All are equal before the law and in Japan, foreigners without a legal permit to stay must leave the country. Deportation is assured for any illegal immigrant.
This is what the Calderons are heading for. Arlan and Sarah Calderon, two Filipino citizens, illegally resident in Japan since the early 90s, will be deported to their home country on the 13th of April. They will be leaving behind their daughter Noriko, who was born in Japan, can only speak Japanese and has been raised in Japan like any other Japanese girl.
According to the Japanese law in the case of illegal migrants with a child, if the child is a junior high school student and it is established that the two parents have been working regularly for a long time, they can be granted a special stay permit. However, in this case, when Mrs. Calderon was found without a legal visa and arrested, two years ago, Noriko was still a primary school student.
For this reason, the Japanese Ministry of Justice, after having considered the case for a long time, gave the Calderons only two choices: to leave the country with or without Noriko. The parents chose the latter option and Noriko will carry on her life in Japan, living with some relatives, while her parents will be allowed to come and visit her once in a while.
This is what they responded:
- It absolutely cannot be extended any longer
- Since this is the decision taken by the family, it cannot be modified in any way.
Finally, the whole situation seems to have come to an end and I am somehow relieved.
The Calderons case in the last months has drawn the attention of the international and national community, as well as of human rights NGO such as Amnesty International. The decision by the Japanese Ministry of Justice is not beyond criticism from a legal point of view, as it is held to violate the Article 9 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, as many have pointed out insisting on the human side of this matter, which involves a 13 y.o. girl and the forced separation from her parents.
However the sentence seems to be in line with usual policy in Japan, known amongst democratic countries, as one of the least open in matter of immigration. Not a few Japanese nationals, despite being honestly sympathetic to Noriko, do agree [ja] with the authorities’ final statement, as it emerges from this entry by id: Keibi-in.
I also feel for her. However, I don't think that the sentenced is wrong.
Even if they may appear cold-hearted, I do believe that there are rules that should not be modified and this is such a case.
Would you give a permit to be a permanent resident in Japan to all of them and their families?
Of course, the Calderons case is not the first one of its genre. In the past years, in fact, other families composed of foreigners living illegally in Japan have drawn media attention but Japanese reaction was different according to a blogger:
I'm not saying it is good or bad but in cases like this, whenever there is a weak party harassed from the “above”, they would have been filled with indignation and reacted. [...]
Perhaps nowadays, in this critical economic situation, Japanese people can't even afford to have that kind of reactions anymore…
What I have realized is that this kind of appeal has no effect anymore and people have become accustomed to seeing families separated.
The blogger, further in this post, quotes the comment of prof. Yamada of Chuo University (山田昌弘・中央大学文学部教授), whom he agrees with, and which perfectly sums up the feelings of many bloggers whose posts have been examined for this article.
Even if the Calderons overstayed illegally, they chose Japan which they considered a nice place to stay and they lived here and paid the taxes.
Besides, they haven't caused any trouble to anybody.
As a Japanese, I would like to show this as a country which takes into serious consideration such people who choose to live in Japan.
However, I really hope that they can come back soon to Japan and find a way to live together [again].