.

  • This shouldn`t even be a debate. If they were caught 10 years ago I could see sending them back to their country. But turning a blind eye for 11 years and then all of a sudden `cracking down` on people you were aware of the whole time isn`t right.

    We are talking about peoples lives here. They aren`t animals that need to be sent back to the wild.

    or are they?

  • Too Bad. The pettition for Teijusha visa for her parents was turned down. She has to decide whether to live alone in Japan or to leave Japan with her parents. Just too bad.



  • >alex Says:
    >February 13th, 2009 at 5:48 pm
    >This shouldn`t even be a debate. If they were caught 10 years ago I could see sending them >back to their country. But turning a blind eye for 11 years and then all of a sudden `cracking >down` on people you were aware of the whole time isn`t right.
    >We are talking about peoples lives here. They aren`t animals that need to be sent back to the >wild.
    >or are they?

    No, they are not animals. Noriko’s parents are Pilipino and she is, at least, Japanese via acculturation, if not in fact. Human, and 外国人, just like the rest of us.
    Whether I like it or not Japan is a part of my life here. However seeing such un―chivalrous treatment here by the Japanese authorities makes me sick.
    Yes, her parents knowingly committed a crime years ago; I won’t dispute that but she didn’t.
    I feel, at the very least, let her finish JR High here in Japan (as JR High is compulsory for Japanese youth here), then decide whether to deport them. That way, if Noriko must leave she’ll have something (a basic education) to return to, and possibly, rebuild her life.

  • I hope she gets to stay. My family and I were sent back just like Noriko, to the Philippines from the US no less, when I was just 14 and I know for a fact that it is very difficult to have such a huge change forced on you like that. Culture shock was a huge problem for me, and the drastic change in lifestyle is something I’m still coming to grips with.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    One of the things that makes this case a tragedy is that it’s not possible to voluntarily return to your home country if your visa has already expired — the Japanese government checks people’s visas when they exit the country, and will incarcerate you, fine you, and ban you from future entry even for overstaying by a single day.

    The Calderons, after having made the mistake of staying too long, never had the change to “go straight”, get their affairs in order, and move back to the Philippines. Unlike illegal overstayers in the US and EU, who can “come clean” and go back home (though, it must be noted, they’ll be detained if they’ve previously overstayed and then attempt to re-enter), if the Calderons attempted to leave, they’d be arrested just as they eventually were after having remained in Japan for several years. Not much of an incentive to rectify past misdeeds, is it? No, the day after their visas expired, a police holding cell and an orange jumpsuit were guaranteed to be in their futures unless the government gave out a Reagan-style general amnesty. And of course, the government went in the exact opposite direction. The Calderons had to gamble, and they came outon the losing end.

    Let it also be noted that the 2003 government directive to catch overstayers did a lot more than send such people into hiding — it also brought on the still-current policy of police officers stopping anyone who looks foreign and asking them about their visa status and alien registration. While I’m sure the government considers police dragnets like the one that nabbed the Calderons in front of Warabi station to be a success, I’d like them to think about the massive inconvenience, fear, and humiliation that this harassment brings to the thousands of honest, hard-working, non-visa-violating people who are needlessly caught up in this nonsense.

    It’s hard to answer Debito’s poll question, because it’s hard to separate what I think should be done in this specific case from what I’d like to see Japan’s law change to. In an ideal world, Noriko would be eligible for citizenship despite her parents’ offenses because she was born here. But given that the government isn’t about to change that law, my vote went to her staying, with her parents being deported.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Brief update to my last post — it looks like you can leave Japan without passing through jail if you present yourself at immigration beforehand:


    This law seems to have goine into effect in December 2004:

    4,150 foreigners turn themselves in after change in visa rule

    Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 07:00 JST
    TOKYO — The number of foreigners who have turned themselves in to immigration offices in December for overstaying their visas following changes in regulations on Dec 2 totaled about 4,150, the Justice Ministry said Friday.
    The new rules allow those who overstay their visas to turn themselves in to the authorities and immediately leave the country without being detained in exchange for lighter punishment — a one-year ban on reentry instead of a five-year ban. Filipinos accounted for the largest proportion at 1,107, followed by Chinese at 1,050 and South Koreans at 511. (Kyodo News)

    Does anyone know how this applies to people whose visa violations include not only overstaying, but also fraud? (The Calderons used other people’s passports.)

  • Please watch This website.(only in Japanese)





    — ありがとうございました!

  • This case has many aspects. First of all, IMHO the initial fraud makes anything else but deporting the parents impossible. Fraud is a crime, not a mistake.

    In general, I think governments should be more lenient and instead of just deporting illegal immigrants first consider if they now fulfill the visa requirements. Imagine somebody overstayed his short term visa, but then gets a proper job, at a company willing to sponsor his long term visa. There should be a possibility of turning oneself in and acquire the proper visa. Maybe after a hefty fee or denial of a reentry permit for a few years (so being forced to stay in the country).

    Illegal immigration is a problem, not because those people are criminals but because their illegal status denies them rights and makes them vulnerable to repression, creating a high potential of forcing them into a corner.

    Finally I have to say that the daughters fate is a tragedy, but it is not any crueler than the fate of kids of mixed couples whose parents divorce. While it usually is not a visa issue, the effect for the kids is the same.

    — Quite. But I think the comparison with divorce is a little misleading. Divorce is between individuals. Visa issues are with The State.

  • A very difficult and tragic case. I think Mark from Yayoi summed up my feelings pretty much. It is difficult to pick an option from Debito’s poll that would satisfy all parties.

    From the GOJ’s point of view if they granted this family visa’s to stay on in Japan it would set a precedent and you would have illegals coming out of the woodwork demanding the same treatment. The parents entered the country illegally on false (他人名義?)
    passports and have overstayed their visas. They did not voluntarily turn themselves in (the mother was caught in a police dragnet). These are obviously crimes and from a legal point of view there needs to be some form of punishment meted out.

    However, from the family’s point of view they were law abiding citizens during their illegal stay (contradiction in terms, I know, but they had to keep their noses clean from other sorts of crime that would put their lives in Japan in jeopardy)
    and have assimilated into society. Noriko is unfortunately the thorn in everyone’s side. It is not her fault that she is in limbo and from a humanitarian POV I think she should at least be allowed to finish her studies in Japan.

    Sending the parents back and letting the daughter stay on is something the GOJ hinted at allowing. However, emotionally it would tear the little girl apart.

    In light of the fact that the GOJ is going to increase the number of refugees it will take for the three year period from 2010 it may be the time for the authorities to turn a new leaf.

    After writing all that I still can’t find an good answer…

    — Understood. So for you and Mark in Yayoi et.al, I just added a “none of the above” option to the poll. Thanks for charing.

  • Maybe because I’m a woman, but I think that the most inhuman thinkg here is to force a 13y.o. girl into making a decision that will change her life. “You decide, we’re washing our hands”. Honestly, that’s mean.

  • No law can be fair so long as it is absolute. There should always be exceptions, and this should be one of those cases.

  • i cant even believe that this is newsworthy. the girl was born and raised in japan therefore she and her guardians should be allowed to stay here in japan. regardless if her parents are so called overstayers or not. i also wonder why the GOJ still has a backwards and ineffective immigration…

  • Debito,

    I know this is a tangent from the article and general discussion here but it has been eating at me (and my J wife) as to how on earth Noriko could (officially) go to school in Japan. I know that when one enters a Japanese school official documents must be submitted and I presume these are checked.

    I remember a story of a friend of mine in Tochigi. His classmate’s family were Yakuza and he was unable to proceed on to high school from middle school because of his family’s dubious background. This was a Japanese citizen!!

    I myself have no kids but I wonder if you or someone could tell us what documents are necessary? How would the Calderons come up with papers for Noriko??

    Cheers for adding an extra choice to the poll.


    — I was wondering that myself. I assume she was not home-schooled, yet people do check out on backgrounds of their pupils. Katei Houmon for example. Anyone know?

  • Continuing on what Doug says, there are certain strange things

    How on earth she didn’t notice that their parents, from time to time, spoke in a language different than japanese? how she was registered at school? I am sorry, but Calderon does not sound japanese at all. How it is possible that the parents did not talk to her in Tagalog?

    As said before, the parents of Noriko entered using other people’s passport, and on top of that overstayed. I feel symphathy for Noriko, since she is innocent, but her parents must be punished, they have shown complete disregard for the law in various occassions. Now, the story that Noriko does not know anything about her Filipino background is, when looked closely, has some things that are “strange”. I do believe that maybe their parents made up this part to win sympathy for her and themselves. I do believe again, that Noriko is innocent and should be allowed to stay in Japan to finish her studies, but her parents must be deported or a very dangerous precedent will be set.

  • Why can’t we put this in terms of what is best for Japan and Noriko? Everyone wants to punish and deter. We are seeing the most positive aspect of illegal immigration here. We have illegal immigrants (her parents) who want nothing more than to be good citizens (regardless of reason) ans a young girl that IS japanese. With the current situation here, why would the gov’t do anything but slap mom and dad on the wrist, and not only ensure a positive image oveseas but create the beginning of a new era here? I think amnesty is the only option.

  • Hey Debito, spotted this item in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/us/14immig.html?ref=hp

    Things are obviously a little different in the US as birth on American soil is enough to claim citizenship, which would protect Noriko if this was all going down in San Francisco or Honolulu. But her parents could just as easily be booted from the US as Noriko’s parents may soon be tossed out of Japan.

    NYT February 14, 2009
    100,000 Parents of Citizens Were Deported Over 10 Years

    WASHINGTON — Of nearly 2.2 million immigrants deported in the decade ended 2007, more than 100,000 were the parents of children who, having been born in the United States, were American citizens, according to a report issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.

    But the department lacks data that might have addressed questions left unanswered by the report, like the number of American children who were left behind in the United States or, alternatively, exited the country with their deported parents. Nor could the report say in how many instances both parents of such children were deported.

    Similarly, said Representative José E. Serrano, Democrat of New York, since no one knows how many children a given deportee had, the number of affected children could be much higher than 108,434, the exact number of deported parents of American citizens.

    So “the problem goes deeper than just the numbers you see,” said Mr. Serrano, who requested the study. He called the circumstance “tragic.”

    “If they took their children back,” he said of the deportees, “then technically we deported an American citizen. No matter which side of the immigration issue you fall on, there’s something wrong with the notion of kicking American citizens out of their own country.”

    The Homeland Security Department’s office of inspector general, which conducted the review, said it had ordered a look at the feasibility of tracking down more data about the deportations.

    Mr. Serrano, who represents a heavily Hispanic district in the Bronx, is vice chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees spending on the department. He has introduced legislation that would allow immigration judges to take family status into account when deciding on deportations.

    Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a policy institute in Washington that supports tighter controls on immigration, said immigrant parents of children born here should not receive special treatment.

    “Should those parents get off the hook just because their kids are put in a difficult position?” Mr. Krikorian said. “Children often suffer because of the mistakes of their parents.”

  • I think that the best compromise in this situation would be to allow all three of them to stay, for Noriko’s sake, and impose a really really heavy fine on the parents so that no one can say they got let off the hook on account of their daughter.


    Filipino father of Japan-born girl detained by immigration bureau
    (Mainichi Japan) March 9, 2009

    Arlan Calderon and his wife Sarah talk about their feelings before reporting to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on Monday. (Mainichi)
    A Filipino man seeking special permission to remain in Japan with his wife and 13-year-old daughter following a deportation order was taken into custody after appearing at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau on Monday, his lawyer said.

    Arlan Calderon, 36, and his wife Sarah, 38, visited the bureau together on Monday. The couple requested special permission to remain in Japan with their 13-year-old daughter Noriko, saying she was born in Japan and wanted to live in the country, and they couldn’t leave her by herself. However, their lawyer said that Arlan Calderon was detained on the spot, while his wife and daughter had a temporary release extended until March 16.

    Monday was the deadline for a 10 day extension of a temporary release for the family, and the immigration bureau had told the family that if they did not have a schedule to return home before the time they appeared again, they would be detained.

    In a news conference on Friday, Justice Minister Eisuke Mori said that Noriko Calderon had an aunt and uncle and other relatives in Saitama and Tokyo, and added, “If an environment for her to be raised in can be arranged, then it is all right for the child to remain in Japan under special residence permission. I have no intention of tearing the family apart.” He said that if Noriko Calderon remained in Japan, then he would be willing to grant her parents special permission to come and see their daughter at any time, even though people who are deported are usually not allowed to return to Japan for five years.

    Noriko Calderon’s parents entered Japan illegally in 1992 and 1993. In 2006, Sarah Calderon was arrested on suspicion of violating the Immigration Control Law for illegally residing in Japan, and the family was handed a deportation order. The family filed a lawsuit seeking annulment of the order, but they lost their case in a ruling that became fixed in the Supreme Court.

    毎日新聞 2009年3月9日




    毎日新聞 2009年3月9日 12時26分(最終更新 3月9日 13時30分)

  • Jeff Korpa says:

    Hi Debito:

    Yet more drama unfolding in the Noriko Calderon case:

    Japan-born daughter pleads for Filipino father’s release by immigration authorities
    (Mainichi Japan) March 10, 2009

    The Japan-born daughter of a Filipino family that has been ordered deported, held a press conference Monday in the wake of her father’s detainment by immigration authorities.

    “I want my father back now,” Noriko Calderon, 13, said through tears at the judicial press club. “I still want all three of us to stay in Japan. That hasn’t changed.”

    Arlan Calderon, 36, who has been ordered deported for illegal entry into Japan, was taken into custody early Monday afternoon when he appeared at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau.

    Noriko went to her school in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, that morning as usual, but rushed to the news conference in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki area when she was informed of her father’s detainment.

    “I’m in shock,” said Noriko as her mother Sarah, 38, wept silently next to her.

    The immigration bureau has set a March 13 deadline for the family to leave Japan, or for Arlan and Sarah to return to the Philippines without their daughter. Immigration authorities have warned the family that, should they not apply for special residence permission for Noriko, then mother and daughter will also be taken into custody on March 16, and forcibly repatriated the following day.

    According to the person in charge of the Calderons’ case at the Ministry of Justice, “the family has been informed that special permission for residence will be granted to Noriko so that she can stay with relatives and continue her schooling. In addition, though those deported from Japan are not normally allowed to re-enter the country for at least five years, special permission has been granted by the minister of justice for Noriko’s parents to visit after a set period.”

    In explaining the reasons for Arlan’s detainment, the ministry stated that the immigration bureau had told the family it would “make the greatest possible special arrangements.” However, it said that he had sought for all three family members to remain in Japan and had shown no intention of returning to the Philippines.

    Attorney Shogo Watanabe, the Calderons’ legal representative, has set up a fund called the “Noriko Kikin” to provide for the costs of Noriko’s schooling and living expenses should she be forced to remain in Japan alone.

    埼玉・蕨のフィリピン人一家不法滞在:父収容 「戻ってきてほしい」 一家の長女訴え
    毎日新聞 2009年3月10日 東京朝刊






  • Jeff Korpa says:

    Hi Debito:

    Here’s the final verdict in the Noriko Calderon saga:

    Filipino couple to leave teenage daughter in Japan
    (Mainichi Japan) March 14, 2009

    A Filipino family facing imminent deportation from Japan will leave their 13-year-old Japan-born daughter behind, it’s been learned.

    The family of Arlan Calderon, 36, of Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, has decided to leave Japan on April 13 without their daughter Noriko after a five-hour discussion with the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau on Friday.

    “I feel very anxious because I’ve never been separated from my parents, and I’m not happy,” Noriko said at a press conference held in Tokyo Friday evening.

    “I can only study for my future in Japan, and I don’t want to give up on all the effort I’ve made here,” said Noriko, who speaks only Japanese.

    “I really appreciate all the support we’ve received,” said Noriko’s father. “I want to come back to live in Japan sometime again.”

    Following Noriko’s school ceremony to begin her second year at junior high school on April 8 and her parents’ subsequent departure, her mother Sarah’s 30-year-old sister and her Japanese husband will move to Warabi from Tokyo to take care of her.

    “The decision has been made after considering what the daughter wants to as much as possible,” said Justice Minister Eisuke Mori. “I hope she will have a stable life with support from her relatives and other people.”

    Arlan and Sarah, 38, illegally entered Japan in 1992 and 1993 respectively, where they married. Sarah was arrested in 2006 for illegal residency, and the family applied unsuccessfully for special permission to remain in Japan after receiving a deportation order.

    毎日新聞 2009年3月13日 21時10分(最終更新 3月13日 23時18分)










  • Debito-san,

    One of the things I find interesting about the tenor of many of the comments is that the parents should even be punished. While we can agree that entering a country illegally is pretty much a crime anywhere, I find myself feeling that the worst thing they did was the entry itself, but just the entry alone – exactly what is it they have done that’s been so awful after that?

    On every count, they have lived exemplary lives and have been good citizens in all but name. Pepipox complains about how odd it was that Noriko didn’t ‘notice’ that her parents weren’t Japanese, and that they didn’t speak Tagalog to her, etc., but my answer to that would be that she is a child, she loves her parents, and she of course would go along with anything they would do. It may not be right, but it is the way it is, and this suggestion that somehow this can be dumped on her in some way is as hideous as the MOJ verdict. We seem to live in a world of harsh extremes anymore, where clemency is a luxury in a country of such abundance. Is it entirely possible that because the parents do not come from one of the agreeable, so-called ‘developed’ nations, that they knew they would be treated harshly and in a draconian manner, and that by speaking only Japanese with her, they were trying to give her the survival skill necessary to live here should they have been found out and deported? I can’t say for certain that this is the case, but is it at all possible? And as for the notion that they should be allowed to stay but have a fine levied on them – sorry, but I am certain as well that this would be something they could not possibly afford on top of what they have already had to spend just to fight a case they have lost.

    Mr. Mori, the JM, claims that the last thing he wanted to do was to break up the family, but this is exactly what he has done. He also ‘hopes’ that Noriko will be taken care of. I’m sorry, but in the name of what notion of justice is this being done? And the draconian regime that will be imposed on Noriko – the yearly trips to Immigration, the fact that even if she survives this ordeal emotionally to the age of 20 when she will ‘finally’ have the right to apply for Japanese citizenship, that she still won’t be able to bring her parents back here – the choices that have been placed before a 14-year-old girl are all equally disgraceful. Call me a ‘bleeding heart’ but this is one of the most outrageous, most sweeping deprivations of any child’s rights I’ve heard anywhere.

    I do not have children myself, but right now, it breaks my heart to see what is being done to her.

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