MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos are the largest number of foreign nationals detained in Japan for violations of its immigration laws, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.
Last July 6, 75 Filipinos returned to the Philippines after being deported by the Japanese government. There were around 200 Filipinos detained in Japanese immigration centers, DFA spokesman assistant secretary Raul Hernandez told reporters in a media briefing.
“Prior to the deportation of the 75 Filipinos by chartered flight, there were over 200 Filipinos in Japanese immigration centers, constituting the highest number of foreign nationals detained in these centers,” he said.
“These are Filipinos who have been there in the immigration centers for some time now. Before 2013 deportees who do not consent to be deported will not be deported, so it’s only now that the Japanese government is deporting foreign nationals even without their consent,” Hernandez said.
Violation of immigration laws includes overstaying. The Philippines has the third largest number of illegal overstayers in Japan, trailing behind South Korea and China, Hernandez said.
Among those deported back to the Philippines were 54 adult males, 13 adult females, and 8 children. At least 100 more Filipinos are still in the detention centers.
“Filipinos with serious medical conditions, those who have existing family ties in Japan, and [have pending] cases filed in court were excluded in the deportation,” Hernandez said.
“They are constantly being visited by our embassy officials to find out their conditions, how they are treated, and if there are things we could assist them with,” he said.
The returnees were met at the airport by representatives of the DFA, Bureau of Immigration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
OWWA and DSWD offered reintegration programs for the returnees, Hernandez said.
“For now we are not aware of the next deportation activity of the Japanese immigration authorities,” he said.