Japan’s Diet OKs Immigration Law Revision

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The bereaved family of Sri Lankan detainee Wishma Sandamali and others speaks, after the Diet enacted a bill Friday to revise the immigration control and refugee recognition law, in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Friday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet, Japan’s parliament, enacted a bill Friday to revise the immigration control and refugee recognition law to enable authorities to deport under certain conditions foreign nationals seeking refugee status in Japan.

The bill was approved at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, by a majority vote with support from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner, Komeito, and opposition forces Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) and the Democratic Party for the People.

The revised law will create an exception to a rule that suspends the deportation of illegal stayers whose applications for refugee status are being processed.

The exception will allow the deportation of such foreigners if they have applied for refugee status three or more times and if they cannot give a proper reason why they should be recognized as refugees.

The current law has no limit to the number of times foreign nationals can apply for refugee status. The government considers it problematic that some applicants repeatedly file for the status to avoid deportation.

The revised law will introduce a supervisory system to allow refugee status seekers to live outside immigration facilities before being deported, 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.