In a move lawyers and activists denounced as "inhumane," Japan deported 26 Sri Lankans and six Vietnamese on Thursday, including a "sizable" number of denied applicants.

It was the third round of mass deportations conducted using a specially chartered plane, the Justice Ministry and a support group said Friday.

It is believed to be the first time the government has deported asylum seekers and visa overstayers using the same flight, the immigrants' lobby group Provisional Release Association in Japan (PRAJ) said.