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Experts call for better treatment of full-time doctors at immigration facilities in Japan

Minister of Justice Yoshihisa Furukawa, left, receives a report from Shigeki Sakamoto, professor emeritus at Kobe University, on strengthening the medical system at Japanese immigration detention facilities, in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2022. (Mainichi/Masakatsu Yamamoto)

TOKYO -- An expert panel set up by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan in response to the death of a Sri Lankan woman detained at an immigration facility compiled a report on Feb. 28, suggesting that the treatment of full-time doctors should be improved in order to build a proper medical system at detention facilities.

    In the case of the death of the Sri Lankan woman, Wishma Sandamali, at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau, the weak medical system at the facility was pointed out as an issue.

    The report noted that only two of the six major immigration facilities in Japan have been able to secure full-time doctors. It cited as reasons that salaries are lower than those at private medical institutions and that dual employment is strictly limited due to the status of national public servants.

    Then it suggested that, in order to establish a system that allows for regular medical care by full-time doctors at facilities and multifaceted care by multiple part-time doctors, the government should improve treatment of doctors by developing laws that allow for dual employment and consider raising the retirement age.

    The expert panel, chaired by Shigeki Sakamoto, professor emeritus of Kobe University, also mentioned cooperation with outside parties. They suggested that there should be opportunities for regular exchanges of opinions with local medical institutions, and that agreements should be concluded with them for outside consultations and nighttime and holiday services.

    (Japanese original by Masakatsu Yamamoto, Tokyo City News Department)

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