Activities Report

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
ホットライン

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.

Citizen Consultation on the Special Permission for Residence

2017年1月13日 金曜日
市民懇談会1
市民懇談会2

Analyzing some cases
APFS continues to search for means of supporting undocumented foreign residents to receive official status in Japan.

Up until the end of 2014 we were able to help many undocumented foreign residents who had been issued with a deportation order by appealing the court order due to a change in circumstances and in a number of cases were able to secure legal status for such individuals. However since 2015 most of our appeals for legal status have been rejected.

In addition the number of cases in which an individual is granted “Special Permission of Residence” has continued to decrease. There are “Guidelines for Special Permission of Residence” but there are no clear standards for this process and how the guidelines are applied remains opaque. Furthermore there is frequent judgement by the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice to separate children and parents.

In order to consider this pressing problem APFS gathered together with lawyers involved in the cases of undocumented foreign residents, research experts in sociology and local supporters on three occasions in order to consult upon the conditions and guidelines of the Special Permission of Residence. These meetings were held on 1st September (no. 1), 5th October (no.2) and 9th December 2016(no.3).

In the first meeting lawyers introduced the trend in which many court cases were filed against the decision not to grant Special Permission of Residence but the cases in which the plaintiff won were most few. It was suggested that the reason for this trend was that the Minister of Justice has very wide range of discretionary powers. However, there is a case where they won based on so called ‘principle of proportionality’. Researchers pointed: “I am wondering why the laws and guidelines don’t have universality which they should have.” “Japan is violating the International Bill of Human Rights which Japan ratifies. They should regard the best interests of children but the courts don’t give judgements in accordance with it.”

In the second meeting we attempted to inspect the universal application of the “Guidelines for Special Permission for Residence” and in order to do this decided to assess a number of cases according to the guidelines. It was also suggested that we make a series of proposals regarding Special Permission for Residence to the Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Policy Consultation Committee.

Furthermore it was suggested that as the United Nations Human Rights Committee will be coming to Japan in the consideration of the European Court of Human Rights, we should use this opportunity to inform them of the situation of undocumented foreign residents.

In the third meeting, we reported the results of the evaluation of the actual cases according to the “Guidelines for Special Permission of Residence”, but the reflection of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ elements in the evaluation differed by each evaluator, which highlights the difficulty of the approval of the Special Permission of Residence.

Following these series of discussion meetings, we have confirmed our plan to submit concrete proposals to the Immigration Policy Consultation Committee, and have decided to continue our activities as a group under the title of “Citizen Consultation Group on the Special Permission for Residence”.

The challenges which the citizen consultation group will have to take on from now must include a follow up upon the points of debate within previous Immigration Policy Consultation Committee sessions, and the invitation and hearing of experts in the field of collective amnesty and special permission of residence in other countries.

Members of ‘Citizen Consultation on the Special Permission for Residence’ (on January 10, 2017)

Tetsuo Mizukami (Prof. of Rikkyo University Department of Sociology) Chairman
Koichi Kodama (Lawyer)
Chie Komai (Lawyer)
Yoshiaki Noro ((Prof. of Rikkyo University Department of Sociology)
Fu Yue (Associate Prof. of Ibaraki University Department of Social Sciences)
Yoshinori Matsushima (Representative of Support Group for Filipino Families)
Junpei Yamamura (Doctor of Minato Shinryosho)
Akiko Watanabe (Support Group for Iranian Mothers and Children)
Chie Watanabe (Lawyer)

Jotaro Kato (Representative of APFS)
Kenlai Cho (Full member of APFS)
Mayumi Yoshida (Vice-representative of APFS)
Katsuo Yoshinari (Board member and advisor of APFS)

International Symposium “Challenge for Letting Off Care Workers and Supporting Foreign Residents-Learning Experiences from Philippines and Indonesia” was held.

2016年4月8日 金曜日
国際シンポ

Lecture by Ms. Ivy Miravalles(Commission Filipino Overseas)
The international symposium was held at Rikkyo University Ikebukuro Campus on Saturday, March 5, 2016. About 90 audiences including foreigners attended and listened attentively to the speech that explained what kind of problems foreign nurses and care givers had been facing while working in Japan.
In the first part, Ms. Ivy Miravalles, Director of the Commission on Filipino Overseas, and Ms. Sulistyowati Irianto, Professor of Indonesia University, gave lectures from their standpoint of sending nurses and care givers to Japan. Ms. Miravalles and Ms. Irianto both reported that the world demand for sending nurses and care givers has been increasing as aging of the population in many countries. Then, they strongly pointed out two serious problems for foreign nurses and care givers: language barrier and racial issue, still existed in Japan even they had enough knowledge and skills through training and study. “We must keep working on solving and improving these kinds of problems together.” They both suggested. In a following a question-and answer session, they discussed with audiences sincerely and eagerly.
In the second part, an annual report of APFS (ASIAN PEOPLE’S FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY) was reported, and a panel discussion was held. Panelists including professors and researchers discussed about how foreigners living in Japan could act as a bridge between foreign personnel and Japanese nurses and caregivers. Additionally, they had a discussion about how Japanese people engaged in this field should make efforts to improve foreign personnel’s working situation. They also pointed out that the Japanese people concerned should have flexible mind and attitude to make better system and workplaces for foreign nurses and care givers.
After the symposium, an after-party was held at the University’s cafeteria. About 30 people participated and had a good communication.
The symposium was supported by Welfare and Medical Service Agency.
We are deeply grateful to their support and kindness.

CHALLENGE FOR THE LETTING OFF CARE WORKER
–FROM EXPERIENCES OF PHILIPPINES AND INDONESIA

Date: March 5, 2016, 14:00~17:15 at Rikkyo University Ikebukuro Campus
<1st Part>
14:00~14:10 OPENING REMARKS Dr. Tetsuo MIZUKAMI
(Prof. of Rikkyo University Dept. of Sociology)
14:10~14:40 LECTURE “Challenge Regarding Letting Off Care Worker from Philippines”
        Ms. Ivy Miravalles(Commission on Filipino Overseas, Director)
14;40~15:10 LECTURE “Challenge Regarding Letting Off Care Worker from Indonesia”
Dr. Sulistyowati Irianto (Prof. of Indonesia University)
15:10~15:30 A QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SESSION

<2nd Part>
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS
REGARDING RECEIVING PROSPECTIVE CARE WORKERS?
15:40~16:00 REPORT “Comprehensive Support Project for the Independence of Foreign Residents”
        Katsuo YOSHINARI(ASIAN PEOPLE’S FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY, Advisor)
16:00~17:05 PANEL DISCUSSION
        Panelist
         Mr. Bunji INOUE(I helper school(Youko Care College)principal)
         Dr. Chizuko KAWAMURA(Prof. of Daitobunka University)
         Ms. Natsuko MINAMINO(Fulltime Lecturer of Showajoshi University)
         Mr. Yoshiaki NORO(Prof. of Rikkyo University Dept. of Sociology)
        Coordinator    Dr. Tetsuo MIZUKAMI
        Commentator  Ms. Ivy Miravalles and Dr. Sulistyowati Irianto
17:05~17:15 CLOSING REMARKS
        Jotaro KATO(NPO ASIAN PEOPLE’S FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY, Representative)

Hosted by NPO, ASIAN PEOPLE’S FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY(APFS)
Cosponsored by NPO, ASIAN COMMUNITY TAKASHIMADAIRA(TAKASHIMADAIRA ACT)
Cooperated by Rikkyo Institute for Global Urban Studies, Rikkyo Institute for Peace and Community Studies
Supported by Welfare and Medical Service Agency
Sponsored by Toshima-Ku, Japanese Association of Certified Social Workers, Tokyo Council of Social Welfare

APFS had a negotiation with Ministry of Justice regarding special permission for residence.

2016年3月4日 金曜日
法務省

Appeal seeking special permission for residence in front of Ministry of Justice
During August, 2015 through January, 2016 APFS had been working on “100 days action to foster the dream of children” to realize the society where the dream of all the children including overstayers comes true

Through the 100 days action a number of media have taken up the issue. Also the signature campaign spread. As a result we were able to convey the problem of overstayers’ children to the society.

On Sunday January 17, 2016, a summary discussion regarding the 100 days action was held. It was decided during the discussion that a request to obtain special resident permission is to be made in March.

Not only children but also adults are not able to draw future outlook under the overstayer’s status.

We invited adults to participate in the request to Ministry of Justice to be made on Tuesday March 1. This is because there are such adults who wish to stay in Japan as those who are married with Japanese (permanent residents), or spent more than half of their life in Japan.

APFS made three appeals as below in order for overstayers with provisional release to grant special permission for residence as soon as possible:

(1) Admit the residence permit to children to live with parents together
(2) Admit that the husband and wife to form a family in Japan
(3) Admit special residence permit to refugee applicants in a more flexible way

The negotiation with Ministry of Justice were attended by Mr. Toyotaka Kawabata and Ms. Narumi Yokokawa, both Assistant Judge and Mr. Makoto Harada, Chief Clerk from Judgment Division of Immigration Bureau and Mr. Kato, Representative, Ms. Yoshida, Vice Representative and Mr. Yoshinari, Director from APFS.

Many overstayers with provisional release apply for retrial application (request for review due to changes in the situation after with deportation order). We confirmed Mr. Yokokawa’s statement that the existence of retrial application is admitted, although residence status is difficult to be permitted in accordance with retrial application since 2011.

We confirmed that about 150 sheets of postcard to cheer the children worked with the 100 days actions as well as the agreement of 22 researchers against “Decision document of 100 days action to foster the dream of children” were delivered to and investigated by Ministry of Justice.

APFS pointed out that Immigration Bureau is responsible for the fact that overstayer is left in provisional release state for a long time and also pointed out the inconsistency between the case of permission granted before 2010 to obtain a special permission residence by retrial application and the case of waiting families who has no difference in terms of the guideline of special permission for residence. We also explained that overstayers are important human resources to contribute to Japanese society for example children who are attending vocational school aims to become a care work, and requested to relief with a generosity.

We submitted a name list of 37 persons in 20 cases of overstayers seeking special permission together with APFS. Mr. Kawabata clearly stated that the cases in the name list will be reviewed once again. We cannot move forward without raising voice. The negotiation with Ministry of Justice delivered the result of re-recognizing the existence of the cases

We questioned about permission of special permission of refugee applicants and could confirm that permission is granted if the case applies to “positive elements” under “Guidelines relating to special residence permit” though refugee status is not approved.

We got an answer that we are requested to clearly mention at refugee application (primary stage) the points to be considered on humanitarian since at the time of the opposition (secondary examination), almost no review about special residence permit is made. We could grasp the guideline and understand how we should appeal.

The persons concerned have continued to appeal holding the microphone despite cold weather in front of Ministry of Justice. One of the children was speaking “even young children understand the importance of family and it is impossible to imagine the status where either only children or only adults remain as residence. Please listen to the wishes.” Adults appealed through microphone that we want to foster children in Japan and we want to continue living in Japan with the spouse.

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