• Kyodo News

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About 20 foreign workers and their supporters staged a sit-in Tuesday in front of the Diet to demand that bills to revise the immigration law be scrapped.

The bills, now before the Lower House Judicial Affairs Committee, would put a greater burden on foreign workers and violate their rights, participants at the sit-in argued.

“The government says the immigration law revision would make administrative procedures more convenient for foreigners living in Japan legally, but the realities would be vice versa,” Catherine Campbell said in Japanese.

Campbell, a 43-year-old English teacher from Canada who has been living in Japan for 15 years, said the revision would require non-Japanese workers to report to an immigration office every time they renew their job contracts or change their address, putting an extra burden on them.

Foreign workers currently report those changes to their local municipal government offices. But that practice would end because all administrative work concerning foreigners would be undertaken by the central government.

The revision would impose a fine of up to ¥200,000 on people who fail to notify the government of a change in address within 14 days, and their residency status could be revoked if they fail to report the change within 90 days.

Kunio Ozwaldo Hiramoto, 46, a second-generation Japanese-Brazilian from Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, said the purpose of the revision is to increase control over foreign workers. “I want the Japanese government to stop xenophobia and treat foreigners warmly,” he said.

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