Japan panel calls for penalizing foreigners who refuse deportation
Japan Times -- Jul 15
A panel under the justice minister proposed Tuesday establishing criminal penalties for foreign nationals who do not comply with deportation orders as Japan seeks to curb long-term detention of foreigners at immigration facilities.

The Immigration Services Agency is expected to consider drafting revisions to the immigration law based on the panel's proposals to Justice Minister Masako Mori to include imprisonment or fines for those resisting deportation.

Supporters of those detained, however, worry the move could lead to lawyers and volunteer workers helping foreign nationals avoid deportation being charged as accomplices.

They say some of those detained cannot go back to their home countries for fear of persecution, or because they have families in Japan. "The immigration law should not be amended easily," said Shogo Watanabe, a lawyer well-versed in refugee issues.

Japan has long been criticized by bar associations and human rights groups for long-term detention of foreign nationals who refuse to accept deportation on the grounds that they are seeking recognition as refugees or have families in the country.

The panel was set up last October to review the system following the death of a Nigerian man in his 40s in June of last year who had gone on a hunger strike at an immigration center in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, over his prolonged detention, marking the first such death in Japan.

The man had been detained since July 2016 and refused to be deported because he had family in Japan.

Those facing deportation in Japan are expected to leave at their own expense unless they lack the financial resources to do so. The government says it does not have either the funds or manpower to deport those financially capable of leaving if they refuse to do so.

News source: Japan Times
Aug 10
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 331 new cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed as of 3 p.m. on Sunday. (NHK)
Aug 10
Japan was blanketed by sweltering heat on Sunday. Temperatures in many areas rose above 35 degrees Celsius, putting people's health at risk. (NHK)
Aug 10
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it believes more than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from a bulk carrier that ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean on July 25. (NHK)
Aug 10
Japan's male smoking rate fell below 30 percent for the first time in 2019, slipping to 28.8 percent, down 2.3 percentage points from the previous study in 2016, according to a health ministry survey. (Japan Today)
Aug 09
People in Japan are remembering the victims of a catastrophic event during World War Two. Exactly 75 years ago, an American warplane dropped an atomic bomb on the southwestern city of Nagasaki ... just three days after one leveled Hiroshima. (NHK)
Aug 09
Many Japanese will be taking their summer holiday over the weekend amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNA)
Aug 08
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 429 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed as of 3 p.m. on Saturday. (NHK)
Aug 08
Ayumi Sato is trying to be careful. But she's had enough. Lockdown fatigue is setting in for Sato, a 34-year-old stock trader who lives in Tokyo, and she's not alone. (CNN)
Aug 08
NHK has learned that Japan's first supply of an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca may be provided between next January and March. (NHK)
Aug 08
Teachers and education officials are calling for students to pay special heed to the risk of heat exhaustion this summer as schools across Japan shorten their summer holidays and hold more classes than usual to make up for closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)