Japan may be trying to crack down on foreigners who don’t have a visa, but some embassies aren’t all that cooperative when it comes to deportation procedures.
According to government officials, some of the embassies occasionally refuse to issue the necessary documents, including passports.
The process begins when people without visas are taken into custody by immigration officers or when they show up voluntarily at an immigration office.
The procedure won’t be completed, however, unless they consent to return home, have purchased a ticket, and have obtained a legitimate passport and permission from their home country to return.
When an immigration office successfully secures these three requirements, deportation can take place within two or three days.
People refusing to be deported can file a petition with the Justice Ministry to suspend the procedure. This may delay deportation by several weeks, but it is rare that a deportation order is ultimately reversed, according to the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau.
If they refuse to purchase an air ticket to go home, immigration officers can only “persuade” them into doing so. If they are found to have no money, the immigration bureau may buy tickets for them, but this happens fewer than 100 times a year, a senior immigration official said.
Some embassies fail to cooperate in the deportation procedure by occasionally refusing to renew or issue passports for their nationals or grant them re-entry permits.
In addition to the case of Myanmar, a handful of other embassies often refuse to promptly issue passports to their nationals who have been targeted by immigration authorities for deportation.
For instance, Iran does not issue passports to its nationals when they are not willing to return to their country.
Officials at the Iranian Embassy say that Iranian laws prohibit them from issuing passports unless the applications have been filed by the Iranians themselves.
Three African countries, meanwhile, have inconsistent and secretive policies on issuing public documents, such as charging some applicants much higher commissions for issuing passports than they charge others, the Japanese immigration official said.
“We should not condone these countries’ policies, as it would give people overstaying their visas the impression that it benefits them to refuse to leave,” the official said.
“This may be the time to bring this issue to the diplomatic table,” he said.
In its efforts to reduce the number of foreigners without legitimate visas, the Immigration Bureau deported 41,935 people last year.