A survey by the Immigration Services Agency released on March 27 showed that out of all the foreign nationals who were detained in immigration facilities due to reasons such as illegal residence in Japan, 235 people went on hunger strike between June 2019 and the end of January 2020.
Hunger strikes increased between June and September 2019 mainly because of attempts to gain temporary release. After September 2019, the number of hunger strikes declined. The immigration agency explains that “methods such as persuasion are having an effect.”
The nationality that conducted the greatest number of hunger strikes was Iranians, at 63 people. These include individuals whom the Iranian government is refusing to claim as citizens. This number was followed by Sri Lanka (25 people) and Turkey (20 people). As of the end of January 2020, there were 8 people on hunger strike.
The immigration agency is enhancing its hunger strike countermeasures through increasing the number of times that officers persuade detainees and providing counseling by clinical psychiatrists and doctors.