April 30, 2020
First Commissioner Shoko SASAKI
1. That your Immigration detention centers will immediately grant a provisional-release status or grant residence permit and release all the detainees.
2. That your agency to grant special permission to stay in Japan for all the requested foreigners under to procedures of deportation and also to grant the same permission for more than one year to all the provisional detainees with a deportation order.
Detainees in your detention center (specifically Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center and Omura Immigration Center) are refined under high-risk contact conditions. Moreover, they are not allowed to access sufficient medical support and are in a poor food-service environment that lacks health balance with oily junk foods. Because they are long-detained in such an appalling environment that deprives them of humanitarian sense of time and places, they are exhausted both mentally and physically. Many of them are medicated for mentally-ill symptoms. Moreover, there are already many detainees with underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disorder, and respiratory disorder.
In case of an outbreak of COVID-19 among the detainees, group infection and worsening of symptoms are already easy to predict. Therefore, we must avoid and eliminate the course of infection in the detention center by any means.
As exposure and re-detention of foreigners are currently suspended, the primary source of infection is limited to center employees (mainly reception workers), guards, and food suppliers. However, they do not receive the COVID-19 PCR test. It is even possible that such employees would resume working despite positive results in the test. Moreover, Osaka Branch is ignoring the supporters' request and taking attendance of the detainees every day, even though they are requesting the social-distancing to avoid infection from the agency officers. Forcible meetings with detainees and officers by abusing the authority is causing a highly contagious environment (Detainees' meeting with outsiders is now prohibited except for lawyers and counsels from April 27). Additionally, multiple officers would take along the detainees in case of punishment confinement; this situation would also cause a scene of high-risk contact. From the aforementioned conduct, the Agency seems to be very senseless to the current contagious situation.
Petitioner has been hearing a number of concerns from the detainees and has been protesting to your center against such careless response.
We, the petitioner, is very concerned with the status quo. Any action after the outbreak of the disease is too late. Therefore, we strongly request to take measures to save detainees' lives by granting a provisional-release or residence permit.
Foreigners on provisional-release are deprived of labor rights and excluded from the Japanese social welfare system. We should not allow to leave them in the virus-contagious Japanese society without such security from a humanitarian perspective. As an emergency measure, petitioner requests for the agency to grand more than one-year residence permit to the foreigner on provisional release. In this condition, we also recommend to grand permanent residency by easing the current regulations.
Under the new policy to decrease foreigners on provisional release staring from April 2016, the Immigration Services Agency of Japan shifted their position to decrease the number of releases itself and harshening the standard for a special permit to stay in Japan. As a result, the population of long-term detainees has been skyrocketed. Growing tensions between detainees and officers allegedly led to the outbreak of violence by a number of officers. At Omura Immigration Center, specifically, a death of Nigerian detainees due to hunger strike was reported. This was caused because they did not send him to the hospital despite his prostration.
At the same time, the Agency has deprived children of Japanese citizenship and residence permit of their parents. The followings are your actions;
1) Declining the permission for a provisional-release
2) Re-detention of foreigners on provisional-release
3) Harshening the standard to decrease the case of special permission to stay in Japan
4) Decreasing the number of refugee status permit
Such actions are releasing the fragile foreign population without working rights and health insurance to Japanese society; even they could have been saved if it were for the previous special permit standard.
Immigration Services Agency should not neglect the foreigner of provisional release to the society which now facing public health danger. We again strongly recommend saving the lives of foreigners (foreigners with a Japanese spouse, refugee status applicants, provisional-release status foreigners with family and/or children living in Japan, long-term provisional-release status foreigners settling in Japan) in need by easing the regulations and grand residence permit. Also, even if some of them were hoping to leave, we request to save them as well by granting permits on the special activity until COVID-19 pandemic settles down.
Your favorable consideration of our requests would be appreciated.
PRAJ (Provisional Release Association in Japan)
( https://praj-praj.blogspot.com/2020/04/blog-post.html )