Japan Times & Sano Hiromi on violence towards NJ detainees at Ibaraki Detention Center, hunger strike


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Hi Blog.  Let me forward something to you about conditions in Japan’s Immigration Detention Centers (better known as “Gaijin Tanks”) — an activist named Sano-san who wants to draw long-overdue attention to widespread abuse of NJ in these notorious extralegal prisons.  Link to Japan Times article substantiating Sano-san’s claims follows her email.  Reporters, be in touch with her (or me at debito@debito.org) if you want more information.

The extralegal powers of Japan’s police forces are atrocious, and they are especially bad when people fall completely outside the legal system (as in, NJ detainees not tried and convicted criminals, with a term-limited sentence and minimum prison conditions as stipulated by law; these are people who can be held indefinitely in crowded conditions, without oversight, access to exercise, medical care, hygiene, etc.)  They just happen to be NJ (because Gaijin Tanks cannot hold Japanese) and thus remain shrouded in even more secrecy than usual (as people assume they’re full of riffraff trying to come in and take advantage of Rich Citadel Japan) and operate under the media radar.  Trying to remedy that.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo.


From: Sano Hiromi < sanohiromi3@gmail.com >
日付: 2010年3月10日0:17
件名: Ibaraki Detention Center

Hello and Hajimemashite, Debito. My name is Hiromi Sano. I am a volunteer to support detainees at Ibaraki Detention Center.
Our organization name is 入管問題かんさい支援ネットワーク (Kansai Network)
6 groups are involved in this Kansai Network.
WITH (西日本入管センターを考える会)
Amnesty International Osaka (アムネスティ・インターナショナル大阪難民チーム)
TRY (外国人労働者・難民と共に歩む会)

It is a very brutal and abusive place to be. Since March 8th, about 80 male detainees are doing hunger strike.

They demand that the immigration disclose the reasons why their applications for release from the detention center were rejected despite the fact that their refugee claims are reviewed administratively or judicially with support from lawyers or legal assistance workers. To solve the situation, they are asking for a talk with the chief of the center.

Last night (March 9), detainees in A block (about 40 people) refused to go into their room insisting they need to talk with the chief, and all went to a room with showers and locked the door. They said they would not come out of the shower room unless the officers hear their voice.

Aroud 5 o’clock in the afternoon, about 40 officers came. According to the detainees, 10 of them were armed officers (with the helmet, protective clothing, protective shoes..). They used a chainsaw to cut the door of the shower room, and came in and restrain 4 of them. And now 4 detainees are kept in solitary confinement.

This hunger strike is still going on, and some of detainees wish to die because of this horrible situation.

If you are interested in this situation, please contact me at sanohiromi3 AT gmail DOT com.
You can provide my cellphone number to the reporters
[reporters, contact me at debito@debito.org]

Hunger strike is still going on, and five detainees are still kept in solitary confinement.  Our group will stand at JR Ibaraki Station(Osaka), and protest from 2pm to 6pm today.

Making this to public gives encouragement to the detainees, so thank you for doing this.  Hiromi Sano (WITH)
email ends



Detainees allege abuse at Kansai holding center
Guards meting out harsh treatment behind the walls of Ibaraki immigration facility, say inmates

Special to The Japan Times

Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100309zg.html

Excerpts follow:
In 2005, Japan deported two members of a seven-member Kurdish family who had been “recognized as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under its own rules,” according to a recent report by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA). Many believe the family’s decision to publicly protest and speak to the media about their treatment was a factor in the deportation decision (Zeit Gist, April 29, 2003; March 29, 2005; July 3, 2007)….

Another inmate at the west Japan center, 37-year-old Mujahid Aziz Iqbal, says he has lost over 14 kg in weight and the use of his legs since last October, probably because of a psychosomatic disorder. He was convicted of selling stolen cars and faces deportation back to Pakistan. In addition to specific claims of mistreatment by some of the guards, he says the center has refused his demand for treatment and responded to his condition by offering “useless” painkillers…

Ssentamu, meanwhile, believes that the conditions inside the center, including rooms with single toilets shared by eight to 10 inmates, serve a purpose: deterrence.

“These are deliberate acts aimed at breaking down the will to seek refuge in this country.” He says some inmates have been inside the center for over two years…

“Many people suspect that because the Japanese government is afraid to deport people in case of international criticism, they would rather detain them. It’s a means of deterrence — foreigners know that if they come here without a visa, they’re going to suffer. It’s sending out a message: Don’t come here.”

Ssentamu is still in a cell by himself — punishment, he claims, for protesting and urging others to speak out. Confinement is worsened by a myriad of petty official humiliations including cold food and a lack of water to flush toilets. Is he just making life hard for himself by breaking the rules and refusing to accept his punishment?

Rest of the article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100309zg.html

9 comments on “Japan Times & Sano Hiromi on violence towards NJ detainees at Ibaraki Detention Center, hunger strike

  • Slowly but surely we are getting to the point where foreigners living in this country are fed up with mistreatment at the hands of Japanese Officials. The government here should remember what happened in France and the UK, don’t think Japan is immune!

  • This hunger strike was picked up by Yomiuri Online:

    I love how they minimize the issue by (a)claiming that the reason for the strike is because the inmates are refused to be let out so that they can see a doctor (which obviously is not the only reason), and (b)the only food they don’t eat are those given by the center, meaning they will eat food that they buy themselves or those given by their supporters (meaning “that’s no hunger strike, you wuss”).



    (2010年3月11日12時04分 読売新聞)

  • Well here is something you could bring up in your 20 minute talk on March 23 about human rights (lack of) in Japan. A truly shameful story.

  • Please Debito, or someone who reads this site work your magic to get this published in foreign presses. [overgeneralization deleted]

  • Gilesdesign says:

    Horrific, the dirty underbelly of Japanese politics. Thanks to Sano Hiromi, Ardou Debito and the Japan times for getting this information out (not to Yomiuri for that feeble attempt at reporting). I guess preventing the discomfort of public knowledge about the extent to which this sort of stuff goes in Japan is seen as more important than the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers. It is a wonder how Japan can flash the cash when it comes to international aid and yet on their own turf they so diabolically fail the very people who come to Japan looking for help and refuge. Makes you wonder if there is any moral center to Japans international aid or is it all just global PR and bargaining (see vote buying with aid at IWC). I hope this stuff makes its way to the international press.

  • redballoon says:

    let’s hope something can be done…debito, thanks for this. this is the kind of stuff that really needs looked into.


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