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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Japan detains Filipino in immigration row

Agence France-Presse and Inquirer.net
Posted date: March 09, 2009

TOKYO -- Japan detained a Filipino man on Monday and threatened to deport him and his family in an immigration row centered on his teenage daughter, a case that has drawn much public sympathy here.
The couple faces deportation because they entered the country on false passports nearly 17 years ago, but they have pleaded to be allowed to stay so their Japan-born daughter can finish her schooling in the country.

The government has said the 13-year-old daughter may stay in Japan alone but told her parents to leave. When a deadline passed on Monday, authorities detained her father, Arlan Cruz Calderon, 36.

The 38-year-old mother was not detained but warned that the entire family would be deported next week unless the parents go voluntarily, with or without their daughter, the family's lawyer said.

"The family's stance that all three want to stay together in Japan has not changed," said lawyer Shogo Watanabe. "The parents just cannot leave the 13-year-old daughter alone here."

The daughter Noriko Calderon, who only speaks Japanese, said: "I am very shocked my father was detained. I want them to return my father immediately."

More than 20,000 people in Japan have signed a petition asking the government to allow all three to stay.

Justice Minister Eisuke Mori said last week Japan may allow the parents to visit their daughter in the next five years, even though deportees are usually barred from returning during that time.

The couple entered Japan with illegal passports in the early 1990s and lived undetected until two years ago when the mother was arrested. Last September the Supreme Court rejected their appeal to stay.

The UN Human Rights Council has asked Japan for information on the case.

London-based human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement last week that deporting the girl's parents would be a breach of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

"Deporting Noriko’s parents would clearly be counter to her best interests," said Roseann Rife, Amnesty's Asia-Pacific deputy program director.

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