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  • Japan Times front pages NJ abuses at Ibaraki Immigration Detention Center, updates from Sano-san

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on March 13th, 2010

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    Hi Blog. As followup to yesterday’s entry re abuses at one of Japan’s major “Gaijin Tanks” (Immigration Detention Centers, where they keep people indefinitely, sometimes years, for visa processing as potential migrants or refugees, with no legally-accountable incarceration conditions), here’s an excerpt of the Japan Times, followed by an update from Sano-san, one of the activists publicizing this case. International media and other bodies concerned with human rights, please look into this. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


    The Japan Times, Friday, March 12, 2010
    70 immigration detainees on hunger strike
    Fast in Osaka tied to denial of release: activists
    By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer

    Full article at

    OSAKA — At least 70 detainees at the West Japan Immigration Control Center, which has long been criticized by human rights groups and Diet members, have been on a hunger strike since Monday, center officials and volunteers helping them confirmed Thursday.

    “Around 70 foreigners began a hunger strike Monday night because they want to be released on a temporary basis,” Norifumi Kishida, an official at the center, said Thursday morning. The center, in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, is providing food but they are refusing to eat, he said.

    Hiromi Sano, a human rights activist involved with immigration issues who has been meeting with detainees over the past few days, said some hunger strikers have applied for refugee status…

    Rest of the article at


    SANO-SAN UPDATES (March 12, 2010)
    Thank you for doing the article. I will bring the newspaper today to the detention center. The will be very happy to see it.

    There is also a fact that an Indian male committed suicide on January 1st, 2008.

    I talked to [name deleted] yesterday on the phone, and there is a male from Ghana who wants to talk to you. I will give him your cellphone #. But a problem is phone system is extremely expensive: 35min for 3000yen in the center.

    On Wednesday, 10th, each detainees are called by the officers, and asked who is the leader of this hunger strike. They said to the detainees “We will never let you out of the center. And we will never let you see volunteers (us), because they are behind the curtains and will talk to the media.”

    Moses from Uganda that JP covered on Tuesday, he was take to a solitary confinement on Wednesday according to [name deleted]. I am glad that truth has started to reveal to the society, but very much worried about detainees’s safety. I will update you with more info after seeing them today.

    (March 13, 2010)

    Eric, thank you for the article! I will print it out and give it to detainees on Monday.

    I went to the decention center yesterday morning. Hunger strike is still going on, and the center said that they have no plan to answer the demand of detainees. They said that they are pursuading the detainees to stop the hunger strike and eat.

    Debito, you can use everything except [name deleted] on your website.
    I saw him yesterday morning at the center, and he was inconfident and anxious about himself going to media. (afraid of the abuse from the officers)

    Our group decided not to use his name on articles that goes to public from now on. He has hepatitis B and has fever since December.  Obviously bad health condition. But the center is not taking to him to the hospital, and also did I mention that they share the same razor to shave? We talked to Nishimura at the center, but they denied it , and said that each razor has the number so that the detainee will know which one is his. Detainees said there is no number on the razor. Nishimura also said that razors are sterilized after detainees use them.

    That is all for today. Thank you again. Hiromi

    (March 14, 2010)

    WITH (西日本入管センターを考える会)の佐野です。

    Here is our blog on hunger strike.  It is all in Japanese, but pleae forward it to your friends if there is anyone interested.  Thank you!

    Sano Hiromi

    10 Responses to “Japan Times front pages NJ abuses at Ibaraki Immigration Detention Center, updates from Sano-san”

    1. Astrix Says:

      I think the timing is right to get this into the news internationally. I hope the Japan Times has sent this on to major newspapers around the world.

      — I think that’s what the act of publishing does.

    2. level3 Says:

      One thing I need clarification on (and I wish the JT article would have spelled it out).

      Why are they being held at all? Have they been arrested for other crimes or are they held only due to visa issues yet are being treated like convicted criminals?

      Is it basically that they currently have no valid visa and are awaiting processing or some kind of decision, and the “justice” system is moving at the typical speed of the unaccountable Japanese bureaucracy?

      In theory, I can understand the need for some kind of holding facility, but why the hell does it have to be run like a jail, with baton-wielding guards and solitary confinement rooms?

      — Because nobody’s watching the watchers?

    3. Johnny Says:

      I’m guessing the jailers thought they could act with impunity, and now are denying everything now that they are being called on their behaviour.

      Thankfully good people like Sano-san are not allowing the usual corrupt suspects to circle the wagons.

      Problem is that government employees seldom seem to get more than superficial punishments even for serious wrongdoing.

      — Links for the last claim if you would, please. Makes your argument stronger.

    4. Astrix Says:

      Right you are. It’s already been taken up in the Japanese media, which is nice to see.

      ハンスト:8日から収容の外国人70人 大阪の入管施設で

      ハンスト:8日から収容の外国人70人 大阪の入管施設で






      毎日新聞 2010年3月11日 18時31分(最終更新 3月11日 20時02分)

    5. Ken Says:

      The fact that this type of facility exists at all is an atrocity. They have been eliminated in most civilized countries. People who are requesting asylum or entrance into a country for any reason for that matter should never be treated like criminals.

      If they have committed a crime, then put them in jail. If they have not committed a crime, and there is no reason to doubt them, then let them go. If they filed the paperwork to begin with to be in the country, then they are not likely a flight risk.

      If the government absolutely one hundred percent must keep an eye on such people, then any such facility should be run with one hundred percent transparency. People who are coming to this country as refugees should be treated with the dignity that all humans deserve. They should not be kenneled like dogs.

    6. D.B. Cooper Says:

      Here is the A.I. document published 20 November 2002. Doesn’t look like much has changed.

      Japan: Prison abuses must stop

      The struggle for immigrant/refugee justice elsewhere-

    7. Allen Says:

      There is this show on National Geographic called Locked Up Abroad. It features stories of foreigners being taken to jail(most of them for drug charges) in foreign countries. Perhaps this story or another story of foreign abuse in the Japanese correction system could be told to National Geographic and get this thing on the air?

    8. john Says:

      is there any news from the relevant embassies?
      Are they receiving any consulate representation?
      Glad to see the Japanese media have picked up on this.
      Hope it continues.
      Maybe someone can pass on to the hunger strikers that many are supporting them.This is probably the only way they might get some appropriate medical care.

    9. debito Says:


      WITH (西日本入管センターを考える会)の佐野です。

      Here is our blog on hunger strike. It is all in Japanese, but pleae forward it to your friends if there is anyone interested. Thank you!

      Sano Hiromi

    10. D.B. Cooper Says:

      And by a strange coincidence..
      The Observer {newspaper} March 14th.

      We punish those we should protect.

      — At least give us titles and excerpts to these articles. It gets tedious to all of us to have to investigate every link.

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