Japan withdraws immigration law revision bill after death of Sri Lankan
Tokyo, May 18 (EFE).- The Japanese government Tuesday withdrew its proposed amendment to the immigration law amid concerns for asylum seekers months after a Sri Lankan woman died at a detention center.
The ruling party said it intended to postpone any further debate on the draft bill until after the current session, public broadcaster NHK reported.”We have decided that we are not going to move forward with the debate” on the proposed review, Toshiro Nikai, the secretary-general of the ruling party, said.
The ruling party took the step after failing to reach a legislative agreement with the opposition on the draft bill.
The Sri Lankan woman, Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, 33, died on Mar.6 after complaining of stomach pain, nausea, and loss of appetite since January.
She allegedly did not receive any medical assistance during her detention. She arrived in the country in mid-2017. She had been in detention at an immigrant center in Nagoya prefecture since August 2020.
The authorities alleged that she lived in Japan without a valid visa when she sought police protection for domestic violence.
The Kyodo news agency, citing sources, said the immigration authorities claimed that Wishma pretended to be sick to obtain provisional release.
The woman had unsuccessfully pleaded with the authorities to release her.
The opposition parties cited her example opposing the controversial revision of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition during a recent parliament debate.
Critics of the amendment argue that the revision of the legal provisions upheld the detention of suspected offenders as a principle rather than an exception or last resort.
They said it facilitated deportations, which would violate the principle of non-refoulement of asylum seekers.
They have urged the government to clarify the circumstances surrounding Wishma’s death before completing the proposed review.
Immigration authorities have refused to release security footage of the detainee.
An internal investigation report published in April by the Immigration Services Agency indicated the cause of death as “undetermined.”
The authorities will publish the final report in July.
The family of the deceased has traveled to Japan to hold a funeral and is seeking answers. EFE