Japan deported 46 illegal Thai immigrants on Sunday in what was the second round of the implementation of a new mass deportation program that makes use of a government-chartered plane, Japan’s Immigration Bureau said Monday. The second round followed the deportation of 75 Filipinos, most of them visa violators, in July, all reportedly in handcuffs. The government opted to start using chartered aircraft in July to reportedly cut costs and reduce safety concerns. Illegal immigrants to Japan are usually deported individually on commercial flights.
Sunday’s mass deportation of the Thailand nationals cost around 24 million yen, half of what it would have cost if each person had been flown out individually on a commercial flight, an immigration official revealed. Immigration authorities are also saying that this new initiative is far safer from the old method because it takes regular airline passengers out of the equation. In the past, desperate immigrants have made last-ditch attempts to escape or postpone deportation, including screaming and attacking immigration officials, according to the bureau, which is under the Justice Ministry. The 46 Thai nationals included 26 males and 20 females and three children. 26 of them were caught overstaying their visa, and 16 of them entering the country illegally and four committing crimes, including drug-related offenses.
The Asian People’s Friendship Society, a citizens’ group advocating human rights for foreign residents in Japan, interviewed some of the deported Filipinos after they were deported in July. Several said that the process tore them away from families and long-term partners in Japan, most of them consider their Japanese families as their real spouses, and their children. Also while on board, the Filipino deportees were handcuffed all the time, including when they ate and used the lavatory, which APFS representative Jotaro Kato pointed to as an “insulting” treatment that many said made them feel subhuman. The immigration official stressed that nobody was cuffed while aboard the plane on this batch.
[via Japan Times]