The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau has ordered airlines not to enlist security companies to collect money from passengers awaiting deportation to cover the costs incurred during their detention, bureau officials said Monday.
The instruction follows a complaint by two Tunisians that a security company contracted by an airline extorted money from them after they were refused entry to Japan at Narita airport in June.
The bureau has issued similar orders in the past, telling airlines to collect the fees themselves. But some airlines still enlist security companies to collect the payments covering food and other costs incurred by foreigners while they await deportation, according to bureau officials.
“We have decided to caution (the airlines) again following the recent incident,” an official said.
Foreigners can be denied entry at Japanese airports if immigration authorities suspect they will violate the conditions of their visas or they are found to have been recently deported from Japan. Airlines that bring foreigners denied entry into Japan are then obliged to return them to their home countries.
The visitors are often detained at immigration facilities while awaiting deportation. Costs incurred during detention are shouldered by the airlines, according to the arrangement.
The Tunisians, Thameur Mouez, 21, and Thameur Hichem, 20, claim that three guards working for the I’M Co. security company, based in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, extorted $600 from them, claiming the money was to cover the cost of their detention.
They also said the guards physically abused them when they were transported to an immigration facility after being denied entry at Narita airport June 20. The two men said they arrived on a Turkish Airlines flight and intended to go sightseeing.
Lawyers representing the Tunisians filed a criminal complaint earlier this month with the Chiba District Public Prosecutor’s Office against the guards and the president of the security company.
The company earlier said it has refunded the money to avoid further trouble.
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