Bill to revise immigration law in Japan | Sunday Observer
Amid death of Sri Lankan woman:

Bill to revise immigration law in Japan

14 May, 2021

The Japanese Parliament will debate a controversial Bill to revise the immigration law that is feared will worsen conditions for asylum seekers in Japan amid the death of a Sri Lankan woman detained at a Japan central immigration facility.

Thirty-three-year-old Sri Lankan, Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, who had been detained since August last year at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Aichi Prefecture for overstaying her visa, died on March 6 after complaining of a stomach ache and other symptoms from mid-January. According to Japan Today newspaper the ruling parties aim to pass the Bill during the current Diet session through mid-June to resolve the long-term detention of foreign nationals facing deportation orders. But Opposition parties have called for its abolishment as the Government has yet to figure out the circumstances surrounding the Sri Lankan’s death.

The Justice Ministry of Japan, in an interim report over the incident released on April 9, had not determined the cause of her death, while her supporters allege the tragedy was caused by the insufficient medical treatment provided by the immigration facility.

The Japan Today report said Opposition lawmakers have argued the Bill currently being deliberated at the Diet is meant to expand the immigration authority’s power and discretion and that similar problems could happen again as long as the cause of the Sri Lankan woman’s death remains a mystery.

The legislation, which came amid growing criticism that indefinite detention is a human rights violation, permits asylum seekers to be released and protects those who do not qualify for refugee status under the country’s strict standards. Japan only accepts around one percent of refugee applications. The supporters of refugees, however, argue the Bill does not do enough to protect asylum seekers as it limits the number of times the deportation procedure can be halted while applying for refugee status to two.

- Japan Today