Govt ordered to pay damages over death of detained Cameroon man

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture

MITO, Ibaraki (Jiji Press)—A district court Friday ordered the government to pay ¥1.65 million in damages over the death of a Cameroonian man detained at an immigration center in Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo in 2014.

In the lawsuit filed with the Mito District Court, the mother of the Cameroonian man demanded that the government pay ¥10 million, claiming that her son died as a result of the immigration center’s failure to provide proper medical care.

According to the complaint, the man, then 43, arrived at Narita Airport near Tokyo in October 2013, but was not allowed to enter Japan. After he refused to follow a deportation order, he was detained at the Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ushiku in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The man, who had a chronic disease, repeatedly complained of being in poor health at the center, where he was detained from November 2013.

On March 30, 2014, a staff worker at the center noticed a change in the Cameroonian man’s condition and made an emergency call, but he was confirmed dead shortly afterwards.

The defense side claimed that workers at the center failed to report his heath condition to a doctor or request his transfer to hospital despite his bad health.

His death could have been avoided if he had been able to receive the medical care needed, his lawyers said.

The state side claimed that it was difficult for workers at the center who were not medical personnel to determine the need for emergency transportation, but there was nothing wrong in the way they treated the man.

In March last year, a Sri Lankan woman, then 33, died at a detention facility of the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Aichi Prefecture.

The bereaved family has filed a lawsuit with the Nagoya District Court, demanding a total of ¥156 million in damages from the government.