Detainees staging hunger strike

A hunger strike staged by inmates at the West Japan Immigration Center [in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture] entered its fifth day Friday with protesters demanding improved living conditions and protection of their rights, sources said.

The 70 inmates, nearly all the men held at the facility, began fasting on Monday, center officials and supporters of inmates said.

Their main demand was the provisional release of an ill inmate who was not receiving proper treatment within the facility, supporters said.

Applications for provisional release, usually granted out of humanitarian considerations, have often gone unanswered at the center since last year, they said.

An official at the center said the immigration bureau had not changed the way it grants provisional releases.