Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Japan.. New Law Allowing Deportation of Asylum Seekers


Before the law was passed, asylum seekers were allowed to stay in Japan regardless of how many attempts they made to obtain refugee status while processing their applications, but now they can be deported after 3 rejection decisions.

Justice Minister Ken Saito said the revised law would “protect those who deserve to be protected, and deal strictly with those who break the rules”.

“There are many people using the application system to avoid deportation,” he added.

Controversy erupts

  • Activists staged demonstrations to protest the revised law, but the opposition group’s objection failed in a vote in parliament, where the ruling coalition has a majority.
  • An altercation broke out in parliament on Thursday when opposition lawmakers attacked the chairman of a committee debating legislative reform in an attempt to block a vote on the amendments.
  • The Tokyo Bar Association said this week that extradition to “countries where their human rights may be violated” and “where their lives and freedoms are at risk” is unacceptable, even if they have a criminal record.
  • The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the amendments will allow better access to healthcare and provide accommodation options for those with pending asylum claims.

On refugees in Japan

  • Last year, Japan accepted only 202 refugees out of 12,500 who applied for asylum, and allowed 1,760 to stay separately on “humanitarian grounds.”
  • It received more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under different structures.
  • Migrant detention conditions in Japan have come under scrutiny since the 2021 death of 33-year-old Sri Lankan Washma Chandamali.
  • Chandamali was not an asylum seeker but was detained in Nagoya in the center of the country for overstaying his visa.
  • His family has sought more than $1 million in compensation from the government and held them responsible for his death.
  • Reports say that Chandamali has repeatedly complained of stomach pain and other symptoms, and activists say that he did not receive proper medical attention.
  • The ruling party prompted lawmakers to abandon an attempt to pass similar amendments to immigration rules two years ago.
  • Soichi Ibusuke, a lawyer for the Chandamali family, told AFP on Thursday that the amended law “is tantamount to pressing a button to execute asylum seekers by deportation”.
  • “The refugee identification system in Japan doesn’t work,” officials said, quickly rejecting applications, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.
  • Amnesty International said in March that Japan should abandon a proposed overhaul of its immigration laws, calling Japan’s detention policies “cruel and repressive.”
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Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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