New section eyed to inspect immigration officials

The Immigration Services Agency will establish a new section in April to inspect and instruct agency officials in the wake of the death of a Sri Lankan woman at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in March.

According to agency sources, the section will check the work being done by officials and will issue instructions if impropriety is identified.

The agency released an investigation report in August in which it identified problems at the Nagoya bureau following the death of Wishma Sandamali, 33.

The report included 12 measures to prevent a recurrence of such an incident, including improvements to the medical care system and the establishment of an inspection section.

According to the sources, the agency will also set up an inquiry desk for family members and supporters of detainees to voice concerns. The desk will also handle whistleblowing complaints.

The inspection section will ascertain the facts based on information received at the inquiry desk and issue instructions if needed.

Inspections will be conducted regularly as well as on other occasions.

Of the 12 measures in the report, the agency has already implemented changes on four points, including increasing the number of part-time doctors at the Nagoya bureau from one to four and using interpreters at detention facilities across the nation if detainees have concerns about their health, among other occasions.

Early next year, the agency will compile a set of guidelines to allow more flexible decisions on the temporary release of detainees if their health deteriorates.

A panel of experts will formulate proposals on the medical care system within the current fiscal year.