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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 17 - 23  > JCP lawmakers inspect poor conditions at immigration detention facilities
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2018 October 17 - 23 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP lawmakers inspect poor conditions at immigration detention facilities

October 21, 2018

Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers, Fujino Yasufumi and Shiokawa Tetsuya, on October 19 conducted an on-site inspection at the Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, with public criticism growing against excessively-long detentions of illegal residents and the poor living environments at detention centers.

Five months earlier, Fujino at a House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee meeting took up this issue and revealed that suicide and self-injury incidents repeatedly occurred among detainees. He urged the government to take measures to address the situation.

In the on-site inspection, Shimizu Hiroki, the chief of the detention center, said to Fujino and Shiokawa that among 17 detention facilities in Japan, only the Higashi-Nihon center has a full-time doctor on duty, adding that the doctor is not available at night.

Questioned by the JCP lawmakers about a controversy over the installation of surveillance cameras in changing rooms next to shower rooms, a staff member said that the cameras were already removed a week earlier. The two lawmakers learned that the exercise yard of the center is roofed with wire netting and that the inhabitants are allowed to leave their rooms only three hours in the morning and the afternoon.

Shimizu said that the facility houses about 340 people per day and that as of the end of September, the number of the inhabitants detained for more than one year was 273, including 106 people who were kept there for more than two years. He also said that the number of temporary release applications totaled over 1,000 in the last three years but only 200-300 of them were approved.

Fujino stated that every prison has at least one full-time doctor and that he realized anew how insufficient medical support at detention centers is.

Shiokawa stressed that the detainees’ human rights are unreasonably restricted and that they should not be confined in the facility for such a long time under such conditions.

Past related articles:
> Over 100 foreign detainees staged hunger strike in immigration center in Ibaraki's Ushiku [May 22, 2018]
> Poor medical standards at immigration centers in Japan violate human rights [May 10, 2018]
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