Annual Report: Japan 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Japan 2011

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  • In November, the first death sentence was handed down under the saiban-in (lay judge) system at the Yokohama District Court for murder.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

Claims for refugee status continued to be subject to lengthy delays, with some claims taking up to a decade to be finalized. Asylum decisions remained beyond the purview of judicial or other independent review. As of December an estimated 1,000 individuals had filed asylum claims and approximately 30 individuals were granted refugee status. Under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, irregular migrants and asylum-seekers, including children, were detained for indefinite periods without recourse to independent review of the necessity of their detention. Japan became the first Asian state to resettle refugees processed outside the country, accepting 27 refugees from Myanmar who had been processed in Thailand.

  • In March, Ghanaian national Abubakar Awudu Suraj died while being escorted by Japanese immigration officers onto a plane for deportation. The investigation was completed but no arrests were made by the end of the year.
  • Two detainees at the East Japan Immigration Centre committed suicide. Detainees at the West Japan and East Japan Immigration Centres went on hunger strike in February and May respectively, demanding that those detained for long periods, minors and sick people be released from detention and that detention conditions, including access to medical treatment, be improved.