Immigration chief calls for detainee care improvement

Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) — Japan needs to improve medical care at immigration detention centers, the head of the country’s recently created Immigration Services Agency said, following widespread criticism of the care available to detainees.

Japan’s detention system for those who have violated immigration law or whose applications for asylum have been rejected has been widely criticized for its medical standards, monitoring of detainees and response to emergencies.

In June, a Nigerian man who had been on a hunger strike died at an immigration center, becoming the 15th death since 2006.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday the agency’s commissioner, Shoko Sasaki, declined to comment on specific cases but said, “In the area of medical care, we don’t think that care provided is sufficient and there are further improvements to be made.”

Sasaki cited the need to hire more full-time doctors at the centers, a challenge she said was also faced by prisons, the need to improve communication between staff and visiting physicians, and the need to increase the number of hospitals that accept detainees as patients.Speech

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