Government uses charter plane to forcibly repatriate 43 foreign nationals

by

Staff Writer

The government on Monday forcibly deported 32 Thais, 10 Vietnamese and an Afghan — some of whom were asylum seekers — who were alleged to have illegally stayed in Japan, the Ministry of Justice said Tuesday.

A total of 43 people who had “ignored deportation orders” were repatriated the day before on a specially chartered plane from Tokyo International Airport, an immigration official from the Justice Ministry announced.

The mass deportation comprised 25 males, 16 females and two children under the age of 20. One of the deported was over 61 years of age. The official said many were working in Japan.

The government’s move Monday marked the sixth time illegal immigrants from various parts of the world have been deported by use of a chartered plane. Previous charted planes have carried Filipinos, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis back to their home countries..

Mitsuru Miyasako, director of the immigrants’ lobby group Provisional Release Association in Japan (PRAJ), said during a news conference at the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday, that the government move possibly violated the human rights of some of those sent back to their countries of origin.

Miyasako shared the history of several of the people who were deported, including that of a Thai national who was repatriated, forcing him to leave behind his wife and child. He said that the wife is also a Thai national who has permanent residency status. Their child has Japanese nationality.

“The Immigration (department) might think they should all live in Thailand, since the couple are both Thai. However, since the child, who has Japanese nationality, is attending elementary school here, it’s impossible for the mother to move back to Thailand,” said Miyasako.

Another example outlined by PRAJ was that of a Thai man in his 50s who was sent home even though he had lived in Japan for over 25 years, almost half of his life.

“It’s like exiling a person who has lived in Japanese society for a long time,” said Jun Nagano, another PRAJ member.