“Panelist Discussion: Undocumented Resident Children Now” was held

panel discussion

On December 22 (Sunday), APFS held a panel discussion titled “Undocumented Resident Children Now” at Itabashi Green Hall. Around 50 people, including both Japanese and foreigners, attended. Prior to entering into the panel discussion, Ms. Yoshida of APFS discussed the changing environment surrounding undocumented residents and some past activities of APFS targeted at obtaining Special Permission to Stay for undocumented residents. She talked about the sudden increase of undocumented residents from the latter half of the 1980s, the fact that many of them created families and sought stable residence in Japan, and the continuing crackdown on them up until the present day.

In the panel discussion, we had professor Tetsuo Mizukami acting as facilitator. Our panel discussion guests included a former undocumented resident child, a current undocumented resident on provisional release, professor Natsuko Minamino, who specializes in children’s welfare issues, and Mayumi Yoshida of APFS. Our 2 guests who were former or current undocumented residents spoke about their personal struggles. They spoke of how they did not have health insurance because of their undocumented status, and how because of the lack of health insurance they had to be careful when participating in school sports so that they would not be injured. Professor Minamino then spoke about the problems that undocumented resident children face from the viewpoint of education, welfare, and international human rights laws. Ms. Yoshida of APFS then spoke about how the Immigration Bureau has frequently offered Special Permission to Stay for such children only if their parents agree to return to their home countries. Members of the audience showed astonishment to the fact that there were actually children in such predicaments, and some members of the audience expressed their support for such children.

At the end of the panelist discussion, be had a social gathering where members of the audience, APFS staff members, and the guest speakers could interact with each other and share thoughts and opinions.