TOKYO: About 100 Japanese and a dozen lawyers gathered in central Tokyo on Wednesday to demonstrate against a new foreign asylum bill. Protesters denounce the provisions of the new law that allow foreigners to be expelled while their refugee visa applications are pending.
The crowd of demonstrators, which included a number of foreigners concerned about their status, made their way to the Foreign Ministry via the Tokyo District Court building and the upmarket Ginza district.
Sai, a Congolese father of two found himself in custody for overstaying his visa. Although married to a Japanese woman and father of two children, the immigration administration did not issue him a work permit or a refugee visa despite his stable family situation.
An Iranian opponent of Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime confessed to having spent more than three years in detention at an immigration center where he developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
A Pakistani man who fled his country for political reasons said his wife lost her child after being imprisoned at the immigration center. Following this imprisonment and the death of her child, the immigration services issued her a temporary residence permit but no visa. The man’s employer brought legal proceedings against the immigration services and won the case.
A Japanese man spoke about the plight of a woman from Sri Lanka who died in January this year at the Nagoya immigration detention center because the authorities failed to provide her with necessary medical care.
The Japanese government has repeatedly come under fire for its “harsh” detention facilities and immigration laws and is now considering a revision of the law on asylum and the conditions of detention.