“Japanese” Man Kills Himself to Escape Deportation



The case of a Japanese man who committed suicide rather than be deported to a land he never knew and could not even speak the language of has underscored the tragic consequences of  Japan’s dubious immigration and citizenship policy.

The 25-year-old ethnically Japanese man was originally of Brazilian extraction, but at the age of 5 was taken to Japan by his mother as she went to join her husband, who had already taken up the government’s hungry offer of hospitality to the Brazilian Japanese it needed to man its factories.

For the next 20 years he lived in Japan, not knowing a single person in Brazil and being unable to speak Portuguese. His parents worked at a car factory, but later quarreled and split.

His little sister reports that he was bullied and beaten by delinquent youths on account of his ancestry, and eventually became just such a delinquent – “he was looking for something like a family,” she recounts.

He graduated from middle school. By this time he had been arrested several times for riding a motorbike without a proper license. By the time he was 20 he had met the woman he would marry, but later opted to evade arrest after being cited for further traffic related crimes, in order to keep working off the couple’s debt.

Finally, in 2007 he was arrested for these traffic offenses and possession of illegal stimulants (the most popular kind of illegal drug in Japan).

He was sentenced to 2 years in prison, and whilst in prison his visa came up for renewal. Immigration declined to renew it, and upon release he was detained in an immigration detention centre for being an illegal overstayer. He soon realised he would be unable to return to Japan ever again, as those with criminal records are usually denied entry.

He applied for special leave to remain, but with little hope of success and a forced deportation order looming sunk into depression.

After a call to his sister in which he said “I’ve finally understood the importance of family,” and another to his wife in which he was thought to be under the influence of tranquilisers, Japanese to his last he hung himself and died soon after.

His sister ponders what would happen were the same fate to befall her: “If I was told to return to Brazil… I can’t speak or write Portuguese – I don’t know how I could live there.”

Via the Ibaraki Shimbun (link transient).


The issue of “Nikkei” Japanese-Brazilians themselves is itself a complex one.

Japanese immigration to the Americas in the last century saw large populations of Japanese descent develop in South America as a result of population pressure in Japan, and these to a larger extent integrated into the host nations. The largest such community is in Brazil, numbering several million.

In the 1980s the Japanese government sought to alleviate boom-time labour shortages with immigration; unfortunately the thinking at the time was evidently along racial rather than practical lines, and the government began offering visas and citizenship to those of Japanese blood if they would immigrate back to Japan to do the jobs the Japanese no longer wanted any part of, a process known as “dekasegi.”

The reasoning was that those of Japanese blood would have no trouble turning into dour Japanese workers even if they were largely rowdy Brazilians unable to speak Japanese.

Predictably, this led to major problems, with Japan totally unable to integrate its new population of several hundred thousand “Japanese” Brazilians, and the decline of manufacturing employment and subsequent economic malaise since then led them to become a major liability.

The Japanese government currently offers several thousand dollars to these South American “Japanese” if they will but go back to their countries of origin (and permanently give up their right to return as “nikkei”), demonstrating the total failure of the policy and their intense desire to rid themselves of the fractious lot in favour of other, more useful immigrants (mostly Chinese and Korean).

The case in question is also reminiscent of the recent fate of the Calderon family, a family of Filipino immigrants who illegally resided in Japan for decades, but were finally discovered and a deportation order issued.

However, their daughter 13-year-old Noriko Calderon had in fact been born and raised in Japan as Japanese and knew nothing else, but still held no Japanese citizenship.

She was able to make tearful pleas on television saying “I love Japan” and “I want to be Japanese,” and managed to sway public and official opinion into allowing her to stay, although her family was deported.

Unfortunately for this man, not being a tearful Japanese schoolgirl able to captivate the media and wring an exception from officials seems to have meant no reprieve from being crushed by the implacable cogs of immigration bureaucracy.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    08:12 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    What's the big deal anyway. I admit, he had it tough, but nobody FORCED him to become a criminal. Or can every bullied person break the law whenever they want because the "evil racist xenophobic society" OBVIOUSLY left them no choice?

    People dying is certainly nothing unusual, and I sure as hell won't be crying for some random criminal.

    Feel free to downvote if it makes y'all feel better about yourselves, sure.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:58 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    considering the low birth rate you would think they needed all the people they could get

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:31 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    He didn't want to go back to Brazil, so he chose to go to the Hell.

    Interesting, huh?

    Delinquent, drug trafficant, arrested, deported... Thank you for your wise decision. We've enough delinquents and drug trafficants here in Brazil. We don't need more criminals here... We're satisfied with our own criminals, arrested or not.

    Nothing against his sister. She's welcome. There's a great Japanese community in Sao Paulo, they speak Japanese and she'll be able to gradually learn Portuguese and live here if she wants.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:20 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Who in their right mind would want to live with people like you?

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:51 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    How does it treat against unlawful presence in your country?

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:14 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    this....would.....be.....an........awesome.........movie!, those movies that end like giving you the impression of, wtf? what happens after his?

    epic story would be EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:05 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "2 wrongs don't make a right," as an old response goes:

    The Japanese used his parents for cheap labor in jobs other Japanese didn't want or couldn't find enough warm bodies for; bullied & humiliated him until the only way he could get a semblance of relief was to become like his tormenters; sought to kick him and others like him out once they appeared to become an economic inconvenience.

    For his part, he used the misdeeds of others as an excuse for his own -- even in the face of the fact that people were looking for reasons to justify treating him and others like him badly; he continued to flout the laws of the land he wanted to live in even when it might not have been necessary to do so.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:14 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    wow what a huge drama queen

    Just go to Brazil, live on welfare for a while and get a shitty until you learn Portuguese and can land a better job like tourist guide or even translator.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:27 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    If he went to Brazil he'd be worse off than what he originally was. Something tells me you're not thinking. At all.

    Avatar of smorki
    Comment by smorki
    01:19 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Something tells me YOU'RE not thinking. Just why do you think he'd be better off in the xenophobic Japan that made him miserable?

    Avatar of Ota-Kool
    Comment by Ota-Kool
    04:22 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wonder what happen to Sea Shepherd guy Peter Bethune? If he opted for piracy in Japanese sea maybe he won't be deported.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:46 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He got what he deserved.

    He was a criminal all his life and that is not acceptable. It's not sick, it was his own fault.

    Comment by Dark Mage
    03:36 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    A person who is ostracized by society and bullied as a child often will become a bully and a criminal themselves.

    I seen this all too often in my own country.

    Comment by Dark Mage
    03:30 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What a sad story and I thought the US had bad immigration policies.

    If the CNN is going to rag on Japan about something they should at least choose worthy things like this vs some game.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:59 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, talk about draconian immigration policies. This will guarantee the Japanese population will continue to decline until they are a potential endangered minority.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:02 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    human society is hilarious..

    the circle of life continues...

    Avatar of ----
    Comment by ----
    04:04 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Japanese didn't care about the thousands of foreigners they raped and killed during WW2. They didn't even flinch when their own people lost their properties to North American governments and were put in internment camps (serves them right for abandoning Glorious Nippon, no?). But as soon as Fat Man and Little Boy hit the ground, they finally understood human suffering.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:37 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You're disgusting. War transforms people into animals. Every country was partaking in horrible acts in the east Asian war, including the allies. You think these actions really have relevance to this article anyway? This is an entirely separate issue.

    Xenophobia stems from isolationist policies and perpetuating a bloated sense of national pride. Not war crimes from 70 years ago. You might as well say that all Germany's current problems are because of the minorities they killed in WWII.

    Avatar of ----
    Comment by ----
    07:58 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You didn't get my point: Japan only cares about others as long as they're "full-blooded" Yamato AND born within Japanese soil.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:00 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    you speck like the allies ( note: Mainly AMERICAN ) did not rape and kill Japanese when they occupied japan.

    Oh I forget that they are the victor in the war and so all are right. Yeah, history will never recorded the war crimes they done when they are occupying japan.

    Oh and about North American Japanese, The North America(s) are at war with Japan so yes, we will listen to you asking us not to steal from our people of Japanese immigrant and not to put them in concentration camp. Why its your fault that we steal and imprison them cause you never ask us not to.

    Conveniently that if the North American are so moral and great they wont do so in the first place? Or are they so stupid that they can only think IF they are ask to not do so?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:34 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    People who are blaming the guy for "breaking the law" haven't got the point.

    He was at his worst a small-time delinquent. And I bet only in the end did he realize he was not technicaly a japanese citizen. I doubt he ever realized he could be exiled - for Japan *was* his de facto home country; he lived his entire life there! - on such trivial charges as traffic offenses and possession of stimulants.

    You *don't* forever remove someone from the only environment they know and can live in for such petty charges. That a person living in Japan - generally portrayed as a modern country - might be subject to just that is the true horror of this story.

    On a related note, I am not of Japanese ancestry, but being a brazilian interested in Japanese culture, I have from time to time followed the news on Japan's immigration policies, or lack thereof. Sometimes I wonder, when only about 17 "true" citizens remain on the islands, perhaps then politicians will take the citizenship issue seriously - but then they'll probably offer it to androids rather than let "mainland races" have the same status as them.

    Avatar of Sandalphon
    Comment by Sandalphon
    02:45 08/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I understand why they wanted him out of the country, no matter how small the crime, repeated criminals are generally frowned upon by the Japanese. However, it must have been pretty hard for him to deal with all the xenophobic hatred directed at him, it's only natural he'd turn up like he did.

    All in all, a really sad story, but I don't think we have an "evil" antagonist here

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:47 30/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Poor guy, i'm brazillian and know lots of stories like that... I know, he was a delinquent, but no one likes to being treated like shit.
    Anyway, i also heard stories of japanese people getting really rich and respected here, because they aren't lazy like us.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:06 03/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    its gona be hilarious if theres a rich family that he didnt know about waiting for him in brazil rofl

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:31 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He would do very well in São Paulo with all the japanese comunity there who speak only japanese, and with his deliquency he would problably join one of the many gangs in there.
    Coming from brazil we sure are not gonna miss him.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:36 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sad story.

    I m living japan for now 6 years, European and got J-citizenship 2 year ago. Applied in 2007 and got it 1 year later in 2008.My japanese is not perfect at all and i do not have any relative here.what an injustice you ll tell me.This is case by case.

    But the difference.

    -I work for IT Japanese company since my arrival ---Never been unemployed
    -Never commit crime
    -Never failed to renew my visa.
    -Never failed to pay ward taxes.
    -Paid a veteran attorney for the paperwork of Citizenship application.

    J-immigration is like German Gestapo.it is the most strict immigration system in the world.
    you could have HIV in terminal phase, they could deport and charge you 3.000.000 yen fine, imprison and blacklisting you if you overstay your visa.

    But, Japan is the safest country in the world.
    Loose immigration system countries(France, Belgium,..) are all invaded of undesirable cunts...

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:05 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    We have some Latin-Americans of Japanese descendants living in Canada. Boy, they are more anti-Japan than the Koreans. Scary fact.

    Avatar of clicker3000
    Comment by clicker3000
    Comment by Anonymous
    12:38 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Brazil is not the leper colony some of you posters paint it to be. Sure, it may be poorer than Japan, but I find the people there much more accepting of others, and even a bit happier than people of first world countries. By contrast, the Japanese-Brazilians in Brazil isolate themselves from the rest of the culture, believing themselves purely Japanese while romanticizing Japan, until they actually get there and see for themselves how much more 'Brazilian' they really are.

    It's pointless to say this now. The guy's dead and it really is sad, but so is the Japanese's fear of the inferior brown multitude it regards as the rest of the world.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:10 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Correct, for starters if the situtation was different and he was a 5yo japanese migrating to Brazil by the time he was 7yo he'd be fully adapted to his new country because here we aren't obsessed about someone's heritage to go as far as bullying the person.

    While Japan is one of the most racist and xenophobic country in the world Brazil is one of the less. Too bad nobody told him that.

    Avatar of Manji88
    Comment by Manji88
    10:44 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lesson to be learned: don't be a criminal, and maybe you'll get cut some slack.
    I realize it was the girl's mom that screwed up, but she needs to explain to her daughter how her The mother's) life of crime led to her daughter being taken from Japan and deported. It's the mother who needs to take care of the girl and not Japan.
    We have the same nonsense here in America. People enter illegally, have kids, and they weep tears when they get caught and are shipped back home as illegal aliens. "But my children were born here!" That's nice. And by law, they're welcome to stay here. You, however, are not. We don't reward criminal behavior because you have cute kids. Kids are constantly separated from their parents by the law, when they are imprisoned for drug-dealing, fraud, theft, assault, whatever. Being an illegal immigrant is nothing different. Besides, kids constantly are moved from country to country entirely legally and simply as part of a job-related transfer or a family decision.
    Take-away learning point for these people: you can't always get what you want.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:16 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I sense some sexism at work here.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:26 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    no i sense some stupidity from this man.. renewing visa would not be this hard if he havnt been breaking the law on many occasions...

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:26 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    ... unless a criminal in Brazil. Great! stay in Japan ...

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    19:33 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He should have had a sex change in order to become a 'tearful Japanese schoolgirl'...

    Perversion is power in Japan...

    That said, I hope he rests in peace...

    Avatar of echelon64
    Comment by echelon64
    19:37 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow, this is why I would never like to live in Japan, then again, immigration laws everywhere suck, so god damn...

    Either way, everyone here will still fap to Japanese 2D loli.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:37 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well that is too bad. I can see how fu'ked up the world is all over as well. Living in Texas i am not allowed to live either since i am not from Mexico and part of the Mexico churches. USA is not free, never has been by any means the ruling party is the largest group of people that exist within the areas of the States even if they are not citizens of the USA. So after all the distress and lack of any useful treatment from injuries at the hospital from these people as well, I can easily see how he killed himself. Just like him no one will help, no one can help, its totally fu'ked up everywhere.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:32 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Japan could learn a many things from Englands imigration laws.

    Avatar of Chrono Mizaki
    Comment by Chrono Mizaki
    20:51 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Mass Immigration, that's a fucking great idea! Japan would love Fundamentalist Islamic Extremist!

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:10 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He was just a worthless criminal. He dealed with drugs.

    Glad he killed himself.

    This is why I love Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:33 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They were stims so he can work longer shifts to pay off his debt. What would you do if you had to pay off a debt and had pretty much no one to turn to?

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:30 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sad... I'm a nikkey myself (born in Brazil, 4th generation, japanese descendants) and I can understand the guy.

    Interesting thing is: our laws are pretty lenient on criminals.
    Brazil is a poor country, but with the right mind he wouldn't have problems here.

    The people who are really suffering in Brazil nowadays are those without an education... companies actually having problems finding workers due to lack of education.

    In my hometown for instance, a touristic city, travel agencies were always complaining about not finding japanese speaking people to work as tour guide.

    But yeah, I can understand the guy. Since one of my goals in life is moving from Brazil to Japan...

    Avatar of Tex_Arcana
    Comment by Tex_Arcana
    06:04 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I find it hard to believe that he could do okay in Brazil with no contacts at all or without knowing Portuguese.

    When you know another language, that's an asset, when you know ONLY another language, that's a liability.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:26 10/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    the interest thing is: if he came to Brazil not knowing a single word in portuguese and how is our culture, he would surely be beaten and bullied the same way when he was young in Japan. People here adore taking advantages over the foreigners...

    and his story reminds of the movie *a very good one, imo* Worst By Chance. Just replace the brazilian ethnicity by korean one.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:19 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Brazil is a poor countyr? Since when the 9th richest country in the world is poor?

    There are a lot of social problems, but the country isn't poor. The rest you wrote is correct though.

    But if your life's dream is leaving a country that is expected to be the 5th richest country in the world in 15 years to live in a stagnant economy... Suit yourself.

    The guy had a hard time, but he could be very succesful here and bring his family. He wouldn't be treated as trash.

    Sure, he didn't know a thing about the country, but the first imigrants that came more than 100 years ago didn't either and they were mostly succesful.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:22 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Haha, before talking economics you should first learn the difference between internal product and money per capita.

    Our population is as big as Japan's and yet they are #2 and we're #9.

    Not that bad you'd say? Nope, it's pretty bad, the top 2% richest people in Brazil hold the same share of money that the bottom 50% do.

    Brazil is a poor third world country where the middle class would be "low"class in most first world countries.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:42 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Also: That's how general xenophobia works in Japan.
    This guy lived all his life there.
    He turned up a criminal because of all that bullying in schools (which I know is true because I also know lots of people who were raised there and gone through the exact same problems).
    But on the first oportunity the japanese government had, they labeled him a foreigner "unfit" for japanese society.

    Actually, that's how most countries work.

    They create a subculture that reminds us of some centuries ago (read slavery), with all the prejudice we had back then, relegate them all the hard work while not acknowledging citizenship status, and then when things go wrong people will say they are and behave the way they do because "they are foreigners".

    US, France and several other countries are in the exact same position.
    But mark my words, all those countries will pay the consequences of their actions one day. In fact, some of them are already paying.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:33 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Nothing more,nothing less

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    20:42 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Kicking chronic criminals out of your country whenever you get the chance seems like a good idea.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:45 04/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't know about about the rest of the countries but at least here in Sweden a great majority of our crimes is done by immigrants so we could definitely use a law like that.
    Follow the rules or get prepared to be deported I say.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:14 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    idiot! they become criminals because of the snob, racist way that people like you treat them

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:17 06/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    yeah black the swedes not the assholes braking the law , i hope one day you going to get your ass mugged and violated immigrant from some shit hole . I'd ask your opinion again .

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:29 05/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Do the statistics take immigration violations into account?

    Because that's true in Japan too. But if you remove visa violations, then immigrants are more law-abiding than natives.

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