What is the future for undocumented children?

by Rina Yoshikawa

According to a survey in 2012, there were around 70,000 of illegal overstayers in Japan. In 2008, it reported about 150,000 were found illegal, which was more than twice as much as recorded in 2012. It seems like the number of illegal overstayers has declined as the survey shows, and we are able to solve this issue in few years. However, these surveys are only numbers of people who were exposed as illegal. It can be estimated that there would be around 300,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrants in Japan.

In the late 2000s, one Filipino family got a lot of attention from all over Japan since they had stayed in Japan illegally. According to the law, they were to send back to the Philippines, but their young daughter named Noriko Calderon grew up and lived her whole life in Japan and could not speak any other language than Japanese. It was a huge controversy for this family that had migrated from the Philippines to get out of poverty and to make a living in Japan, and actually made their life in Japan for long, but overstayed illegally. Their child, Noriko, has been brought up in Japan since she was born and had done nothing wrong, so she only got an exceptional acceptance to stay in Japan while her school life and her parents were sent back to the Philippines.

Even though Noriko grabbed a huge chance to stay longer exceptionally, she is not the only one who stands on the edge of border of their life. There are still hundreds of children in a same situation. Some might have already been forced to be sent back home, or some others might be scared of getting caught by immigration authorities. Moreover, they are even afraid to go to hospital when they are sick. They do not have a right to live just like normal people if they are not documented even though they migrated to make their life better and happier. For those children, they never get any choices and they have to depend on just the way they are until they are caught as illegal. Once they are found as illegal, they have no other way than to see the reality of undocumented with no power.

For this issue, I think all the children should be protected to live their life no matter what situation their parents create. Parents’ ego cannot disturb the future for children. At least I think we need to give those children education and healthcare with some condition to grab a chance of success when they get older. It should not be fully acceptable to anybody that may danger the country. However, I do not want children lose their bright future due to their unfortunate situation. All those innocent children should be able to take a chance to challenge for themselves.


Facts and details: foreigners in Japan. http://factsanddetails.com/japan.php?itemid=633&catid=18 (last seen on 2012-11-10)

法務省:本邦における不法残留者数の推移. http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000096008.pdf (last seen on 2012-11-10)

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