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  • Japan Times Suraj Case of death during deportation sent to prosecutors

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on January 6th, 2011

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb

    Hi Blog. It’s taken nearly a year, but the Suraj Case has finally been sent to prosecutors, for what it’s worth. Somebody dies in your custody and you can’t determine the cause of death? Joudan ja nai. Let’s see if anyone is held accountable. (Suraj’s wife certainly was — she was fired from her job for making a fuss about her husband’s death!) More on the Suraj Case at here. Arudou Debito


    Japan Times Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
    Prosecutors get case of deportee’s death
    By MINORU MATSUTANI Staff writer

    Chiba police have turned over to prosecutors their case against 10 immigration officers suspected of being involved in the death of a Ghanaian deportee they had restrained and physically placed aboard a jetliner last March at Narita International Airport.

    The action Monday came six months after the man’s Japanese widow and her lawyers filed a criminal complaint demanding that prosecutors take action against the airport immigration officers who overpowered Abubakar Awudu Suraj to get him on the jet, where he subsequently died of unknown causes while handcuffed in his seat.

    The police turned their case against the 10 men, aged 24 to 48, who are still working, over to the Chiba District Public Prosecutor’s Office. They could face charges of violence and cruelty by special public officers resulting in death, a Chiba police officer said.

    “This has taken way too long,” lawyer Koichi Kodama, who is representing Suraj’s widow, said Tuesday. “I just hope prosecutors handle the case appropriately.”

    An official of the Immigration Bureau’s Immigration Control Division, to which the 10 officers belong, said, “We will continue to cooperate in the investigation, try to find out the truth and take appropriate action.”

    Mayumi Yoshida, assistant general secretary of Asian People’s Friendship Society and a supporter of the widow, had quoted a Chiba police officer as saying the immigration officers carried Suraj, who was acting violently, aboard an Egypt Air jet on March 22. Handcuffed and his mouth covered with a towel, Suraj was found unconscious in the aircraft and confirmed dead at a hospital, Yoshida had quoted the officer as saying.

    The police were unable to pinpoint the cause of death…

    Rest of article at


    Domestic articles:

    (2010年12月28日11時35分 読売新聞)






    入管警備官10人書類送検 強制送還のガーナ人死亡
    2010/12/28 11:56 【共同通信】






    産経ニュース 2010.12.28 11:17







    朝日新聞 2010年12月28日11時13分






    8 Responses to “Japan Times Suraj Case of death during deportation sent to prosecutors”

    1. James N Says:

      I foresee suspended sentences being handed down. I sure hope that I’m wrong though.

    2. Guy Says:

      From The Economist:

      A suspicious death
      Dec 31st 2010, 7:03 by K.C. | TOKYO

      LAST March a Ghanaian who had lived illegally for years in Japan, Abubakar Awudu Suraj, died in police custody at Tokyo’s Narita airport during his deportation. An immigration official expressed regret to his Japanese widow—but the ministry dragged its feet in investigating the incident. Two official autopsies failed to determine a cause of death. Exasperated, Mr Suraj’s widow filed a complaint in June to learn what happened that day, and see justice done.

      At last the gears are starting to move. On December 28th the police in Chiba, the region outside Tokyo that is home to Narita airport, presented a report to prosecutors documenting the case against ten immigration control officers who were involved in the botched deportation. Although they are reported to have continued working as normal since Mr Suraj’s death, they could face charges of violence and cruelty resulting in death, a Chiba police officer told the Japan Times. (The English-language newspaper has published strong coverage of the case, in stark contrast with the Japanese press, which has largely ignored it.)

      The incident makes for an unflattering emblem of Japan’s controversial immigration policies. The country restricts immigration, on the view that it could undermine traditional Japanese society and mores. Foreigners are blamed for many of modern Japan’s ills, from street crime to drugs. Meanwhile, Japan’s deportations have long been criticised by rights groups for their excessive use of force. Gagging individuals to restrain them is said to be a common practice. Apparently this is just what happened to Mr Suraj.

      It took a dubiously long while for the police to conclude their investigation. Now it is up to the prosecutors to act. May they do so expeditiously, that justice delayed might not be justice denied.

    3. Outlier Says:

      Yeah this was all over the news earlier. My wife suspected that Debito was involved to help push the case. If you was, thats great, because this smells of a serious cover up. Stuffing a towel into somebodys mouth, they suffocate, then cause of death is unknown? This is evidence of a barbaric institution if this is true. If the truth shows they tried to cover this up, thats some serious shit. Some “japan can do no wrong” types were saying, oh, the dude was a drug mule and died from a burst. I dont think so. Where is CNN on this one?

      Different dude.

    4. Outlier Says:

      Ive got a good idea about what happened. I was once put in a chokehold and excessive force used. Its like some Japanese cant control themselves due to some goofy sterotype and use this to justify what they do. My imagination tells me that several of them held him down, using a an arm lock and they mistook his cries for air as resistance and clamped down more. He passed out, the idiots thinking he was asleep. May he rest in peace. I hope justice is served.

    5. Outlier Says:

      Also, those of us who were in the military/law enforcement know when/how to use deadly force. Its reserved for those about to harm others with a weapon. An unarmed man, on an airplane, handcuffed and shackled, subdued by 10 men, is not the scenario requiring deadly force. This reeks of gross incompetence and stupidity. The long delay tatic is a good indicator of a cover up. The crime commited, if any, by the victim is irrelevant here because the accused was killed. [hyperbole deleted]

    6. Dash Says:

      ..I am starting to seriously reconsider my planned trip to Japan. The more I read about the government and their policies, the blatant anti-foreigner propaganda… well.. I’m just in shock. As people who currently live in Japan, are things really this bad here? Should I reconsider coming to this country?
      It just seems that there is absolutely no regard for human (or animal) rights, the police appear to be grossly corrupt and any oposition to goverment action is rapidly and often brutally silenced. I know that the media only publish things they deem newsworthy, those that will make an impact on the reader.. but there appears to be a grossly disproportionate volume of such instances as described in the above article compared to other nations. Am I way off here or should I be cancelling my tickets? As puny as my tourist dollar is, I don’t want to give it to a nation that does things like this as a matter of course.

      — Don’t just take our word for it. Come over here and see for yourself.

    7. AJ Says:

      Don’t break any laws, dont piss of cops or Yakuza, and you’ll be fine. In my experience, being white helps. There is stuff worth seeing and doing here, that said;

      Your tourist dollars will go further in China, India or South East Asia. Come here, and you’ll be paying Europe prices unwarranted in a crumbling economy to see a lot of which you could see on the mainland.

    8. Outlier Says:

      “I am starting to seriously reconsider my planned trip to Japan.”

      My advice to anybody considering coming to Japan:

      1) Come as a tourist, see the sites in Nara etc. Ride the train. Do all those things you dream of or read about. Get your freak on, like some do, in Akihabara or Harajuku. Get your bang on in Roppongi. Buy whatever gadget you want. Take them pictures…and all that.

      2) Leave

      [more hyperbole deleted]

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