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Immediate Action Call (r)

Ko Tin Kyi,
	As I had said in my previous message, I have 
already sent the fax to The People's Forum on Burma. I hope 
they will forward my letter to Tokyo immigration bureau. I 
have also send a letter to Tokyo Immigration Bureau with 
the address that you provided in your message. I hope it is 
not too for all of us to send pleas to Japanese 
authorities. If we can draw world's attention they can't 
denied our voices. Please let us know if there's anything 
we can do more for Ko Mya Wai and keep updating about his 

In solidarity
Zaw Zaw
Valparaiso University
On Thu, 16 Oct 1997 01:12:19 -0900 tinkyi 
<tinkyi@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> ATTN: All
> Please take a moment to (1) read this important message (if you haven't
> already done so) about Ko Mya Wai, a democracy activist Japan is about to
> repatriate, and (2) write to the Japanese authorities urging them NOT to
> deport him.  Japan is very conscious about its international image, so
> pressure from abroad can make a big difference not only for Ko Mya Wai but
> also the rest of us who have applied for refugee status here.
> Thank you for your support in this critical hour.
> On behalf of (Joint Action Committee-Japan.)
> Metta,
> Tin Kyi ( General Secretary )
> Burma Youth Volunteer Association-Japan
> 1. Introduction
> This is a report on an pro-democracy activist in Japan, Mya Wai, who was
> denied refugee status by the Ministry of Justice of Japan 
> on 13 August 1997 on the ground that the application was not filed within
> sixty days of his entry into Japan. (There is a provision in
>  the Japanese law concerning immigration, so-called "Sixty Days Rule", which
> provides that an asylum seeker must apply for refugee 
> status within sixty days of his entry in Japan, or within sixty days of the
> occurrence of fear of persecution. Japan applies this 
> rule very strictly, and denies refugee status to the vast majority of the
> applications on the ground that the applications were not 
> filed within sixty days of the applicant's entry in Japan, regardless of the
> applicant's fear of persecution.) Mya Wai was
> also denied a special permit (a special residence permit issued by the
> Minister of Justice to those who lack any legal status in Japan),
> and is currently detained by the Immigration authorities.
> Until very recently, Burmese applicants for refugee status were granted
> provisional release on the ground that they were applicants
>  for refugee status. However, although Mya Wai filed a new application for
> refugee status on 21 August, his request for a provisional 
> release was denied on 17 September. This is the first such case where a
> refugeeapplicant was not granted provisional release. We fear 
> that the immigration authorities are changing its policy towards asylum
> seekers to an even more restrictive one than before.
> 2. Mya Wai's activities
> Before Mya Wai arrived in Japan, he was arrested and detained four times for
> participating in demonstrations and distributing fliers. 
> The first time was in 1974 when he was taking part in a demonstration at the
> time of former UN Secretary General U Thant's 
> memorial service. He was detained for six months. Here he was submitted to a
> form of torture where they bound him to a chair, and 
> made drops of water fall on his head from a hole in a jug placed about two
> meters above his head. Mya Wai was not able to move his 
> head as he was bound to a chair, and the water fell on the same spot. As
> time passed the pain became unbearable, and he could not 
> stand even the sound of the water dropping. This went on for a whole day
> from morning to the next morning, and Mya Wai fainted.
> The second time was in 1976 when he participated in the student rally and
> demonstration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 
> birth of Thakin Kodawmaing.
> This time he was detained for four to five months, and he was asked
> questions such as 'Who is the leader of this movement? What does 
> the leader instruct you to do? Are you in contact with the underground
> communists?' He was also hit on the head and kicked by 
> shoes. According to Mya Wai, his hearing was damaged from having his head
> ground against the wall.
> Mya Wai was again arrested on May Day, 1977, for distributing fliers that
> criticized the government's labor policy. They said 
> 'Oh, it is your third time,' and he was put in a punishment cell. He was not
> allowed to talk to anyone, and was not even given food 
> for the first two or three days. This cell was less than one square meter
> big, so he could not sit down and had to keep standing. He 
> did not have access to toilet facilities. He was detained for three months. 
> On 7 July 1978, the anniversary of the students movement, Mya Wai was
> arrested again during a demonstration. When he gave his name as 
> Mya Wai, he was put in a dog cell because it was his fourth time. He was
> detained for four months. 
> 3. Mya Wai's first visit to Japan
> Mya Wai came to Japan in December 1987. When in September 1988 the coup
> occurred in Burma that suppressed the nation's voice crying 
> for democracy, Mya Wai became active as a founding member of the Burmese
> Association in Japan (BAIJ).
> 4. Mya Wai's return to Burma
> Mya Wai returned to Burma in December 1989 because his mother was seriously
> ill. Two weeks after his return, his mother passed away.
> In January or February 1990, an M.I. came in the middle of the night saying
> 'I have some things to ask you,' and took Mya Wai away. Mya 
> Wai was interrogated about the BAIJ. The reason the military knew that Mya
> Wai was a member of BAIJ was because the staff of the 
> Myanmar Embassy in Japan take photographs of the people participating in
> demonstrations in Japan, and Mya Wai was in one of 
> the photographs. Mya Wai was actually shown that photograph. He was asked
> about the BAIJ in general, and especially about what country 
> the BAIJ was related closely to, and what country the BAIJ received
> financial aid from. 
> Mya Wai was detained for about six months. He was made to shout 'Restore
> democracy!' until he was exhausted. He was made to pretend 
> that he was riding on a motorcycle, imitating the sound of the engine with
> his voice, or to pretend to be an airplane.
> Mya Wai was released finally after pledging that he would no longer take
> part in any pro-democracy activities.
> 5. Mya Wai's second visit to Japan
> Mya Wai came again to Japan. After his arrival, he lived with Thein Ngwe,
> who had obtained refugee status in 1993 and was a member of 
> BAIJ. Mya Wai resumed working with the BAIJ as soon as he returned to Japan.
> He became an executive committee member in 1994, and has 
> been since then. Mya Wai participated as an individual in the hunger strike
> that took place in Tokyo on 8 August 1996. An account of 
> this strike including a photograph showing Mya Wai, was carried in 'Myet
> Khin Thit', a semi-governmental publication in Burma.
> Mya Wai was able to communicate with his family until June 1997. The last
> time he telephoned them, he spoke to his wife. However, 
> after the press conference on 27 June 1997 regarding the parcel bomb
> explosion in which the SLORC named Thein Ngwe (mentioned above)
> and Thomas Gon Aung (a refugee applicant) as the senders of the parcel bomb,
> and accused many more members of BAIJ as having 
> conspired in the incident, Mya Wai could no longer communicate with his
> family by telephone. In early July he called the neighbor of 
> his home in Burma who promised to bring Mya Wai's family to the phone at a
> certain time on the next day so that he might speak to 
> them. However, when Mya Wai called the neighbor the next day at the promised
> time, that phone line did not work. 
> 6. Conclusion and request
> It is clear that Mya Wai cannot go back to Burma under such circumstances,
> as it is certain that the SLORC would set him up as 
> having been involved in the parcel bomb plot.It is difficult to understand
> why the Japanese government would not 
> grant refugee status to such a person merely because he did not apply within
> sixty days of his landing in Japan. We can only say 
> that the Japanese standard of granting refugee status is far from the
> standard set in the 1951 Convention.
> For Mya Wai to return to Burma is extremely dangerous. However, Japan would
> even deport a person such as Mya Wai.
> As stated above, Mya Wai is still in detention. Since he was detained, Mya
> Wai's blood pressure has gone up, and his physical 
> condition is by no means good.
> The lawyers' group assisting Burmese asylum seekers is preparing for a
> lawsuit demanding the cancellation of the denial to Mya Wai's 
> application for refugee status. 
> Please send a letter or FAX to the Japanese immigration asking it to
> reconsider Mya Wai's request for provisional release. 
> Sample letter (English)
> Dear Sir,
> I am writing in regard to Mr Mya Wai, a Burmese (Myanmarese) living in
> Japan, whose request for a provisional release was denied on 17 
> September 1997. Mr Mya Wai has been arrested and tortured several times by
> the military junta in his home country Burma (Myanmar), solely because he
> was taking part in pro-democracy activities. It would be extremely dangerous
> for Mr Mya Wai if he should be deported to 
> Burma (Myanmar). Please reconsider Mr Mya Wai's request for provisional
> release. 
> Yours Sincerely,
> Please mail this to:
> Tokyo Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice
> 3-2-21 Nishigaoka, Kita-ku
> Tokyo 115 JAPAN
> FAX should be sent to 81-3-3263-3882 (The People's Forum on Burma). 
> PFB will forward the faxes to the immigration office. 
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Mya Wai, the activist who has been detained by immigration authorities in
> Japan because of lack of legal status in Japan, 
> was transferred to the detention center at Ushiku on 1 October. Transfer to
> the Ushiku center is generally taken as the last step
> before finally deporting the 'overstayer'. 
> (Please see previous posting for Mya Wai's background information.)
> Since he was detained on 13 August Mya Wai had been at the detention center
> at Jujo which is in Tokyo. On 1 October the immigration
> authorities transferred him to the center at Ushiku (about 1.5 hours by car
> from downtown Tokyo). None of Mya Wai's lawyers were 
> informed. 
> On 9 October the lawyers filed two lawsuits on Mya Wai's case against the
> Minister of Justice, one demanding the cancellation of the denial 
> of his application for refugee status, and the other demanding the
> cancellation of the issue of the order to repatriate). Soon after the 
> suits were filed, the Ministry of Justice informed the lawyers that Mya Wai
> will not be repatriated for two weeks, as it would take
> two weeks for the Ministry of Justice to submit a statement in response to
> the suits.
> Mya Wai has a record of arrests and torture by the SLORC when he was in
> Burma because of his participation in pro-democracy activities.
> He is also known to the SLORC as an activist in Japan and his photos have
> appeared in government newspapers in which the SLORC accuses 
> him as having been involved in the parcel bomb incident in April. It is
> extremely dangerous for him to be repatriated, although
> the immigration authorities do not seem to realize this in spite of efforts
> by lawyers and concerned citizens. 
> As stated above, transfer to Ushiku is generally done shortly before
> repatriation. Although the Ministry of Justice has promised not to 
> repatriate him for two weeks, Mya Wai remains in a very unstable condition.
> We are of the opinion that he should be released,
> especially as the recent lawsuits are likely to take at least six months to
> reach any conclusion.
> Please write to the Japanese immigration authorities! Please ask them not to
> repatriate Mya Wai and to reconsider his application for 
> provisional release.
> Please mail to:
> Tokyo Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice
> Keibi-ka (Security Division)
> 3-2-21 Nishigaoka, Kita-ku
> Tokyo 115 JAPAN
> FAX should be sent to 81-3-3263-3882 (The People's Forum on Burma). PFB 
> will forward the faxes to the immigration office. 
> ( The People's Forum on Burma/Lawyers group assisting Burmese applicants for
> refugee status )

Zaw Hlaing
Email: Zaw.Hlaing@xxxxxxxxx
Valparaiso University