Opinion on the Bill for Amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act
March 18, 2021
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”) compiled an opinion paper, “Opinion on the Bill for Amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act” dated March 18, 2021, and submitted it on March 23, 2021 to the Minister of Justice; the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the President of the House of Councilors; and the official representatives of the respective political parties.
Summary of Opinion
On February 19, 2021, the Government submitted a bill to the Diet to amend the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (“the Bill”).
The Bill has proposed that an alternative mechanism to detention, i.e., the system of Monitoring Measures, be introduced in order to eliminate prolonged detention. However, there are some fundamental issues with the Monitoring Measures, such as the fact that the system requires supporters and lawyers—who are likely to be designated as Monitors—to monitor subjects on the Monitoring Measures, and imposes various notification obligations on such Monitors. Therefore, it is urged that a drastic alteration be made to the immigration control and detention system itself.
Additionally, the partial lifting of deportation suspensions for asylum-seekers contemplated in the Bill entails the risk of individuals who should have been recognized as refugees being wrongfully be deported to their country of origin resulting in their lives or physical safety becoming jeopardized.
Moreover, regarding deportation orders and orders to apply for the issuance of passports, there is fundamental lack of grounds to enforce such orders with criminal penalties.
In addition, instituting a procedure to apply for special permission to stay does not guarantee that resettlement, family unity, and the best interests of children will be given substantial consideration.
With respect to the introduction of a system to recognize persons who are eligible for complementary protection, the eligibility is so severely narrow that the system will fail to defend the lives or physical safety of individuals who would have been eligible for protection.
Furthermore, with respect to facilitating the enactment of statutes and regulations related to the treatment of detainees at the detention facilities, many aspects of the Bill will require amendments since there is no indication that restrictions on the physical freedom and other restraints imposed on detainees will be improved.
Thus, the Bill has numerous issues which will cause extremely serious effects on deportation and refugee recognition practices in the future.