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Hi Blog. Dovetailing with last week’s blog entry about how Japan’s new “open door” visa programs violate basic human rights, here’s the old classic “closed door” policies aimed to punish bureaucratic transgressions by perpetually detaining people under conditions that don’t fall under standards for sufficient monitoring (because technically, they’re not “prisons”). Policywise, they’re meant to be a deterrent — part of a separate judicial track for foreigners in Japan with fewer human rights (full details on this in “Embedded Racism” Ch. 6). Separate and lethal. Particularly in Ushiku.
Again, given how Japan’s ethnostate policies are an inspiration for xenophobes and racial supremacists worldwide, I would argue that these longstanding inhumane “Gaijin Tanks” are a working model for the “concentration camps” (the political term of debate in the US these days) for detainees along the American southern border. Except politicians in Japan don’t have the cojones to call them anything but benign-sounding “detention centers” — after all, who in any position of power cares about the plight of foreigners in Japan?
So what term is a more appropriate depiction for awareness-raising? Gaijin Gulags? Internment Camps? Captivity Chambers? Perpetual Penitentiaries? Detention Dungeons? This is a situation where the label matters and the proper language escapes. Debito Arudou Ph.D.
Nigerian dies after hunger strike in Japan detention center
REUTERS/Asahi Shimbun AJW, June 27, 2019, courtesy of DM.
A Nigerian man died in a Japanese immigration detention center this week, an official said on Thursday, bringing to an end a hunger strike an activist group said was intended to protest his being held for more than three years.
It was the 15th death since 2006 in a system widely criticized over medical standards, the monitoring of detainees and how guards respond to a medical emergency.
The man, in his 40s, died on Monday in the southern city of Nagasaki after he lost consciousness and was taken to hospital, said a detention center official who declined to be identified.
He did not give a cause of death.
RINK, a group supporting detainees at the center, told Reuters the Nigerian had been on hunger strike to protest his lengthy detention.
Another 27 foreigners are on hunger strike at a detention center in Ushiku, northeast of Tokyo, said a separate group supporting detainees at that facility.
Some of them have gone without food for 47 days, said Kimiko Tanaka, a spokeswoman for the group.
She said a 23-year-old Iranian man who sought asylum more than two years ago has lost weight and is using a wheelchair.
Two other men at Ushiku have been detained for five years, she said.
“The reality of a lengthy detention is nothing but a human rights violation,” Tanaka said.
An official at the national immigration agency confirmed there are hunger strikers at the Ushiku center, but he did not say how many. Authorities are providing medical care and trying to persuade them to eat, he added.
Immigration is a contentious issue in Japan, where ethnic and cultural homogeneity are deeply rooted.
Japan held about 1,500 detainees as of June 2018, according to the latest public data, nearly half of them for more than six months.
Some 604 were asylum seekers whose applications were rejected, while the rest were held for various immigration infractions such as overstaying visas.
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25 comments on “Reuters: Yet another NJ detainee dies after hunger strike after 3 years in Japan “detention center”; time for a change in labeling”
(Ok then, I’ll be the first to comment).
We’ve all seen and heard so many times about mistreatment, neglect and death of NJ detainees (and made the same comments and observations about how unnecessary, avoidable and inhumane it is), that we have become totally inured to it.
It’s just ‘normal’ for Japan.
How sad is that?
I noticed no one even posted the death of this person on Reddit Japan . I didn’t hear of it until I came to this site. Tragic on a few levels.
You are right, the existence of these extrelegal concentration camps is appaling and a human rights violation.
If detainees have violated immigration laws they should at most be punished according with the law, not detained indefinitely.
Actually, strangely: each of those folks who have been found guilty of “the crime of not having permission to be in this country” are NOT being detained indefinitely against their will… each person in that Shinagawa-prison is actually CHOOSING to remain in that concentration camp instead of going home tomorrow to the country of which they are a national.
[This seems a highly dubious claim. Let me break right in here and ask for a source for the claim that incarceration in Gaijin Tanks is voluntary. And one more point of order: As noted numerous times before, “Detention Centers” are not “prisons”. Prisons are something with legal standards for incarceration conditions. My source for that is here. –Ed.]
These folks are choosing to say, “No, I won’t sign the ‘I agree to being deported’ contract, because I think I still have a chance of the deportation ruling being overturned, since I think I still have a chance of being granted asylum status or something, so I CHOOSE to continue staying in this Shinagawa privately-run human-right-violating overstayer-prison indefinitely, because I REFUSE to sign the ‘return to home country tomorrow’ release form.”
It’s really strange: even though countries have courts which make deportation rulings, those deportation rulings DON’T have the subsequent power to simply then place those convicted of “the crime of overstaying” onto planes UNTIL the convict signs the “OK, I agree to being deported tomorrow” contract.
Look, I am a rare thinker who is actually AGAINST the whole idea of preventing free worldwide human movement (meaning I am against the whole idea of passport and visa requirements and closed borders in the first place, which were put up in the very recent 100 years) but let’s not fool ourselves: the folks sitting in such concentration camps have the ability to get on a government-paid-plane tomorrow and go home to freedom, but they are (courageously or foolishly, rightly or wrongly, case by case) CHOOSING to stay imprisoned in that concentration camp, day after day.
Me personally, I wouldn’t choose to stay in the Shinagawa-prison for weeks, months, or years, I would simply sign the “OK, deport me tomorrow” contract immediately and go home on a government-paid-plane the next day as a free man to whatever poor country I came from. At the same time, I can see why some folks choose to stay in Shinagawa-prison forever: if they feel the conditions there are somehow RELATIVELY better than the torture conditions waiting for them back home and/or if they feel they MIGHT be able to someday (through various court appeals while sitting in that Shinagawa-prison) somehow successfully be granted permission to live in Japan.
I wonder how many (if any) folks actually have been successful in court appeals while sitting in that Shinagawa-prison.
Probably the chances of having the deportation ruling overturned (and thus suddenly being allowed to walk out of the Shinagawa-prison as a free foreigner with permission to continue residing and working in Japan) is extremely low.
Probably there are hope-giving stories which circulate within the Shinagawa-prison, whether factual or mythological, about such rare cases of “thank goodness he didn’t sign the deportation agreement contract, because 11 months later he successfully appealed the deportation ruling and was thus allowed to walk out the front door and is now free in Japan.”
Hearing about such a POSSIBILITY of successful appeal, no matter how rare, (combined with the fact that some folks actually will be beaten killed or tortured back in their home country) explains why folks actually CHOOSE to remain in such Shinagawa-prison concentration camps indefinitely.
TLDR: let’s state things correctly, any person convicted of overstaying sitting in such a prison can go home free tomorrow if they choose to. The folks who refuse to go home are choosing of their own free will to stay in that prison, day after day after day.
— If we don’t get a source for that claim within two days, I’m deleting this comment. Thanks.
With respect, even if your facts are correct (I’m having morning coffee now, so haven’t fact-checked), refusal to sign a document does not give any government the right to violate anyone’s inalienable human rights.
Killing people for paperwork now? That’s like something out of Kafka.
Yes, these folks in cages are only guilty of being born in a poor and/or war-ravaged country.
And the fact that these folks in cages choose to remain day after day in those inhumane death-causing cages with inhumane killer guards proves just how bad these folks in cages do NOT want to return to their poor and/or war-ravaged country.
And the fact that our relatively rich strong-military ancestors and current family members and governments committed over the past 500 years all the looting and war-initiating even to the present day which caused the poor victims to have to try to escape their countries in the first place, means that it is absolutely absurd for us to say, “You can’t come in here were all the looted gold is circulating around our economy. Now sit in this cage until you agree to go back to your poor and/or war-ravaged country.”
Final summary: Japan does NOT want to keep those people in cages. Japan wants to send those people home. Those people are daily making the choice to refuse to sign the deportation order.
If they want to get out of the cage, all they have to do is sign the deportation order and get on the government paid plane home. Nobody is keeping them in those cages indefinitely against their will.
Folks, just because I’m telling you something you never knew before, please don’t think I am making any excuses for Japan nor for the killer guards which Japan pays to oversee those cages.
Caging people in the first place for merely “not having permission to peacefully exist in this part of the earth” is absolutely a crime against humanity, and I am totally against ALL immigration prevention.
Again, my 2010 post: p=7910#comment-213732 🙂
I’m going to have to disagree with you.
Keeping someone in s cage is a violation of their human rights.
Denying someone access to medical treatment when they request it, resulting in death, is a violation of their human rights.
Refusal to sign a piece of paper is not carte blanche to violate someone’s human rights to the point of murder.
Why are you victim blaming?
‘They could stop it anytime they want’? Are you for real? You’ve already yourself listed the reasons why people might want to escape their country and come to Japan, and accepted the wider socio-historical forces that created these dynamics (and ‘our’ responsibility for that) AND stated that you believe in freedom of movement, but then you contradict everything by blaming their deaths on them. On them not signing a piece of paper.
Maybe I’m missing something?
You’re going to have to do a lot better than ‘If you don’t want me to murder you, sign this document in a language you can’t read’.
It’s kind of like when Homer Simpson asks God to send him ‘no sign whatsoever’ if He wants Homer to eat the cookies.
The poster above, Gulf (and, as it happens, you and Debito) mistakenly thought these folks were being “detained indefinitely” for months/years/decades with absolutely no way to get out of the cage.
Thanks to my logical correction, you now know (please don’t shoot the messenger) that anyone can get out of the cage as soon as they do something they don’t want to do: sign the deportation order (which yes probably has some very unfair agreement in there to never try coming back to Japan again.)
Is the caging in the first place inhumane? Yes!
Are the conditions in these cages inhumane? Yes!
Are the guards inhumane killers? Yes!
Are the caged being prevented from returning to their country of nationality? No, they can return tomorrow if they so choose.
I’m absolutely surprised that you all thought they were being prevented from going home for years upon years.
C’mon folks, just quietly admit in your hearts that you learned something new (namely, the surprising fact that governments strangely are unable to send a person home UNTIL they coerce the person into signing the deportation order) now let’s get back to criticizing the inhumane guards, the inhumane conditions, and the crime against humanity which is: preventing innocent people from moving freely anywhere they choose around Earth. 🙂
— Of course. But I still find it highly incredible that Abubakar Suraj, for example, essentially signed his own death warrant before being asphyxiated on a plane during his forced deportation in 2009.
Debito, when I merely posted the simple (heretofore unknown to you) fact that: folks are always able be flown to their home country free as a bird as soon as they sign the deportation order, you wrote that I had somehow made a “highly dubious claim.”
And Jim, you also didn’t know that fact, which regardless of your not having drunk your morning coffee yet really you should have noticed already in your decades of reading about such cases just like me. C’mon guys.
Jim, you wrote that you “disagreed” with that simple surprising fact (that deportees can go home as soon as they sign the deportation agreement), and then you created a strawman claim that I somehow had implied “Refusal to sign a piece of paper is carte blanche to violate someone’s human rights to the point of murder” and that I somehow am guilty of “victim blaming.”
No, I simply informed Gulf (and you and Debito as it turns out) that those caught violating immigration law are NOT caged “indefinitely”, they are only caged UNTIL they agree to go home, then suddenly they are flown home and free.
Your heretofore assumption that caught overstayers are somehow prevented from returning home for years upon years was simply incorrect. The reality is overstayers are caged UNTIL they agree to return home.
I feel it was intellectually dishonest for you to claim that I somehow had implied “If they don’t sign the deportation order then it’s OK for Japan to murder them.”
What I said was, “They are free to fly home to their country of nationality as soon as they choose.”
Debito, I feel it was wrong for you to make that strawman claim that I somehow had implied the incredible claim that “Abubakar Suraj, for example, essentially signed his own death warrant before being asphyxiated on a plane during his forced deportation in 2009.”
I never claimed nor implied that Suraj or anyone else ever agreed to being killed on a plane by signing a deportation letter.
Look, I get it, you two are righteously angry about that murder on the plane and all the murders which occur in Japan’s “stay here in this room until you agree to get out of this country” cages, just as I am righteously angry about such atrocities, but there is no logical reason to angrily libel me with those strawman claims that “this commenter thinks it’s OK for Japan to kill folks who refuse to go back to their country of nationality” or “this commenter thinks folks who sign the deportation order are essentially agreeing to be killed on the plane” just because I taught you something you didn’t know.
Remember, I am the one who also taught you that overstayers and visa-holders alike don’t need to show anything to police officers in the first place since: I discovered the limiting-qualifier that says you are only required to show your Zairyuu Kaado to a police officer who is actually acting within the police duties laws which require the officer to first have reasonable cause to believe you are committing a crime BEFORE he can even start speaking with you in the first place.
Again, I have simply altruistically shared a law that most people didn’t know, the correct answer is not to be angry due to embarrassment about past mistaken assumptions, one simply should be grateful for the correction and to try to share correct information with those who can benefit from it.
For example, as I shared above, the immigration folks and the private guards will pressure one to sign the deportation order AND to pay for the plane ride home, but you don’t need to pay for the plane ride home, you don’t need to give them any money and you don’t need to give them any contact info for them to start pressuring for money.
If you want to get out of the cage quickly you can simply agree to abandon the live-in-Japan dream. Or, you can stay in the cage another day (or week, or month, or year, or decade) and try to appeal the deportation.
I know it’s a tough decision: inhumane conditions back home, or inhumane conditions in the immigration cage.
I just couldn’t allow readers to get the wrong impression that the caged folks are being prevented from returning to their country of nationality.
OK, that is all, again, there is no need to get mad at me for explaining the reality: the free plane ride home is offered daily.
— Hi AnonymousOG. Debito here. Thanks for your replies.
Let’s take it down a notch. Let me speak for myself here:
First, let me say that I am not/was not mad at you, and I apologize if I gave that impression. My primary emotion in this exchange was incredulity, which is why I asked for a source earlier. You gave me one. It’s reliable, so no worries. Thanks.
Yes, I was unaware that all these people had to do was sign a paper and be deported.
But I’m still having trouble understanding this dynamic. The reasons why are because:
a) by not signing, the detainees are literally killing themselves (through hunger strikes, etc.);
b) by not signing, the detainees are subjecting themselves to corroborated inhumane and lethal conditions (through overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, poor diet and exercise, insufficient or inattentive health care, etc.) that will have long-term impacts on their physical and mental health; and
c) even after they apparently have signed (cf. Suraj etc.), they are being killed during deportation, which beggars belief that something was willingly done (as you put it, “choosing” to stay or leave).
Second, what strains credulity for me even further is the portrayal of this dynamic as “Japan wants to send these people home. Those people are daily making the choice to refuse to sign the deportation order.”
A possible (mis-)interpretation of this sentence is that it becomes the DETAINEES’ fault for staying, and being a bother to the system. And that opens things up to all manner of abusive thoughts. Such as, “Well, they shouldn’t be here in the first place. Therefore Japan is justified in treating these pests (or “illegals”) in any way they choose. Whatever works to get them out, and whatever stops more coming in.”
Like it or not, as expressed this logic winds up becoming a dehumanizing process. As Zimbardo has shown for decades now, it tends towards carte blanche for the prison guards. This can currently be seen in practice in the US concentration camps. And the public proponents are following exactly this kind of logic of justification. It lets authority off the hook for creating even lethal conditions.
So while I’m happy to learn something from you anytime (without embarrassment), of course, I’m not happy with the message being portrayed here. It’s not a matter of shooting the messenger. I’m having trouble accepting the veracity of the very message.
My homework will be someday to contact these detainees/former detainees, and learn about their mindset of remaining in detention. I suspect the conclusion will probably not be that it’s not as easy a choice as a) staying to die or b) leaving on a free plane ticket.
I flinch at seeing it that way. And at this point I think we should welcome the insights of somebody who has actually been in one of these Gaijin Tanks.
Thanks for engaging in the discussion. — Debito
Thanks for the perfectly rational reply Debito. 🙂
Yeah, I think really we were simply given a slightly incorrect impression by sentences such as this particular one in that Reuters article, spoken by a goodhearted (but slightly misstating things) activist group:
“RINK, a group supporting detainees at the center, told Reuters the Nigerian had been on hunger strike to protest his lengthy detention.”
C’mon RINK, that sentence gives readers the false impression that this man was being prevented from going home for 3 years. Such incorrect statements are unnecessary since the truth is bad enough:
To state the reality correctly, RINK should have said “The Nigerian had been on hunger strike to protest the inhumanity of Japan continuing for over 3 years to refuse to grant his appeal for the right to live in Japan since he faces a high probability of torture and/or death back in Nigeria. His courageous hunger strike was also intended to bring international light to the inhumane conditions in those deportation-appeal cages: where private guards neglectfully and even purposefully kill the deportation-appealing humans directly, and where the government of Japan kills the detention-appealing humans indirectly through lethal conditions in the detention-appeal cages (overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, poor diet and exercise, insufficient or inattentive health care, etc. that will have long-term impacts on their physical and mental health.)”
C’mon RINK, that is the kind of 100% correct description we Debito readers can all agree upon.
As it happens, a few months ago I personally met a down-on-his-luck Indonesian man who was living in Japan trying to gain refugee status (whom I gave 8万円 to, and my whom my friend gave 7万円 to, and whom my friend then also gave a job to but unfortunately the guy turned out to be not a hard-worker) whose pregnant wife living with him here in Japan was not allowed to join Kokuho (the officials claimed that since she was a refugee seeker who arrived after 2016 she was not eligible to receive a Zairyuu Kaado and thus unable to join Kokuho, which is either an inhumane lie or an inhumane truth, either way) since she was getting close to birth time and since they didn’t have the 30万円 needed for the hospital, she turned herself in to Shinagawa in the morning and literally (not figuratively) literally was on a government-paid flight home to Indonesia that very same afternoon.
Her husband explained to me what she reported to him: the Shinagawa officials apply pressure to any person who agrees to be deported to “pay for the flight, or give us the contact info of someone who will pay for the flight” but since she had zero savings and since she gave zero contact info for them to bother, she received her instant free flight home.
I think some folks who choose to be deported are fooled by the officials into needlessly spending longer than needed there, because it is quite likely that lying officials and lying guards fool some folks into thinking they “can’t go home until they convince someone to send money for the flight home”. Which is why I’m glad I told her husband even before she went to Shinagawa, “Tell your wife to take the strong stance that she has zero savings and she has absolutely no contact info of any friends or family to give, so Japan won’t be able to waste any time calling family/friends trying to applying pressure. Simply repeat ‘No money, no family/friends, send me home immediately’ and Japan will suck it up and pay for the flight since Japan does NOT want to pay for the daily food or utilities or medical care a day more than necessary.” I feel the info I gave to her husband helped her get that quick free flight home.
So yeah, perhaps some of those folks who stay detained so long are wrongly being fooled into thinking they can’t be flown home until they find someone who will pay for the flight, but probably the majority of those folks who stay detained so long know the reality: the reality that ketchi-Japan will pay for your flight home as soon as you agree to it since it’s cheaper than paying for continued weeks or months of feeding the folks in the cage.
Finally, about “Well, why did Suraj supposedly sign the deportation paper agreeing to leave Japan yet then so strongly physically resist the deportation?” I don’t know, perhaps A) he didn’t know what he was signing, which is a very important point Debito & Jim & Baud & other commenters here have wisely raised over the years about written-in-Japanese contracts which police and immigration officials coerce victims into signing, thus we need to push Japan to create a law which requires translations of the deportation order template in every language, and should be publicly posted on Japan’s .go.jp website for the world to be able to see if the translations are correct. And B) perhaps Suraj understood the deportation order and signed it knowing full well that ended his ability to appeal any further but perhaps after signing it had a change of heart when the reality of never seeing his wife again began to dawn on him on the way to the airplane. And C) perhaps he never did sign the deportation order, perhaps either the immigration officials or the private guards forged his signature.
And no matter what, the fact that they restrained his chest so tight that he couldn’t breath PLUS forced a towel in his mouth so he definitely couldn’t breathe, means that yes absolutely they murdered Mr. Abubakar Suraj, RIP.
Thanks for continuing to altruistically put in the time and energy to run this site which brings international light to the inhumane way the government of Japan (and the people raised in Japanese culture) treat “humans who are not racially Japanese [sic]” as sub-humans.
Even when I make a 1% correction here, I am thankful for the already 99% correct sentences I gain insight from reading here every day.
Seriously, thank you for your service Debito. 🙂
PS – BTW, my strong “no person is illegal” “all people should be able to move and work anywhere freely” stance mentioned in my post above can be seen more fully in a related 2010 post:
Yes, of course Debito you are correct in pointing out that these whatever-they-should-be-called cages ARE lacking in the legal standards for incarceration conditions, absolutely: the employees are private guards working for private companies which the Japanese government contracts to do this dirty work, and in doing so the Japanese government attempts to keep their hands clean since if a sufficient fuss were ever to be made by the general populace in Japan about any particular death of an overstayer, the Japanese government can simply blame it all on the private company and the private company can simply blame it all on some individual guard employees, then if needed the company simply fires some employees and/or passes the employees to the police for prosecution of just those individuals, and then if really needed the Japanese government can simply hire a different private company next year. As you correctly pointed out, it’s hard to decide what name to give these privately-run-cages which imprison the government-convicted immigration-law violators.
But the point I am making is logically they only imprison the government-convicted immigration-law violators UNTIL the violators “sign the damn deportation order.”
This is a surprising point, I know, because many folks choose remain in there for months or years stubbornly refusing to sign that “OK, I agree to go home (and not come back)” document.
And this is a surprising point because this means the Japanese system is quite WEAK in this aspect. One would think that after an overstayer is caught the government would have the power to simply put the convicted law-violators on planes immediately to immediately get rid of each overstayer (who daily costs food/water/heat money and who daily poses the risk of sickness/death/media fuss.) It’s truly weird that Japan can force overstayers into vans and jail cells, but Japan cannot force those same overstayers onto the intercontinental planes UNTIL the overstayer signs the deportation order.
One would think that the government of Japan having signed the deportation order would be enough, but no, the signature of the DEPORTEE is required.
I was only trying to explain this surprising fact to the above commenter, so I’m surprised that you too had been assuming all this time that the Japanese government wants to prevent the overstayers from returning to their country of nationality. Au contraire, every day the immigration officials (and the private guards) put a LOT of verbal pressure on those folks in the cages to “Sign the deportation agreement/contract/order. Sign it now! Sign it so you can go home!”
In over 20 years of reading about this issue in Japan I have never read any account of “I’m here in the Shinagawa detention center, I want to be sent back to my home country immediately but they won’t let me, they are keeping me here in Japan in a cage against my will, I demand to be sent back to the country of which I am a national immediately!” To the contrary, those in the cage are REFUSING to sign the deportation order and hoping that if they just stick it out long enough and send enough letters that somehow miraculously the government of Japan will change their mind and generously grant a visa/permission/asylum for them to reside legally in Japan.
I feel embarrassed that I the student am suddenly explaining this to the teacher something he hadn’t yet realized, but hey, we’re all human and we all learn from each other many things.
Here’s an Amnesty International report found instantly:
“MD first arrived in Japan as a stowaway on a container ship. The immigration authorities in the port of Yokohama refused to allow him to land in Japan, but he eventually managed to gain illegal entry by swimming ashore on 17 November 1995. When he went to a local police station to ask for help he was transferred to the immigration authorities once again and placed in detention. He was questioned and later told that he had to leave Japan, but he refused to sign the deportation order.”
Now in that particular case, the caged man’s brave refusal to sign the deportation order, his choice to remain in the cage FOR OVER A YEAR paid off, since he was one of the rare folks who WAS eventually granted the ability to live in Japan.
But if he had just given up on the first day and signed the deportation order he would have been home in Iraq the next day.
His choice to stay in the cage for a year and write letters and hope for asylum to be granted, is the same choice everyone who refuses to give sign the deportation letter makes: if you go home you’ll be back to a bad situation for sure, but if you stay in the Shinagawa cage long enough you MIGHT get lucky and be allowed back into Japan.
Defying the daily pressure to sign the deportation order, choosing the bad-condition Shinagawa cage conditions over the Iraq/Syria/wherever worse conditions, is a daily choice being made by the caged.
By the way, the government and the guards will first try to pressure you into paying for the flight home, then they will try to pressure you to give contact info of family/friends/anybody who will be called and pressured to pay for the flight home, but if you simply don’t give any such contact info, the government of Japan simply sucks it up and pays for the flight using tax dollars. But first, as I explained above, the deportee must sign the deportation order.
Strange but true.
Oh, and in that same Amnesty International report, here is one more person who refused to sign the deportation letter for over a year:
“Luo Yi refused to sign his deportation order and vowed to appeal against the judgement. Luo Yi spent a total of one-and-a-half-years in detention fighting for refugee recognition in Japan.”
In the end, he also kinda’ won, in that although Japan didn’t grant him asylum, eventually Denmark did.
It is success stories like these that give motivation (to those not wanting to go home to war-torn-countries, torture, or simply poverty) to choose day after day to refuse to sign the deportation orders, and thus stay for months or years in a cage in Japan voluntarily.
Yes, the conditions are inhumane, but as I said above, let’s not get confused. Japan does NOT want to feed any of those caged folks a day longer than needed. Japan wants them to sign the deportation order so they can be put onto the planes immediately.
(And yes, after one signs the deportation document, there still is always the chance the guards will accidentally kill you while putting you onto the plane and then try to force the pilot to take off with your dead body anyway.)
Main point is: the government of Japan pressures each overstayer daily to agree to be flown back to the country of their nationality immediately, and strangely: the government of Japan cannot do put them on the plane until the deportee agrees to sign the deportation order.
Sign now to go home now, or stay in the Shinagawa cage another day, the choice is up to each caged individual.
Again, please note I am not trying to make the government or the private guards seem good.
Nobody should be arrested for “migrating illegally / overstaying” in the first place, since: no victim, no crime.
Thank you for Amnesty International’s report, AnonymousOG. After reading quite a few of the horrific abuse reports, I can only find 1 case that explicitly mentions a deportation order that must be signed by the would-be deported individual: the one on page 40 (42 of the PDF).
It seems to me that they only need the sign of people applying for refugee status, as opposed to needing it from all overstayers.
Apparently the plight of those in detention is finally getting some attention:
Election talk on foreigner human rights limited despite rise in long-term detentions
Notice now most of these pledges are related to control and management?
Campaign pledges from Japan’s major political parties regarding foreign nationals residing in Japan:
The Liberal Democratic Party: A more thorough residency system and societal measures including improvements in education.
Komeito: Improvements to residency management of foreign residents and enrollment management of foreign students.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan: Protection of the rights of foreign workers.
The Democratic Party for the People: Recruitment of foreign workers in regional communities.
Japanese Communist Party: Establishment of a system to protect the rights of foreign nationals and abolition of the technical intern training program.
Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party): Residence management system for foreign nationals based on the “My Number” social security and tax number system.
Social Democratic Party: Protection of the rights of foreign workers and review of the status of residency system.
Interesting, thank you for the sum up!
How about ‘Hunger Strikeouts’?:
Re-detention of asylum seekers in Japan, hunger strikes show strained immigration system
Paywalled Japanese version below:
‘Prison camps for Brazilians’: Foreign kids in Japan being ushered into special education
Mainichi has picked up this story and is running with it:
Editorial: Japan needs to tackle human rights abuses at detention centers
Brazilian man sues Japanese gov’t for injuries at immigration center
Brazilian man sues Japanese gov’t for injuries at immigration center
November 18, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)
TOKYO (Kyodo) — A Brazilian man has sued the Japanese government after sustaining injuries in October last year while being forcibly restrained at an immigration facility in Tokyo, people familiar with the matter said Monday.
Andre Kussunoki, 33, filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, claiming the physical restraint used by immigration officials was unnecessary and amounted to assault. He is demanding that the state pay 5 million yen ($46,000) in damages.
Kussunoki says he still suffers from pain and cannot raise his arm. He sustained injuries to his shoulder when he was restrained by several officials after refusing to follow an order at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, the sources said.
The bureau detains foreigners who have received deportation orders.
In recent years, several other detainees have sustained injuries while being physically restrained at immigration facilities in the country.
A Kurdish man injured his neck in May last year at the Tokyo immigration bureau, and a Turkish man broke his right arm in July 2017 at the Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau.
According to internal documents from the immigration bureau, obtained by Kyodo News, immigration authorities tried to transfer Kussunoki to an immigration center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Oct. 9, 2018, but he resisted the transfer order by locking himself in the toilet.
Six immigration officials had to forcibly remove him from the toilet, taking him down on his stomach and handcuffing him behind his back.
Kussunoki, with bleeding fingers, complained of pain in his left shoulder, according to the documents.
After he was transferred to the immigration center in Ushiku later in the day, he was diagnosed by the center’s doctor as having a left rotator cuff injury.
Kussunoki told Kyodo News in a recent interview that the officials continued to restrain him even after he stopped resisting.
“Although I asked the officials to explain why it was necessary for me to be transferred, they persistently said such explanations were unnecessary,” Kussunoki said.
“I don’t understand why they had to physically restrain me, when all they needed to do is explain,” he said.
An official at the Immigration Services Agency said, “We recognize that a measure of restraint was carried out using the reasonably minimum necessary physical force for the violation of not complying with orders.”
Some critics point out that detainees and immigration workers are both stressed out, with detainees increasingly being held for longer periods of time. The government is being criticized for keeping detainees with no clear idea of when they will be sent back to their countries.
“Being detained without any prospects, detainees are feeling stressed, and officials who are responding to them are becoming exhausted and violent,” said Koichi Kodama, a lawyer who has expertise in immigration policy and the rights of foreigners.
“Detentions at immigration facilities will be conducted for deportation as intended by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, and detentions of foreigners who have no prospects of deportation should be stopped immediately,” Kodama said. ENDS
‘“I don’t understand why they had to physically restrain me, when all they needed to do is explain,” he said.‘
This is why he got injured; western Socratic concepts and attendant ‘illusion of equality’ condition westerners to ask for explanations and reasonably expect to get one.
Asian Confucianism and its constant ‘illusion of authority’ is totally offended by the asking of questions (try asking your doctor a few), and demands blind obidience! ‘Because we said so!’, just ask the Hong Kongers. And yeah, HK looks exactly the way Todai did during the Ampo demos.
“A Kurdish man injured his neck in May last year at the Tokyo immigration bureau, and a Turkish man broke his right arm in July 2017 at the Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau.”
The way this is phrased makes it sound like they did it to themselves. That is on purpose I presume, so that any quote cannot be self-incriminating.
More reporting by Mainichi regarding human rights abuses at detention centers:
Intensifying rights abuses against foreigners held in detention put Japan on dangerous path
「２週間だけ仮放免」 繰り返される外国人長期収容 「一瞬息させ、水に沈めるようだ」
It might be outdated post here but this is what I found in today’s DW News. 2019-11-26
Japan bar association says long-term detainments of foreigners on the rise