Protests held across Japan against proposed changes to immigration law
OSAKA -- Protests against the proposed amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, which the Japanese government intends to submit to the current Diet session, were held in nine locations across the country, including Tokyo and Nagoya, on Feb. 23.
In Osaka, about 150 people participated in a march through the city center, carrying banners and placards with some slogans reading, "We oppose immigration law change for the worse."
The event was organized by the citizens' group "Alliance against ethnic Discrimination and Human-rights Violation by Immigration Service Agency of Japan." The proposed revision to the law would place restrictions on the current rule that foreign nationals staying in Japan illegally cannot be deported while applying for refugee status in order to solve the problem of foreigners being detained at immigration facilities for long periods of time. In principle, applications will be limited to two times, and a new system will be established to impose criminal penalties on those who obstruct repatriation by behaving violently during deportation.
Participants in the demonstration walked from Nakanoshima Park to Nishiumeda Park, both in Osaka's Kita Ward, while calling for "residence status for refugee status applicants who cannot return to their home countries due to circumstances beyond their control and for those who are temporarily released from detention."
Yuki Kusanagi, 21, a third-year university student who participated in the protest, said, "We should accept them, not exclude them."
The previous bill submitted to the Diet in 2021 was scrapped after growing criticism against Japanese immigration authorities following the March 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman, while being held at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau.
(Japanese original by Rei Kubo, Osaka Photo Department)