Japan and Vietnam have agreed to sign a bilateral treaty for the mutual repatriation of sentenced persons, the Justice Ministry said Thursday.
The treaty will give convicted Japanese and Vietnamese nationals the chance to serve out their prison sentence in their home country, in the hopes that this will facilitate a smoother return to society.
The ministry estimates that as of the end of March, there were 133 Vietnamese nationals convicted in Japan, making them the third largest nationality among foreign prisoners in the country.
As Vietnam is not a member of the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, which allows for the repatriation of prisoners between signatory countries, a separate agreement has to be made.
Japan has signed bilateral treaties with Thailand, Brazil and Iran, with negotiations for a similar agreement with China under way.
Since putting into force a domestic law based on the Council of Europe treaty in June 2003, Japan has returned a total of 429 sentenced foreigners to their respective countries. In contrast, only 10 Japanese nationals sentenced in foreign countries have been repatriated.