Posted by debito on October 19th, 2007
Hi Blog. Here’s another reason you don’t want to be apprehended by the Japanese authorities–in this case Immigration. Bad food. No, I don’t mean humdrum food. Read on:
CATERPILLARS AND COCKROACHES:
FOREIGNERS LEAD HUNGER STRIKE IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTER
Asahi Shinbun Oct 18, 2007
Translated by Arudou Debito
Japanese original in previous blog entry.
OSAKA IBARAKI CITY–Forty foreigners being detained in the Ministry of Justice West Immigration Detention Center are claiming, “There have been instances of stuff being mixed in with the meals provided by the Center, such as caterpillars (kemushi). We cannot safely eat it”. The Asahi learned on October 17 that they carried out a hunger strike on both October 9 and 10. The Immigration Center has confirmed that there have been 30 instances from April of inedibles mixed in the food. It has formally demanded their cooks improve the cooking.
According to the Center, as of October 17, there are 240 foreigners being detained. They receive three meals a day, cooked on site by professionals and provided in detainees’ cells. However, the company contracted to provide these meals have since April have had materiel mixed in the food, such as hair, cockroaches, and mold.
Consequently, the Center has taken measures from September to sure there is no extraneous stuff in the food, but one detainee claims it happened again on October 8. The Center said that they had already cleared the food and refused to exchange it for more, so the next day from breakfast the detainees went on hunger strike. By breakfast October 10, an additional 30 people had joined the movement. After the Center told them it would thoroughly check the sanitation procedures of the meal preparers, the detainees called off their strike.
The Center said, “We have demanded the meal preparers clean up their act, and will keep a sharp eye on them from now on.”
QUICK COMMENT: You know things have gotta be pretty antipathetic when even inmates have bad food (and food in Japanese prison, from what I’ve read, is apparently sparse but not all that unhealthy). But then again, this is not a prison. It’s a Gaijin Tank–where NJ are held indefinitely and not subject to the same standards (such as exercise, baths, time outside their cells, and–most importantly–a definite time limit to their incarceration) that people who have been formally sentenced to a Japanese prison will have.
Back to the food. Remember where we are: This being Japan, a land of foodies, it’s famous for being a place where it’s hard to get a truly bad meal. People are really fussy, and it shows in the marketplace. No professional in their right mind in the Japanese meal services lets quality slip.
It might be the effect of a captive market, literally, meaning no competition and no incentive for quality control.
Or it might be antipathy. Either this Detention Center’s meal preparers are completely shameless people, or they just don’t like foreigners and feel no compulsion to serve them properly.
Anyway, pretty stunning. Stop faffing about and fire the cooks already, Immigration. Debito in Sapporo