About 10 foreigners detained at an immigration facility in Osaka held a hunger strike to protest their prolonged detention, their supporters said on Wednesday.
Almost all detainees participating in the hunger strike, which began on Tuesday morning at the Osaka Immigration Department, have been in prison for more than two years, supporters said.
The immigration department declined to comment on the reported hunger strike, saying "there are no situations that need to be made public".
Detainees are demanding that more merchandise be available for purchase at the improved medical facilities and facilities, and urging Japan to stop long detention periods and provide specific reasons when requests for interim release are denied.
An 40 Ugandan man detained for more than two years spoke to a Kyodo News reporter on Wednesday, saying: "We are not criminals, but simply seeking freedom."
“Since Tuesday, we have only drunk water. It's hard, but we have to put up with it, ”he said during an interview at the facility.
This is not the first case of a hunger strike in a Japanese immigration center.
In April last year, more than 40 detainees at the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, went on hunger strike days after an Indian committed suicide on the premises.
The incident occurred in a series of deaths in Japanese immigration facilities that have long been criticized for their poor medical services and long detention periods.
Non-legally resident aliens receiving deportation orders can be detained at 17 immigration facilities throughout Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Ibaraki and Nagasaki.
The Ministry of Justice points to detention as a way to control foreigners in Japan without legal status, but supporters, including lawyers, argue that it should be limited to short periods before deportation.
The UN Committee against Torture has also criticized Japan's long and, in some cases, indefinite detention periods. There is no legal time limit for detention in Japan.