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Locked up in Japan

KirinMan

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It is more difficult for people from richer countries to understand the visa situation of foreigners from the poorer countries. For americans or europeans visa denial would be unlikely and even if they dont get visa, they can easily go back and have a happy life.

But for Iranians or Philippinos, it is a matter of life and death. The lady wasnt lazy about not getting a visa. She knew she would be rejected.

The lady here wanted to live a happy life with her child in Japan. What could she do back home in the Philippines? She may just become homeless along with her little daughter.

Of course, anyone is free to say that she should not have broken the law, and whether she lives in poverty or not is of no interest to the Japanese society.

But I think for me, the humanitarian importance of one family's happiness overcomes the need to follow legal rules in this case. She has a job, a daughter, and a happy life here. I think she should have had the opportunity to present her case. Japan is overly protective anyway. I would say the happiness of one family, without any detriment to the Japanese society, is worth breaking a visa law or three.

Are you familiar with the case? From the comments you made here you come across as if you know her, could you provide an update?

There is too much information missing here.

Like Mike wrote I too can have pity for her, but I am not in a position to show her mercy. Also I have a problem with people telling me they are living in so much poverty but can afford a round trip airline ticket from the Phillipines to Japan. That doesn't make too much sense there.
 

Pope

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My friend, a filipino citizen, got arrested about 3 weeks ago. Her crime: overstay without a valid visa. She has a job, a home, a daughter living with her and no criminal precedents. And now ?
She is detained at a police station facing criminal charges. Visits are allowed only 3 times a week, 15 miuntes each time. Communication only in Japanese. She is moved around handcuffed. A glass in between her and the visitors, one policewoman listening and watching. No visits on the weekend. She stays in a tatami room with 2 other inmates, no window, no daylight, the same crappy obento every day. She lost 4 kilos already. 2 sets of underwear are allowed, limited chances to wash them. A shower every 3rd day. No medical support given. No clear indications about the length of detention and the process. If lucky, she will be passed over to immigration, stay another 4-6 weeks and then be deported. Otherwise she will face criminal charges.
All this in one of the most advanced countries. Humanity is obviously not part of this system. You break the rules and your're out.
The irony of all this: whenever there is a razzia in the entertainment industry, the shop owners are warned on time. They do not only know the day of the intended police control, but even the time. The connection police-yakuza works perfectly for the big crimes. Not so for the small things with individual fates involved - at least not with a minimum of humanity.

Overstay visa rules depends on which country you are from. An British, American, or a Canadian will not be locked up. A filipino in Japan will be treated like a second or third world citizen.
 

KirinMan

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Overstay visa rules depends on which country you are from. An British, American, or a Canadian will not be locked up. A filipino in Japan will be treated like a second or third world citizen.

I dont know if that is true or not but I have not heard of any Brit's, Canadian's or American's that willing or knowingly overstay their visa's. Other's here may know more about that issue though and I would be interested to hear about it.

The sheer number of people overstaying their visa's seem to be coming from 3world countries, if the stories that are on TV are even 50% accurate.

I also doubt that anyone held for deportation proceedings would be treated any different than a Japanese person held in detention, as other posters here have already commented about.

The Consulate services of England, Canada and the US may provide better information services to it's citizens held in dentention as well.

While I will admit there are many sensitive issues between the Phillipine Gov. and the Japanese Gov. that also affects it citizens living here, people held for deportation processing seem to be treated pretty much the same.

Just ask Bobby Fischer.
 

sanji

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I do know one person from England who overstayed his visa for a couple of days. But he turned himself to the authorities. Still, he was kept in custody for a couple of hours, and the only thing that got him out was the fact that he had Japanese children. And, as I said, turned himself.

I do believe the law is the same for everyone...

sanji
 

Mikawa Ossan

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Overstay visa rules depends on which country you are from. An British, American, or a Canadian will not be locked up. A filipino in Japan will be treated like a second or third world citizen.
Japan is far too egalitarian in the application of its laws for this to be true. Many people at this forum are predisposed to believe this statement, but everything I have experienced here in Japan tells me it is not true.
 

KirinMan

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Japan is far too egalitarian in the application of its laws for this to be true. Many people at this forum are predisposed to believe this statement, but everything I have experienced here in Japan tells me it is not true.

I agree with you and I often ask myself where this "belief" that it is otherwise comes from.
 

junjunforever

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The reason why developing world country's people overstay, is because visa extension are much harder to get for developing countries, not because they are lazy. There is no need for Americans or British citizens to overstay, because it is much easier for them to get a visa if they have a stable job.
I am generalizing, but i am sure there are thousands of foreigners from developing countries trying to make a living in Japan. For many, there is no future back home, making about $5 a day. In such case, I can only but sympathize with such people. A japanese government may not care, but as a human being, I feel sorry for the lady and the child.
Japanese government has all the right to reject or accept foreigners. However, just because she broke the law, doesnt mean she is a criminal, and they should treat her as a person.
The first post says "Communication only in Japanese. She is moved around handcuffed. No medical support given. No clear indications about the length of detention and the process."
I think this is going too far. A person should be handled this way because they have overstayed.

But lastly, it is true that British and Philippino citizens are treated differently in many aspects of life in Japan. Although I must add that racism in Japan is very low compared to other nations.
 

KirinMan

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However, just because she broke the law, doesnt mean she is a criminal, and they should treat her as a person.

I understand what you are trying to say but don't you see the contradiction here? A crimminal is someone who broke the law, whether it be a white collar crime or an overstay on a visa. She was being treated just as any other person being detained in Japan.

Why is it necessary for Japan, or for that matter any country, to provide translators for prisoner's in jail? Does the Phillipines provide Japanese translators for Japanese people detained there? Let's not just talk about the Phillipines how about people who speak Farsi for the Iranian's that have been detained for the same violations? Do they deserve special treatment because they dont speak Japanese? Where do you draw the line on English speaking people only? I'm sorry but I can not agree with you on this point.

Other people here have articulated the point very well that Japanese get treated the same way in detention, so there are no special favors for detainee's. She is or was being treated as a person, the same as everyone else. So she was handcuffed, that is the way all detainee's are treated in detention here, why should she expect or get special treatment, just because she is female? Is there a problem with that?

Whatever the situation is back home should not matter here. Many come here it seems under false pretenses as it is, and from the sound of it just because of the situation they face at home however desperate as it may be, should "blame" the Japanese government for enforcing it's own laws?!

I am sorry I don't follow the logic here.

But lastly, it is true that British and Philippino citizens are treated differently in many aspects of life in Japan. Although I must add that racism in Japan is very low compared to other nations.

I agree that is probably true, however many of the people that come here from the Phillipines, come to work in the "so-called" entertainment industry, which is known to all by numerous "other" names. I haven't heard of too many British citizens that work in that industry, have you? Of course there are many that are here for legitimate work as well.

I am not so blind as to think that there isn't a double standard or that people from different nations face different obstacles here in Japan. Yet in this case, like it or not, she broke the law, and there is nothing that can change that. How the government chooses to prosecute it's laws however is a different story.

There is also the problem that the two countries have left over from WWII, that still have lingering effects in the diplomacy between the two nations. I have a very hard time understanding why, particularly for people from the Phillipines, they would want to come to Japan in the first place, to a country that the Fillipino people hated so much after the devestation of WWII.
 

junjunforever

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You make some great points Obeika.

I guess what wanted to say should should be under "civil" penalty rather than a "criminal" penalty (although i honestly dont know if they make that difference in Japan). For instance, jay-walking is not a "crime" because it doesnt hurt the society.

Also, i am not advocating that foreigners should be treated differently if they cannot speak English. However, I think the government should put reasonable effort in helping the detained people communicate. That does not mean the government should hire Farsi speaking translators, but that does mean the government should hire english speaking translators because English is a global language and cost-benefit analysis will likely be on the positive.

They said she was in the jail for 3 weeks without medical care and probably no access to lawyers, since she wasnt allowed to communicate in English. Of course the government is free to do as it will, but do you think the government should actually take away medical care and put her in jail for three weeks? Non-Japanese or criminal, this should not be the case.

Lastly, although most of your post was well argued, I think your last sentence deserve criticism. It is not fair to criticize Philippinos for coming to Japan for political reasons. When I was doing sales over Japanese restaurants, one Japanese salesman I was training asks me "how come so many non-Japanese set up Japanese restaurants? They should just set-up their own and leave Japanese restaurant for the Japanese."

Althoug the relation maybe a little bit hard to make, I think only a heavy right-wing person would make such a comment. Then should Japanese be disallowed to set up hamberger shops? Should white people be criticized for serving tacos? We live in a global world where race and generalization should not matter. Just as nobody should criticize Sony or Matsushita for trying to make money in China or Korea, the two countries Japan rather dislikes, I dont think past politics should play any role in determining whether a Phillipino lady has a right to live in Japan.
 

KirinMan

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They said she was in the jail for 3 weeks without medical care and probably no access to lawyers, since she wasnt allowed to communicate in English. Of course the government is free to do as it will, but do you think the government should actually take away medical care and put her in jail for three weeks? Non-Japanese or criminal, this should not be the case.

You know this part of the OP bothered me a bit too. I am curious what medical care did or does she need. If she had a cold, ok then I can understand no medical care. Yet anyone and everyone in a detention here has access to medical care if necessary. I question why that was included, does she have a medical condition that warrants medical care?

Like I have written before there are just too many unanswered questions here.

Lastly, although most of your post was well argued, I think your last sentence deserve criticism. It is not fair to criticize Philippinos for coming to Japan for political reasons. When I was doing sales over Japanese restaurants, one Japanese salesman I was training asks me "how come so many non-Japanese set up Japanese restaurants? They should just set-up their own and leave Japanese restaurant for the Japanese."
Althoug the relation maybe a little bit hard to make, I think only a heavy right-wing person would make such a comment.

Unfortunately it is a political issue as well. There are unsettled issues between the governments throughout the region and that includes the Phillipines as well. Because relations between the countries is not that great it is not that hard to understand why people from there may get treated differently by the general Japanese public, not just the government.
The comment could very well have been made by a right winger, then again it could have been an average person as well. This kind of "comment" is often heard by many "foreigners" in many different situations here in Japan. Not the most politically correct statement to make, and not justifying it in any way, but I can understand it coming from someone who is from an ethnocentric society. Oh at least thinks they are.

I'll bet it was said out of ignorance, and nothing else. I have heard worse. You ever get told in front of your child that the only reason there is a so-called Amer-Asian problem in Japan is because you had to come here and make the kid? Among a few other choice comments, and this came from an elected city official. However that is another story.

Then should Japanese be disallowed to set up hamberger shops? Should white people be criticized for serving tacos? We live in a global world where race and generalization should not matter. Just as nobody should criticize Sony or Matsushita for trying to make money in China or Korea, the two countries Japan rather dislikes, I dont think past politics should play any role in determining whether a Phillipino lady has a right to live in Japan.

I agree, BUT to many Japanese it isn't that simple. The people that work in multi-national companies are more adept at understanding that, but to me in my experience the average Japanese person cares pretty much only about what happens in their community or to them and are not looking at things on a "global village" scale.

Your last line, however true it may be, is a sad fact of life. I agree it shouldn't be that way, but until the political issues still standing between the countries are finally put to rest it is and will be a fact of life facing anyone from the Phillipines coming to live or work here in Japan. Yet where does one country draw the line in determining it's own laws with regards to immigration?

Many times there are things that I would like to be different but no matter how hard I wish it to be so, things never change. It takes action, not just from without but from within as well. To many of the Japanese people I would bet that this is a non-issue. I think that to many it is as black and white as getting caught breaking the law. One has to accept the consequences of their actions.

I have a question for you here, what if the case were reversed? How would a single Japanese woman with a child be treated in the Phillipines in a similar situation?
 
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junjunforever

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Obeika, im glad we came to a general concensus (even though we dont fully agree each other, but thats not a bad thing).

If the case was reverted, Philippino government should act out all reasonable care to take care of the Japanese lady, perhaps even giving her a chance to explain herself. But then, I am quite sure any Japanese can get a visa extension to live in the Philippines provided that they have no criminal record. In countries like Indonesia, you can purchase permanent residence with money. They are not very strict on visa issues.
 

KirinMan

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junjun thank you too.

On a side note I have been to the Phillipines once a very long time ago and I will never forget the experience nor the people that I was fortunate to have met there.

Sadly, and this is probably going to sound naive on my part, but that is not the intent, too many people let preconceived ideas or prelearned prejudices dictate how they treat people.

However I am forever the optimist.
 

Pope

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Japan is far too egalitarian in the application of its laws for this to be true. Many people at this forum are predisposed to believe this statement, but everything I have experienced here in Japan tells me it is not true.

Oh, so it seems that either you are Japanese, or you are gaijin. The division is in 2, and no classes of foreigners then?
 

KirinMan

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Oh, so it seems that either you are Japanese, or you are gaijin. The division is in 2, and no classes of foreigners then?

I see from your profile and if it is accurate that you have never been to Japan, correct?

Sure there are "classes" but one overall "class" to use your word, is you are either Japanese or not Japanese.

But in reference to when a person is detained by authorities, it doesn't matter which "class" you belong to Japanese or otherwise, people get treated pretty much the same.
 
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