Resolving the Issue of Undocumented Immigrants in Japan

by Tomoya Yamaguchi

As globalization progresses, the number of undocumented immigrants are increasing little by little and there are a lot of problems in the world, too. There are also many problems in Japan and I would like to describe how the Japanese society should do to solve problems, especially about Noriko Calderon.

In Japan, a lot of undocumented immigrants exist and they are often deported by the Japanese government. This is international standard and natural stream. However in Noriko’s case, many factors are connected with the problem of whether the government should deport her parents and her or not. Many people claim their opinions and thoughts. People in liberal side often claim that they have lived in Japan for more 15 years and have the basis of their life is in Japan. About Noriko, her identity is Japanese, and the Philippine is a foreign country to her. As the result of it, Japan is her mother country. Noriko has a lot of friends in Japan. It is said that even if Noriko goes back to the Philippines, she cannot assimilate into the society. As a premise, Japan ratifies “the Convention on the Rights of the Child” and “the International Bill of Human Rights”, so deporting them to the Philippines infringes on these treaties and deporting is incorrect way. In Europe, if undocumented immigrants have children, the governments overlook that the governments force them to leave there. Moreover, people in the liberal side claim that after they come to Japan, they don’t commit any crimes, so Japan should admit them to continuing to stay in Japan.

However people in the right wing also have a lot of opinions against Noriko’s case and undocumented immigrants. First one is that to forgive them results in the disorder that the number of undocumented immigrants increases quickly. To admit them means that once they come to Japan and rearrange the basis of their life, they can continue to stay in Japan forever in their lifetime. This results in the disorder of Japanese jurisdiction and becomes a beginning of proliferation of undocumented immigration. Japan is a constitutional nation and if people commit a crime, people must be banished.  This forms a trend that to make a child and free from their crime is triumph. This is not an argument based on emotion. Second is that the Japanese constitution is the highest one in Japan and treaties is the second highest, so international society should not blame Japan. Furthermore, it is unfair for the foreigner which legally came to Japan to admit them.

In conclusion, I think the undocumented immigrants commit a crime when they enter into Japan, but the Japanese government should also rearrange the laws about immigration because the government should take a responsibility that the officer of the Japanese government would kept not to arrest undocumented immigrants. According to it, the Japanese government needs to enact a new law in order not to increase misery children like Noriko. For example, the government punishes immigrants that spent 15 years after came to Japan for the illegal immigration. However the government doesn’t punish more about post entering Japan because they live in Japan for a long time. However the extent of this law is limited toward only immigrants that have already stayed in Japan for more 15 years. Japan faces the time to change the immigration laws. The Japanese government should respond to those problems flexibly. In my opinion, to admit those undocumented immigrants distorts the Japanese jurisdiction and it is an illegal conduct. However Noriko hasn’t committed a crime and has had no choice. According to it, the Japanese government should conducts flexibly in this case though the government also has to take steps in order not to increase the number of the undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented Families in Japan

by Ryoma Kagawa

In 2009, a 13-year-old Filipino girl who was living in Japan was separated from her parents because they had come to Japan in an illegal manner of fake passports. After arriving in Japan, they had lived for about a decade and the girl knew the Japanese culture better than the Philippine culture; for example, she spoke Japanese as well as the Japanese do. However, the arrest of her mother uncovered their secret, and the girl was made to decide whether she would go to the Philippines with her family or she would keep staying in Japan while her family would go back, which she took the former and the family was separated.

If a family in Japan has been found that they have come illegally and their children were very small and had no choice but to follow their parents on their arrival, what should  be done? There are many arguments among the Japanese whether the government should force such undocumented families to return their own countries, allow those children to keep staying, or some other opinions. In my opinion, the government should allow the parents to keep staying with their children until they are 18 years old and then force the parents to return.

The first reason is that the separation of parents has a big influence on their children when they are adolescent. Adolescent children are usually unstable in minds and the role of parents is of great importance here. In the case of the Filipino girl above, on the day of departure, she missed her parents very much and wanted them to stay with her; they also understood her feelings and knew well that she still needed them because she was young. I think that children who grow up through adolescence without parents might behave badly and it will result in bad effects on society. The second reason is that it is a matter of human rights. For instance, children may suffer from mental illness due to the lack of parents nearby, and it may become difficult for them to be educated. I think that the example describes the violation of their human rights by the government.

While the Japanese government should restrict the entry of people in illegal ways from the point of views such as national security, I believe that it should give more consideration to undocumented families who have already come and lived in Japan from the point of views such as influences on society and human rights.


Schoolgirl told to choose: Country or parents. (2009, April 13). CNN. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from


Illegal Immigrants in Japan

by Shoki Fujimoto

As we learned in class, there are some people who are called undocumented immigrants in the world. Most of them came into other countries without necessary qualification, so they are illegal. The reasons why they went into other countries are various. Some people decided to go to foreign countries to get job, money and chance to be successful, and another went over boundaries to escape from the threats of the authority like government by political and religious reasons. There are many cases of undocumented immigrants in the world. In this article, I describe about undocumented immigrants in Japan.

According to the Ministry of Justice, in the case of Japan, there are 67,065 illegal immigrants. The country which produces the biggest number of undocumented immigrants is Korea, and Korean undocumented immigrants account for the quarter of the total amount. The second is China. It produces about 10% of the total. The reasons why they stay Japan illegally are various. The most common one is expire of short stay visa, and it accounts for about 70%. Then, why Japanese government permits this situation? I found interesting political reasons. One of them is that Japanese government would like to avoid political troubles between such countries.

Some years ago, there were many Iranian undocumented immigrants in Japan, and Japanese government made them go out from Japan. However, Iranian government took countermeasures to this. Iran stopped accepting Japanese tourists. What if this happen in Japan and China, Korea? Today, the economic connection between Japan and China, Japan and Korea is necessary. Therefore, if these countries government took countermeasures like Iran, Japanese economy and politics will get big damage. This is the biggest reason, I think.

We studied the case of Noriko Calderon. She is a child of parents who entered Japan with forged passports. Noriko grew up in Japan with Japanese environment, she knows only Japanese culture and speaks only Japanese, so there was a debate on what we should do about her situation. The Japanese government decided ejection of her parents and only permits for Noriko to stay in Japan alone.

It is a very difficult problem, but in my opinion, Japanese government should take a strict stance for illegal immigrants. Needless to say, it is a tragedy for the Calderon family to be forced to be separated, and of course I feel sympathy for her. It sounds merciless, but her parents are criminals. Moreover, I think it is not too much to say that Noriko’s human rights were trampled on her parents’ crime. To protect children’s human rights, Japanese government should take strict stance, and even if Japanese government does not hope to have troubles between illegal immigrants-producing countries, Japan should not be worried because it is not wrong.


Ministry of Justice [] (retrieved June 27, 2013)

Information on migration [] (retrieved June 27, 2013)

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. (last seen on 2012-11-10)

法務省:本邦における不法残留者数の推移. (last seen on 2012-11-10)