Japan Upper House Panel OKs Immigration Law Revision

REUTERS File Photo
Japan’s National Diet Building

Tokyo, June 8 (Jiji Press)—The Judicial Affairs Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, approved on Thursday a bill to revise the immigration control and refugee recognition law.

The bill was passed by a majority vote, with support from the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito as well as Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) and the Democratic Party for the People in the opposition side.

The ruling bloc plans to put the bill to a vote at a plenary meeting for enactment Friday.

The bill calls for creating an exception to a provision that suspends all deportations during refugee application screening procedures. The exception would newly enable authorities to deport those seeking refugee status in Japan for their third time or more.

The current law sets no limit to the number of times foreign nationals can apply for refugee status. Some repeatedly file for the status to avoid deportation, causing Japan to detain foreigners at immigration facilities for a prolonged period.

The revision will introduce a supervisory system to allow refugee status seekers to live outside immigration facilities on condition that they are supervised by relatives or supporters.

Whether to allow detained foreigners to live outside facilities under the supervisory system will be considered every three months.

It also calls for a system to grant quasi-refugee status to people displaced by conflict who are not recognized as refugees under the U.N. Refugee Convention, so that they can live in Japan.

Under the system, the government would consider granting permanent resident status to such cases as evacuees from Ukraine and Syria.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan sought to block the bill, submitting a motion to dismiss Judicial Affairs Committee Chairman Hisatake Sugi of Komeito and a censure motion against Justice Minister Ken Saito to delay its passage.