National / Crime & Legal

Kurdish man sues Japanese government over being left untreated for cancer while detained

Kyodo

A 26-year-old Kurdish man sued the government Tuesday, claiming he was left untreated for cancer while in a detention center northeast of Tokyo.

The man is seeking about ¥8 million in damages in a lawsuit, in which he claims the East Japan Immigration Control Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, did not let him see a doctor outside the facility despite constant pain in his lower abdomen.

After being granted provisional release in September, he found out he had testicular cancer and underwent an operation later that month.

“I complained about the pain several times every day, but they did not respond to my protests,” the man said in Tokyo during a news conference after filing the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court.

The suit alleges that the man was seen by a doctor at the center after complaining of a stomachache in May this year. The doctor said he needed to be seen by another doctor outside the detention center due to an unidentified disease, but the man says the center took no further action. In a desperate bid he began a hunger strike in August, and was granted provisional release Sept. 5.

The man came to Japan in 2012 and had been detained at the center since 2016. As a Turkish national, he is seeking refugee status due to concern he may be persecuted if he were to return home.

The Immigration Services Agency said that it would examine the case and respond appropriately after the complaint is received.