Visa overstayers march for right to remain in Japan


Staff Writer

Visa overstayers facing deportation orders marched through Tokyo’s Ginza district on Wednesday afternoon, pleading for permission to remain in a country that many have called home for decades.

Organized by nonprofit organization Asian People’s Friendship Society (APFS), the parade featured about 70 of visa overstayers from countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran, as well as their families and supporters.

“We’re deeply sorry that we broke Japan’s rules,” said one participant, a 45-year-old Filipino mother of two boys. “But for the sake of the future of our children, we beg the Japanese government to let us stay in Japan.”

After losing lawsuits against the government, she and her Filipino husband were told by immigration authorities this year that only their elder son, now aged 18, can remain in Japan. She, her husband and their other son were told to leave.

Like her, many visa overstayers today are those who came to work in Japan in the late 1980s and early ’90s to meet a labor shortage amid the asset-inflated bubble economy, said APFS representative Jotaro Kato. Hungry for labor, the country welcomed them in and turned a blind eye to their presence long after their initial tourist visas expired, he added.

Once demand for their labor subsided, however, authorities began to crack down on overstayers, describing them as criminals engaged in shady businesses or criminal activity such as drug trafficking, Kato said.

As of Jan. 1, the Justice Ministry said there were 60,007 overstayers in the country, about a fifth of the peak level seen in 1993.

“Some people may think those people broke the rules, so they deserve to be sent back to their home countries,” Kato said.

“But it’s not that simple. Their situation was often caused by some forces beyond their control such as labor policies by the government,” he said.

It’s unjust that the foreigners should be repatriated — not to mention separated from their own children — at the whim of the government, Kato said.

Article 9 of the U.N.-designated Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Japan has ratified, states that “a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will.”

  • AsianReaper

    UN charters are not worth toilet paper . In fact the UN isn’t much use at all. They broke japanese law regardless of the circumstances and should be sent home , after that they can apply to return , simple ,

    • Jim Jimson

      It’s an obvious waste of resources for the government to employ scores of workers to engage in mass ethnicity-based exile. There’s room enough for everyone in Japan.

      Immigration law is made to create a precarious and disposable labor force, without regard for the human consequences. It’s a morally abhorrent institution which no one should support.

    • jake Harods

      This response is not a common sense approach. Your country is dying on its feet due to ageing population etc and you are playing fast and loose with manna from heaven as opposed to grasping it and being thankful.

      Rigidity is self defeating

      • AsianReaper

        The simple fact is a law is broken and those who broke it need to be sent home . Once Japan sees that they actually need workers and not just in low service based position maybe they will change until then laws need to be enforced .

      • jake Harods

        That they broke the law is not in dispute. You may not be aware of the principle of compassionate grounds. The law is unable to capture all scenarios due to the obvious reason. This is when compassionate grounds comes into it.

        I hope you are not arguing that the Japanese lawmakers are automatons and are without feelings.

  • FootysDick Vermeil

    ship the punks back with the ‘rents…. case closed!

    a bigger question is why do they let muzzies into the country….

  • R. Vandaka

    It is sad, but should have seen it coming. Japan are not in the wrong for sending those who overstayed their visas.
    They should’ve plan to either apply for permanent residency or citizenship. Are those options not available? Why didnt they choose those options? What stopping them?

  • Tryan Blockme

    Well, that’s the problem all over the world. Nobody wants to live in a stinky country.

  • Steven Alexander

    The police blocked off a route for them to march. That route leads to a bus to take them to detention to await deportation. The protesters saved them time, effort and money looking for them.

  • Joshua Cuyos

    ““But it’s not that simple. Their situation was often caused by some forces beyond their control such as labor policies by the government,” he said.” – How about demanding, as in DEMAND, our government to open up our economy before these no-good overstayers can taint Japan with their Failipino ways? That’s right, don’t give in to these palamunins…..