National

Thai girl can stay three more months

The Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau said Thursday it has renewed the short-term resident status of a 13-year-old Thai girl living in Japan with her family, allowing her to stay three more months.

The extension, approved Wednesday, is expected to give immigration authorities time to consider whether to change the legal status of Mevisa Yoshida, a junior high school student in Tokyo who has been living in Japan with her Thai grandmother and the grandmother’s Japanese husband since February 2003.

Mevisa and her supporters had asked the immigration bureau to grant her long-term resident status in October and again in February, but the bureau rejected the applications.

Mevisa, a first-year student at Ogu Hachiman Junior High in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward, is likely to be granted long-term resident status; Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa indicated Tuesday that he would grant such status out of humanitarian consideration.

Her current resident status falls under that for “designated activities,” which allows people to stay in Japan for a specific reason and is based on grounds that the person will leave the country.

The long-term resident status is renewable every one or three years.

Mevisa came to Japan to live with her grandmother after her mother died of an illness in Thailand in 2002.

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