Edano refuses vote on immigration law revisions

NHK -- May 11
The leader of Japan's main opposition party says his party won't vote on a draft revision of the immigration law unless officials establish the facts about how a Sri Lankan woman died in their custody.

Constitutional Democratic Party leader Edano Yukio referred to the issue at a Lower House committee on Monday. The woman in question was in her 30s, and had overstayed her visa. She died in March at an immigration detention facility in Nagoya, central Japan. Her family is calling for details surrounding her death.

The Immigration Services Agency said in an interim report that she had been diagnosed as possibly suffering reflux esophagitis and mental illness, and received medication.

Edano said that fatal cases occur at immigration facilities about once in every five or ten years, but no details have ever been released.

He added his party refuses to advance deliberations on the draft or put it to a vote because the Justice Ministry has failed to give a full accounting for the woman's death.

The government drafted the revision in response to the rising number of foreigners in long-term detention at immigration facilities for overstaying and other violations who refuse to be sent home.

The draft would allow deportees who refused to leave Japan to stay with family members or supporters if they meet certain conditions.

The proposed revision would also enable authorities to deport those who have applied for refugee status three times even if their applications are still being processed. - NHK