PRAJ (Provisional Release Association in Japan): Who We Are
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

PRAJ (Provisional Release Association in Japan): Who We Are

There are presently more than two million foreign residents, an increasing proportion of whom are refugees and immigrants. Although Japan is a State party to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its refugee recognition standards are extremely stringent, and the current Japanese government procedures treat most of the refugees as illegal entrants and illegal residents. Those refugees who fled persecution in their country of origin are treated as offenders of the Immigration Control Act in Japan, facing the danger of being deported to their country, where even death may await them. On the other hand, the Japanese government has been importing foreign labor since the bubble economy period in the 1980's, and people from various developing countries have been immigrating to Japan. Most of our legal status, however, has remained precarious, and we are threatened to be driven away when the Japanese economy turns down. Immigrants are not mere "labor power," nonetheless: we are living human beings with lives and families, sometimes including school-age children. It is a violation of human rights to throw us out of the country just because labor power is now redundant due to the recession.

We are detained by the Immigration Control as illegal residents, live under detention with severe conditions and with immigration officers' harsh coercive pressure to go home, and yet we still cannot go back to where we came from; "out of humanitarian consideration," we are granted "provisional release" after over a year of detained life which has a devastating effect on our body and soul. Even on provisional release, we are not permitted to work, and we have to pay from 100 to 300% of the high medical bills as we are excluded from the national health insurance system; and our freedom to move is restricted. What is more, depending on the result of the refugee recognition procedure and administrative lawsuit, we may face the hardship of re-detention. Many of our friends had only two month to celebrate their provisional release before they were re-detained for another year. Furthermore, there are some who face third and forth detentions.

We are campaigning for a proper resident status in order to live a secure life in Japan. Also, what we fear the most now is re-detention. We strongly demand the Immigration Control not to violate our human rights by re-detaining us.

To those on provisional release who have found their way to visit our website: let us defend our human rights together hand in hand. To Japanese citizens and foreign residents with a legal status: we call on you to support our struggle.

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