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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 April 19 - 25  > Min-iren calls for due medical care to asylum seekers on temporary release
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2023 April 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Min-iren calls for due medical care to asylum seekers on temporary release

April 19 & 20, 2023

The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) together with Japanese Communist Party member of the Lower House Motomura Nobuko on April 18 visited the Ministry of Health and Welfare, demanding that the government grant some sort of temporary visa to asylum seekers who are provisionally released from detention so that they can receive due medical care.

Currently, overstaying foreign nationals on temporary releases from immigration detention centers are not entitled to hold healthcare insurance cards and receive public assistance because they have no residency status in Japan. They are totally excluded from Japan's social welfare programs.

Min-iren medical hospitals and clinics provide medical care for free or at low cost to needy people, including foreigners on provisional releases.

According to Min-iren, the number of free medical care users rapidly climbed after the Immigration Service Agency began permitting a greater number of paroles in 2020. Min-iren surveyed its 703 medical institutions nationwide. The results show that 139 foreigners received free or low-cost medical treatment at Min-iren institutions in 2022, and that 92% and 84% of them did not have healthcare insurance cards and residency status, respectively.

Min-iren shoulders all medical expenses for uninsured foreign patients who receive free or low-cost treatment at Min-iren institutions. Some undergo treatment for more than a year due to chronic health issues, costing as much as 5.7 million yen. Min-iren points out that the provision of medical care for free or at low cost has limitations, and that public assistance is necessary for foreigners not entitled to be covered by the public healthcare insurance system.
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