Filipino parents to leave Japan; daughter to stay behind

by Kobakila News

TOKYO (March 13) — Noriko Calderon will stay in Japan but her parents, Arlan and Sarah, will have to leave.

After months of uncertainty and pressure from the Japan Immigration Bureau, the couple finally decided to leave their daughter behind, their lawyer said. Noriko, their Japan-born 13-year old daughter, would be staying with relatives of her mother to continue her schooling in the country. The immigration authorities decided to let her stay on humanitarian grounds.

Last week, Arlan was detained and was warned that all three of them would be sent back to the Philippines if he and his wife did not leave.

According to Shogo Watanabe, although there is no scheduled deportation procedure yet of the parents, they planned to leave on April 13. Previously, the Immigration Bureau told the couple it could no longer extend their provisional stay.

The couple, who used false passports to enter Japan 17 years ago, face deportation. Both remained undetected until Sarah was caught two years ago and was detained. She was later released but it led to the discovery by the authorities of their residency status.

The Calderons appealed their case but the Japan Supreme Court denied their petition.  The Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau ordered them to leave Japan with or without their daughter or face deportation even after more than 20,000 people have signed a petition asking the government to allow all of them to stay.

The case has attracted the attention of the UN Human Rights Council, which has asked information about the case, and the London-based Amnesty International including major newspapers that urged leniency for the family.

“The principle of placing the child’s interests first, lies in the very heart of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and simply cannot be put aside. We urge Japan to abide by its international obligations, as well as heed the voice of common sense and basic humanity, and allow the family to stay united in Japan” said Roseanne Rife, Asia Pacific Deputy Programme Director.

Article 9 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, to which Japan is a state party,  provides that “State Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to review determine, in accordance with applicable laws and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs had earlier promised to provide the Calderon family all forms of humanitarian assistance.

Justice Minister Eisuke Mori, in charge of immigration matters, told reporters that the government had done its utmost to help the family.

“I am responsible for protecting Japan’s public safety and social order,” he said. “Despite my sympathetic feelings, I had to consider many elements. I have dealt with the case with ample consideration.”   With AFP Report

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