Activities Report

Recommendations Regarding the Legitimization of Undocumented Residents submitted to Ministry of Justice

2019年4月4日 木曜日

On March 27, 2019, we at APFS submitted our petition, Recommendations Regarding the Legitimization of Undocumented Residents, to the Ministry of Justice.

There was much talk and debate in the National Diet and news media following the finalization of the new Immigration Law that takes effect this April, but there was nothing mentioned about any mercy to be granted to undocumented residents currently living in Japan. On the contrary, in the Cabinet’s Comprehensive Measures for Acceptance and Coexistence of Foreign Human Resources, there includes a section calling for the “thorough removal of illegal residents”, as well as language calling for the stricter monitoring of undocumented residents on provisional release and the quicker enforcement of deportations. Here at APFS, in helping many undocumented residents, we have seen many cases where it is simply not possible to return to one’s home country for various reasons, such as having one’s life and economic livelihood based solely in Japan. There are also many cases where children are born to undocumented residents, and have never experienced life outside of Japan. We proposed to the Ministry of Justice that, prior to accepting new foreign laborers, it should legitimize undocumented residents currently living in Japan.

In other countries, when the government revises their immigration law, a general amnesty is sometimes used to legitimize undocumented residents when they meet certain conditions. Here in Japan, we have a special pardon system in place called the Special Permission to Stay, whereby the government can pardon undocumented residents on a case-by-case basis. We appealed to the Ministry of Justice to use this current system in a flexible manner, to legitimize undocumented residents on a large-scale basis.

In our petition, we made four specific recommendations:

1) The Ministry should explain its reasons each time it decides to grant or deny a Special Permission to Stay to an undocumented resident. Currently, it makes its decision without stating the reasons behind the decision.

2) In addition to its own published Guidelines on Special Permission to Stay, the Ministry should look to international human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), for guidance when making its decision to grant or deny a Special Permission to Stay.

3) The Ministry should base petitions for rehearing in Immigration Law. Currently, petitions for rehearing are recognized in practice, but they have no legal basis in Immigration Law.

4) Children born and raised in Japan should necessarily be granted Special Permission to Stay.

Mr. Tamura and Mr. Kizaki of the General Affairs Section of the Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau received our petition. As awareness of the problems concerning undocumented residents grows, the status quo will be challenged, and their treatment will change. Thus, our petition to the Ministry of Justice was necessary.

At APFS, we will continue to support undocumented residents, and together we will continue to raise our voices.

* Please contact us if you would like to see the full text of the petition.

Help APFS by shopping at Amazon!

2019年2月27日 水曜日

APFS has joined the Amazon Affiliate Program. Through this program, Amazon will pay us a referral fee of up to 10% for any purchases made using our link to the Amazon site. This allows anybody to support us by simply shopping at Amazon, without incurring any fees or having to pay anything beyond the cost of their purchase. In other words, you can now support us without any additional cost to yourself. To do this, bookmark the URL given at the end of this paragraph, and use the bookmark whenever you shop at Amazon. The URL contains a special code which Amazon will use to credit APFS for the purchase. Then, depending on the items purchased, Amazon will pay us up to 10%. Please note that this only applies to Amazon Japan. Please bookmark this URL in your web browser and use it everytime you shop at Amazon:

URL: ← bookmark this link and help APFS!

“Immigration Policy and the Road to a Multicultural Community” is Published

2018年9月26日 水曜日

APFS has published the book “Immigration Policy and the Road to a Multicultural Community” (in Japanese).

Edited by: Katsuo Yoshinari, Tetsuo Mizukami, A.P.F.S.

Published by: Gendai Jinbunsha

Date of publication: 2018/9/20

Price: 2,900 JPY(excluding tax)

Notification of Discontinuation of APFS Representative

2017年3月28日 火曜日

Thank you all for your continued support and cooperation towards APFS.
Kato current representative will be leaving his position on 31st March.
As of 1st April vice-representative Mayumi Yoshida, will be taking up the role as head of APFS.

APFS will continue to strive in its work in which both people of both Japanese and foreign nationality join in mutual support towards a rich and diverse society.
Kato asks for your continued commitment and support towards APFS and thank you for your understanding.

Helpline for Foreigners

2017年1月22日 日曜日

74 calls came in 4 days!
Over the weekend of 21st and 22nd January 2017 APFS again opened its special helpline for foreign residents between 12:00-17:00. On these occasions APFS supporters, including specialist lawyers, counselors and interpreters providing language support for English, Nepalese, Tagalog and Chinese speakers, gather together and provide direct advice to those phoning in. Armed with a range of reference books on immigration law and the national directory on support groups for foreign residents around the country, the team received a steady flow of calls throughout the day.

The 21st January saw 19 calls to the APFS helpline, with 13 of these being from Nepalese nationals, along with 2 from Iran nationals, and 1 each from American, Philippine, Cameroon and Peruvian nationals. Many of the concerns of the callers involve labor issues, including industrial accidents, unpaid salaries and unfair dismissal. There were also questions on conditions for permanent residence, the process of application for reentry and details of the pension system, international marriage and involvement in a traffic accident. We also received a call with regard to visiting rights to children after a divorce.

On 22nd January APFS received a total of 13 calls, the majority of which were from Nepalese nationals (totaling 11 calls), whilst we also received one call from a Philippine national and a Korean national. There were consultations on a wide range of issues with the majority of these related on this occasion to visa status. There were several inquiries with regard to the eligibility requirements of a skilled labor visa, as well as how to gain permanent residence, visa extensions and issues of refugee applicants. We also received calls upon the issues of unpaid salaries which prevented the individual from being able to pay their rent, and unfair dismissal.

We also received inquiries about what can be done in the case of overstaying one’s visa and becoming an undocumented foreign resident. With calls coming in from all over the country, from Fukuoka to Gunma, the team provided the necessary key information for each case and also directed individuals living far from Tokyo to other support centers and legal advice groups in closer vicinity to their residence. Those living within access of the APFS office we encouraged to visit us directly in order to follow up face to face the issues they are tackling.

The distinct number of calls coming from Nepali nationals is a reflection of the growing numbers of Nepalese residents in Japan. Our Nepali translator was at constant work and often had a line of callers waiting to speak to him. In this way we can see the clear importance of providing helpline support in the native language of foreign residents and it is our hope to extend these languages further in the future. By pooling our skills and knowledge we are able to extend support to those who feel placed in situations where they do not know where to turn and together identify a route towards addressing these challenges.

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