MIGRANTE Japan condemns in the strongest terms the airing of “Taikyo no Shukan” (“At the very moment they were deported”) tackling the plight of undocumented migrants in Japan over Fuji Television last October 6, 2018.
Using a typical reality show format, the two-hour program was shown on a prime time slot where a Fuji Television team was seen following a group of immigration officers called “G-Men” crackdown visa “overstayers” in dormitories, factories and squalor homes.
MIGRANTE Japan believes that the whole concept of the program is xenophobic. It has turned the plight of undocumented migrants into another piece of entertainment which we fear may further fuel anti-migrant sentiments in the country – a problem that has been on the rise in recent years.
In the first segment of the program, immigration officers were seen storming the apartment of a Vietnamese man for alleged violation of his trainee visa. He and two others were arrested and interrogated on camera and then deported 24 hours later.
Then, another segment showed immigration officers raiding a factory and arresting a group of Indian nationals while the owners of the factory who should be equally liable never appeared on camera.
The final segment investigated on Chinese “squatters” who have planted vegetables on a public land along a riverbank in Kyoto
Japan has been experiencing serious demographic crunch for more than four decades now largely due to its aging population and low birthrate. The entry of migrants to Japan from mostly Asian countries is favorable to the country than it is a problem which the Japanese government through media is trying to project.
MIGRANTE Japan thinks that it is hypocritical of the Japanese government to treat undocumented migrants this way while seeking to recruit at least 500,000 migrant workers in the next few years to deal with its serious labour shortage.
MIGRANTE Japan believes that Fuji Television has crossed the line of decency by allowing itself to be used by the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau to propagate the way it handles and treats undocumented migrants. In the process, Fuji Television has also disrespected the over 2 million foreign migrants in Japan whose enormous contributions to society have kept the economy of Japan safe from spiraling downwards.
Instead of humiliating and poking fun at the plight of undocumented migrants, Fuji Television should have tackled the ugly side of immigration detention facilities which is unknown to many Japanese. Over the years, there has been an increasing number of documented violations of human rights committed inside various detention facilities around the country.
Since 2009, 13 undocumented migrants have died inside detention facilities. In 2013, 75 Filipino detainees were forcibly dragged into a chartered plane headed for deportation back to the Philippines even if some of the deportees have pending cases in court. Many migrants also complain of constant harassment and intimidation while in detention, deprived of medical attention and psychologically tortured to force them into signing the deportation order.
MIGRANTE Japan is also calling out the Philippine government through its embassy in Tokyo and Consulate in Osaka to immediately act on this and issue a statement denouncing the airing of the said television program. This is the least it can do to safeguard the interest and protect the rights of over 274,000 Filipinos in Japan.
As migrants, we are deeply appalled by how fellow migrants are being portrayed in Japanese media. We are not criminals and we are not a threat to Japan. The truth is, we are marginalized and vulnerable to abuse. We work hard under low wages and precarious work conditions. We were driven by severe poverty in our homeland, but we work hard to make a niche for ourselves in society. We, therefore, do not deserve to be treated this way.###