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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 October 6 - 12  > High Court recognizes deportation of asylum seekers as illegal
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2021 October 6 - 12 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

High Court recognizes deportation of asylum seekers as illegal

October 12, 2021

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Tokyo High Court on September 22 judged that to have deported asylum seekers without the opportunity for a fair trial is a violation of Article 32 of the Japanese Constitution which guarantees the right of access to the court. This judgement was finalized last week.

Two Sri Lankan men came to Japan in 1999 and 2005, respectively, to flee from political persecution and sought a refugee status. When their residency status expired, they were taken to an immigration detention facility. They were able to leave the facility with a "provisional release permit" and they then filed an appeal against the rejection of their asylum application.

Late in 2014, when the two paid a regular visit to the Tokyo Immigration Bureau to renew their provisional release status, they were told that the decision to reject their appeal was made 40 days beforehand. They were detained on site and were forcibly returned to Sri Lanka early the next morning.

The Administrative Case Litigation Act stipulates that administrative organizations should inform the parties involved in an administrative decision of the decision and should tell them that they have the right to file a legal appeal within six months.

The high court judged that the immigration office did not inform them of the decision until just before their deportation for the purpose of preventing them from taking legal action, and concluded that the immigration office infringed on their right to a fair trial as stipulated under Article 32 of the Constitution by depriving them of the chance to request for a judicial review. The court stated that the immigration office also violated due process guarantees and individual dignity guarantees as stipulated under Article 31 and Article 13 of the Constitution, respectively.

The Liberal Democratic-Komei coalition government in the last ordinary session of the Diet submitted a bill to revise the Immigration Act in order to criminalize refusal to accept deportation and to strengthen the system to reject asylum seekers. However, the attempt at revision was defeated as a result of resistance from opposition parties and concerned citizens. During Diet discussions on the bill, inhumane treatment of foreigners in Japan's immigration centers was revealed.

It is necessary to fundamentally change the structure of the immigration administration to one guaranteeing the basic human rights of foreigners.

Past related articles:
> Unified efforts by opposition parties working with public movement activists block adverse revision of immigration law: Shii [May 19, 2021]
> Over 100K signatures submitted opposing adverse revisions of Immigration Law [April 23, 2021]
> JCP opposes bill to deport refugee applicants[April 17, 2021]
> JCP Yamazoe criticizes immigration authorities for disregarding foreign detainees’ lives even amid pandemic [March 22, 2021]
> JCP lawmakers talk with civil groups supporting immigrants and refugee status seekers [July 19, 2020]
> One in four foreign detainees placed in confinement for more than 18 months [May 30, 2019]
> JCP Fujino: Gov’t should take measures to prevent suicides in immigration detention centers [May 18, 2018]
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