Posted by debito on February 22nd, 2007
Hi Blog. Am just getting started with these sorts of issues (am aware there is another visa case out there, of the Kahlil Family of Iran: ref: Japan Times Saturday, Jan. 13, 2007: “DAUGHTER CAN SEEK RESIDENCY: Iran family wins new stay — till Feb. 16″, with no update in the JT as of yet.). So for the time being please have a look at this fine write up from friend Michael Fox, who specializes in the Japanese judiciary. Debito in Sapporo
PETITION FOR VISAS FOR THE VU FAMILY OF KOBE CITY.
Written by Michael H. Fox of Hyogo (http://www.jjforum.org)
Quite often, the little things in life can solve severe problems. Yes, little things like a stamp in a passport. Asian immigrants to Japan know this too well.
February 2001 was a good time for Saigon resident VU Van Thang. The previously divorced father of two, remarried. His new wife had permanent residency in Japan, and he looked forward to visiting the country, and settling down with his kids. His dream materialized ten months later. In November, Vu arrived in Kobe with his daughter Thi Thuy (aged 16) and son Viet Coung (aged 15).
The family began work in the city’s shoe manufacturing industry in Nagata ward, Kobe, which was savaged by the 1995 great Hanshin earthquake. Despite the restored vitality of the city, Nagata has not completely recovered. Shoe manufacturing was traditionally an occupation associated with the lower class, shunned by most Japanese. Overseas manufacturing, with its cheaper labor, continues to injure local production. The working conditions in this sector are stringent: hours are long and the pay is mediocre.
The Vu family, no stranger to hardship, welcomed the challenge. Papa Thang and his son heartily accepted full time work. Daughter Thuy worked half a day, and took on the colossal task of learning the Japanese language, while at the same time enrolling at a special middle school in the evening. She graduated from mile school and the 21 year old is now attending high school, continuing to work half a day and studying in the evenings.
Her brother Coung is also a success. Having worked continuously at the same company full time for four years, he is now a skilled craftsmen and factory foreman. His employer desperately wants him to stay. Despite a heavy workload, his family’s strong education values have propelled him to enrol in the evening midle school. The twenty year old hopes to attend college in the future.
Three years after coming to Japan, in October of 2004, Vu’s relationship with his wife soured, and she left the home. Her present whereabouts are unknown. In March of 2005, without his wife’s support, immigration authorities refused to renew the family’s visas and ordered their return to Vietnam. The family decided to take their chances with the immigration police, and continue to live and work in Japan one day at a time. In January of 2006, the visa-less famiy were granted provisional release (kari-houmen), and spared the hardships immigration detention. Their passports are stamped “zairyu shikaku nashi” (visa status: none) which spares the danger of arrest for illegal overstay-a felony according to the criminal code. The family exist in a kind of legal limbo: they are without visas, are not supposed to work, and must seek permission to leave Hyogo prefecture even for short visits.
If ordered out of the country, the lives which they have diligently chiseled will be washed away. The Vu’s now have a support group, collecting petitions addressed to the Minister of Justice. The group is being lead by a teacher at the evening junior high school, Mr. Fumio Kurosaka, who has had Thuy and Coung in the classroom. “It is amazing how hard these young people have worked at self-sustenance and assimilation,” Kurosaka relates, “Japan needs these people to foster economic recovery, and construct a healthy multicultural society.” Journalist and social activist Arudo Debito agrees. “This is an important case. It will prove whether Japan’s policy about opening doors to Asian neighbors is the hard truth or soft talk.”
One voice can always make a difference! Please sign and send in the following petition to
Honourable Jinen Nagase
Minister of Justice of Japan
A Request for Visa Extensions for the VU Family
In March of 2005, after overstaying their visas, the family of VU VAN THANG applied for special permission to remain in Japan. Their applications are currently being reviewed by the Kobe branch of the Department of Immigration.
The family has a complex history. In February of 2001, Vu, a divorced father with two children married a Vietnamese permanent resident of Japan. Later that year, in November of 2001, he came to Japan with his daughter THI THUY (aged 16) and son VIET COUNG (aged 15). The entire family has worked in a shoe manufacturing plant in the Nagata ward of Kobe city. Daughter Thuy is now a student at Minatogawa Prefectural High School. Her brother Coung, who has worked continuously at the same company for four years, has enrolled in junior high school. He hopes to attend college in the future.
Three years after coming to Japan, in October of 2004, Than’s relationship with his wife fell into discord, and she left the home. In March of 2005, without his wife’s support, immigration authorities refused to renew the family’s visas and ordered their return to Vietnam. In January of 2006, the family received provisional visas sparing the confines of immigration detention. If ordered out of the country, the lives which they have diligently chiseled out will be washed away.
I strongly urge you to grant visas to these fine people, and allow them to continue to dwell in Japan and contribute to a healthy multicultural society.