OSAKA -- Some 150 people participated in a demonstration in the city of Osaka on May 5 to protest the proposed revision of the Japanese immigration law, marching with signs containing messages such as, "Don't make the immigration law worse."
The draft revision to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, currently in Diet proceedings, would bring about strict measures to deport foreign nationals without residency status in Japan. March participants included lawyers, supporters and asylum seekers, as they walked in silence as part of measures to prevent coronavirus infections.
The demonstration was organized by the Osaka Bar Association's lawyers who deal with immigration issues and others. They marched some 1.5 kilometers from Nakanoshima Park to Nishiumeda Park, both in Osaka's Kita Ward, for about 30 minutes.
In the draft revision, a condition has been added to the stipulation that foreign nationals seeking refugee status recognition cannot be deported while their cases are still being processed. The number of times they can apply for refugee status would effectively be limited to twice. If they apply more than that they would be subject to forcible deportation.
Among the demonstrators was a 36-year-old man who is applying for refugee status after fleeing from Uganda in east Africa, where the same regime has ruled the country for more than 30 years. He has been on "temporary release," which allows asylum seekers to temporarily live outside detention facilities, for 12 years. He had apparently been involved in activities to protest the long-time rule of the government, and appealed: "My life will be threatened if I'm deported. I'll be killed. I want to stay in Japan."
(Japanese original by Koichi Ogino, Osaka City News Department)