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Hunger strike at immigration detention center

Last updated on March 13, 2011

(Global Immigration Counsel)

With allegation of abuse and poor living conditions at immigration detention centers in Japan, several detainees have begun a hunger strike in protest. Roughly 60 detainees housed at the East Japan Immigration Control Center located in Ushiku have been on a hunger strike in protest of poor conditions at the facility. The Japan Times online has stated that a spokesman for the detention center says that about 30 detainees, not 60 have refused meals since Monday. Many of the detainees claim to be political refugees and can not return to their home countries out of fear of persecution. Participants of the hunger strike are believed to be from Sri Lanka, China, Uganda, Pakistan and Brazil and Turkey. Mitsuru Miyasako of “Bond” an organization that offers support for foreign workers in Japan was quoted by The Japan Times Online as saying “The living conditions at immigration detention centers are really bad. We have been asking for improvement, but nothing has happened.” One complaint by detainees is that there is apparently only one doctor that works four days a week and it is difficult to get approval for outside treatment at a local hospitals. In addition, bail currently ranges from ¥500,000 to ¥800,000 and detainees apparently are demanding that bail should not exceed ¥200,000.

In March of this year 70 detainees at the West Japan Immigration Control Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture ended their 11 day hunger strike on Sunday March 21, 2010 in order to negotiate living conditions with officials at that facility. Back in January 2008, a detainee from India was found dead at the West facility after allegedly committing suicide and according to The Japan Times Online, an investigation by the Kyodo news agency determined that at least 23 detainees attempted suicide from 2000 to 2004. In June of 2004 a group of 25 Vietnamese detainees also from the West Japan Immigration Center staged a hunger strike stating that they had been detained for an unreasonable length of time. We welcome your thoughts and comments on this topic.

Related Black Tokyo post
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Hunger strike at immigration center (2010)
Immigration detainees end hunger strike (2010)
Detainees stage hunger strike (2004)

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