Detention centers lack docs / 2 facilities holding visa violators not offering proper medical care

Two state-run immigration centers where foreigners who have violated the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law are detained until they are deported failed to have a full-time doctor on staff despite ministerial requirements, it has been learned.

As adequate medical treatment and health care for the detainees is stipulated in a Justice Ministry ordinance, a full-time doctor is required to be stationed at the centers’ clinics.

However, the West Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, has not had a full-time doctor for about five months since the last doctor resigned on Aug. 1, according to the Immigration Bureau.

The Omura Immigration Center has not had a full-time doctor for about two years since a clinic chief dispatched from a local university resigned at the end of 2004.

Full-time doctors shoulder such responsibilities as preventing the spread of infectious diseases and instructing nurses and other staff.

Maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of any kind is also stipulated in the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted at the General Assembly in 1988. Therefore, the government may face criticism from abroad over the centers’ lack of full-time doctors.

Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan said: “The central government hasn’t fulfilled its responsibility to ensure adequate medical services at the centers. It’s required to have a budget for two full-time in-house doctors at each facility.”