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Immediate Action Call (r)
- Subject: Immediate Action Call (r)
- From: mikio@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 09:10:00
Dear Tin Kyi,
In response to your appeal, I sent a fax message to the Tokyo Immigration
via People's Forum on Burma. Aother effective way to influence the Japanese
Government may be to send an e-mail of similar contents to the Official
Residence of Japanese Prime Minister: <jpm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>. PM is more
vulnerable to international pressure than the head of the Immigration. So,
let us try!
> 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
> 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.)
> 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",
> provides that an asylum seeker must apply for refugee
> status within sixty days of his entry in Japan, or within sixty days of
> 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
> 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
> 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
> participating in demonstrations and distributing fliers.
> The first time was in 1974 when he was taking part in a demonstration at
> time of former UN Secretary General U Thant's
> memorial service. He was detained for six months. Here he was submitted
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> '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
> 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
> 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
> He became an executive committee member in 1994, and has
> been since then. Mya Wai participated as an individual in the hunger
> 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
> 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
> 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
> time, that phone line did not work.
> 6. Conclusion and request
> It is clear that Mya Wai cannot go back to Burma under such
> as it is certain that the SLORC would set him up as
> having been involved in the parcel bomb plot.It is difficult to
> why the Japanese government would not
> grant refugee status to such a person merely because he did not apply
> 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
> even deport a person such as Mya Wai.
> As stated above, Mya Wai is still in detention. Since he was detained,
> 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
> the military junta in his home country Burma (Myanmar), solely because he
> was taking part in pro-democracy activities. It would be extremely
> for Mr Mya Wai if he should be deported to
> Burma (Myanmar). Please reconsider Mr Mya Wai's request for provisional
> 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 TRANSFERRED TO USHIKU!! +
> 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
> 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
> at Jujo which is in Tokyo. On 1 October the immigration
> authorities transferred him to the center at Ushiku (about 1.5 hours by
> from downtown Tokyo). None of Mya Wai's lawyers were
> 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
> will not be repatriated for two weeks, as it would take
> two weeks for the Ministry of Justice to submit a statement in response
> 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
> 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
> We are of the opinion that he should be released,
> especially as the recent lawsuits are likely to take at least six months
> reach any conclusion.
> Please write to the Japanese immigration authorities! Please ask them not
> 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
> refugee status )