JAPAN: NEW REPORT REVEALS DISTURBING PATTERN OF MISTREATMENT OF FOREIGNERS

Coinciding with the imminent arrival in Japan of thousands of foreigners for the 2002 football World Cup finals, the report reveals that each year in Japan thousands of foreign nationals are singled out for interrogation, detention and deportation.

Some individuals have been denied the right to seek asylum, with others barred entry despite carrying valid travel documents. Since 11 September 2001 there have been several cases of asylum-seekers refused entry simply because they were from Afghanistan or the Middle East.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'What our report shows is that while World Cup fans can expect good treatment in Japan, other foreigners meet with detention, ill-treatment and unfair deportation. In the old cliché, everybody deserves a level playing field and we look to the Japanese authorities to ensure this.'

Amnesty International is aware of reports of detainees being held in windowless cells - sometimes for weeks - and denied access to legal advice and medical treatment. Private security officers in charge of these detention facilities - known as 'Landing Prevention Facilities' (Jouriku Boushi Shisetsu) - are known to have beaten foreign nationals.

The Landing Prevention Facilities, described in Amnesty International's report as 'fertile ground for human rights violations', have also been used to pressure foreigners into paying for their 'room and board'. In one case in 1998 a Burmese asylum-seeker was made to pay $812 for his three-week detention in a 'tomb-like' cell, and in another a Guinean man was deprived of food for five days because he had refused to pay for it.

Additionally, immigration officials conducting interviews with detainees have not provided adequate translation facilities and some detainees have been forced to sign forms that they were unable to read.

Amnesty International is urging the Japanese government to uphold international standards in the treatment of foreign nationals subjected to arbitrary 'fast-track' detention-deportation procedures. In particular to ensure that:

* no one is subjected to ill-treatment

* any allegations of ill-treatment are investigated and perpetrators brought to justice

* anyone detained is given access to legal advice, as well as advice from their embassy or consulate without undue delay

* asylum-seekers are given access to fair asylum procedures and not deported until their case has been assessed

* staff are trained in human rights standards

* independent inspectors are given regular and unrestricted access.

The full report is available online at www.amnesty.org

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