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NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Nagoya District Court on Thursday nullified a deportation order for a 35-year-old Myanmarese man who said he would face persecution if sent home because he had taken part in prodemocracy activities.

In addition to rejecting the order by Nagoya immigration authorities, the court, presided over by Judge Yukio Kato, also nullified the justice minister’s decision that there had been no reason for the plaintiff, Than Lwin Tun, to object to the immigration order.

The judge said that even if the military junta in Myanmar was unaware of the plaintiff’s activities in Japan at the moment, it was “highly likely” that authorities would follow his activities if he returns from a democratic country such as Japan.

“If the military junta, which is becoming increasingly isolated internationally, discovers that the plaintiff took part in the movement, he may be unjustly apprehended or tortured,” the judge said, adding that the man qualifies as a refugee under relevant international conventions.

“The decision (by the justice minister) has a serious and clear illegality, and is invalid,” Kato added.

The plaintiff entered Japan illegally in 1997 while a crewman aboard a Singapore-flagged ship calling at Nagoya.

He joined a Japan-based organization working to democratize Myanmar and took part in demonstrations.

Nagoya immigration authorities and Aichi Prefectural Police found him in violation of immigration law in 2004. In August 2004, the Justice Ministry rejected his objection as being groundless, and immigration officials issued a deportation order.