The IADL is concerned about the many incidents of abuse and violence in Japanese immigration detention centers.

In March 2021, a Sri Lankan woman who was being held in an immigration detention center died because the immigration authorities did not provide her with proper medical treatment, causing a national outcry over the immigration authorities’ response. There have also been assaults on Kurds and black Haitian-Americans in the detention center, resulting in serious injuries due to the violence of the officials. The discrimination against Sri Lankans is based on discrimination against Asians, while the incident with the Haitian-Americans is based on discrimination against blacks, as was the case with George Floyd. There have been 17 deaths in immigration detention since 2007, and the immigration administration has been criticized. Japan’s refugee status recognition rate is also extremely low among host countries, at about 0.5% per year, and Kurds, Myanmarese, Filipinos, and El Salvadorans are being repatriated to countries where they may face persecution if they return. As a host country for migrants and refugees, Japan does not meet international standards for protecting the human rights of migrants.

The Convention Against Torture and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Japanese government has joined and ratified, prohibit ill-treatment by public officials. Although detention in immigration facilities is a temporary system for foreigners subject to deportation until they are repatriated, there are many detainees who have been held for as long-term as three to five years. There is no judicial examination at the time of detention (in violation of Article 9, Paragraph 4 of ICCPR), and the human rights of detainees are disregarded only by administrative decisions. The UN human rights bodies have repeatedly warned that the prolonged detention be changed. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (September 2020) and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants and Torture and Ill-treatment (March 2021) have also pointed this out. Historically, in order for pre-war Japan to advance its war of aggression and colonial rule, a police organization called the Tokko (Special High Police) cracked down on communist ideology and Koreans. These officials took over the postwar immigration administration, and this is the root cause of the current discrimination against foreigners.

From the standpoint of protecting the rights of immigrants and refugees according to international standards, IADL requests that the Japanese government follow the warning of the UN human rights organizations and change its discrimination and nationalism against foreigners. In specific cases, IADL urges that the Japanese government respond to the disclosure of evidence of videotapes of abuse and make concerted efforts to reveal the truth.

Adopted by the IADL Council in virtual session on December 5, 2021


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