Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies Colloquium Series 2022 Migration Lecture Series “How do Japanese immigration authorities exercise “Administrative discretion” over undocumented foreigners ? – the reality of detention facilities
Date and venue: J̶u̶n̶e̶ ̶1̶6̶ ̶(̶T̶h̶u̶r̶s̶d̶a̶y̶)̶,̶ ̶1̶7̶:̶0̶0̶-̶1̶8̶:̶3̶0̶ ̶J̶S̶T̶ ̶ POSTPONED, DATE TBD Speaker: Yugo Hirano (Journalist, Kyodo News Agency) Yugo Hirano is a journalist at Kyodo News Agency. He has been serving as the Director of the Jerusalem Bureau since August 2020 after working at the Maebashi, Kobe, Fukushima, and Sendai bureaus, the Cairo bureau, and the Foreign Affairs Department of the Special Press Office. He received the 2019 Peace and Cooperative Journalist Fund of Japan Encouragement Award for a series of reports revealing the actual situation of immigration detention centers. In 2020, he published his book 『ルポ入管 絶望の外国人収容施設 ちくま新書』[Reportage of Immigration: Despaired detention facilities]
Almost every year, we witness the deaths of foreign nationals in our immigration detention facilities in Japan, which are caused not only by diseases but also starvation after hunger strikes. Every time when these deaths are discovered, Japanese immigration authorities declares they would take care of detained people in order not to repeat such tragic events. However, there have been 17 cases of decreased foreign nationals in detention facilities since 2007. Thanks to a media campaign, many people got to know about the atrocious death of a young Sri Lankan, Wishma Sandamari at Nagoya detention center in 2021. In this talk, we will go back to the birth of Japanese immigration authorities after the Second World War historically and verify what happened and happens in detention facilities. We shall notice that the spirit of immigration authorities is unchanged over 70 years. Japanese immigration administration is characterized by its huge executive discretion, which allows them to detain undocumented foreign nationals indefinitely and without judicial review.
We will explore the experiences of witnesses who underwent being detained. These testimonies will help us to understand how unlimited detention hurts them even after their release mentally. We will discuss together about better immigration policies as more and more foreigners are coming to Japan.