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Osaka immigration facility locked 17 detainees in room for six ‘to keep order’

JIJI, Kyodo

The Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau locked 17 foreign detainees in a room for six people for about 24 hours after they acted aggressively, officials said Monday.

The measure was taken in June at an immigration facility in Osaka “to keep order” after their belligerent acts, including jeering, an official said, describing the measure as “appropriate.”

No one was hurt, according to the officials.

On June 17, the detainees were gathered in the room during their morning free time and were discussing their frustrations over their long detentions and inadequate medical services, according to one of the detainees.

But after the free time ended at 11:30 a.m. and they were told to go back to their own rooms, they refused to leave the six-person room. Then, around noon, the bureau locked the room after the detainees used abusive language and acted aggressively, banging on the door and windows, officials said.

The room was unlocked in the afternoon the next day, after the detainees calmed down, they said.

Ikuya Nakao, a lawyer specializing in immigration issues, said it is questionable whether the officials needed to lock up the 17 people for such a long time, even if they do have some discretion over how to handle such situations. “It is suspected that they may have gone overboard” in the lockup incident.

The room has a television, beds and a toilet. The bureau did not disclose the size of the room for security reasons, but according to a Nigerian man who was in the room, the room seemed to be about 20 square meters.