OMURA, Nagasaki -- A Vietnamese man denied treatment for a thyroid tumor while being held at an immigration center here demanded at a March 15 press conference that the center "treat detainees as human beings."
Nguyen Van Hung, 50, who was released from the Omura Immigration Center earlier the same day after over six years in detention, met reporters in the city of Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, along with his supporters.
The Vietnamese national came to Japan in 1989 and was granted refugee status in 1992. After marrying, he held several jobs including in the transport business in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, he struggled to make ends meet, and was arrested for an organized group theft of food, and served three years and four months in prison. He was detained at the Osaka immigration center in July 2016 and was transferred to the Omura Immigration Center in December that year.
A year later, a tumor was found in his thyroid gland. He sought medical care, but the Omura Immigration Center siad that he was "too young to require treatment," according to his supporters. The tumor has now grown to around 4 centimeters, and he says he feels pain when he eats or drinks.
At the press conference, the 50-year-old told the press, "There must not be any more deaths among (immigration center) detainees. I want employees at the center to treat detainees as human beings." He is set to get treatment at a hospital in Japan.
In a separate case, a Nepalese man detained at the Omura Immigration Center has filed a damages suit against the Japanese government, claiming that he developed trouble walking after his condition was exacerbated by lack of access to proper treatment. The case is currently before the court.
(Japanese original by Keiichi Sugiyama, Isahaya Resident Bureau)