The government chartered a plane to deport 70 Filipinos on Saturday who overstayed their visas, allowing it to avoid the huge expense of deporting them individually, sources said.
The Filipinos, who had been held at detention facilities run by the Immigration Bureau, were flown to Manila, the sources said.
According to the Immigration Bureau, Japan used to issue written deportation orders requiring people living here illegally to return home at their own expense by air or sea. The travel expenses of those who refused were footed by the government and included the cost of an immigration official escort.
In some cases, deportees behaved so violently that airlines refused to board them.
The ministry thus decided it would be cheaper and cause less inconvenience to the public to charter aircraft to deport foreigners en masse instead of individually, the sources said.
The ministry has set aside ¥30 million for the tactic, which has also been used in Europe, in the fiscal 2013 budget, they added.
According to the bureau, there were 62,000 people living in Japan illegally as of January and 5,700 were Filipinos.