MALAYA: RP diplomats in Japan ill-equipped to help distressed OFWs — Migrante

March 26, 2008

MIGRANTE International on Tuesday claimed the Philippine diplomatic mission to Japan is ill-equipped to handle OFW welfare issues, including the recent murder of Cristina Mahusay Lopez-Nagano and her seven-month old son Naomasa Nagano.

Cristina’s husband Masayushi Nagano is now in police custody after surrendering and admitting to killing his wife and infant son last March 17.

Migrante chair Connie Bragas Regalado said “more than the repatriation of their remains, it is incumbent on the DFA and the Arroyo government to ensure justice is served and that similarly tragic events do not befall other Filipinas in Japan.”

Regalado said abuse and domestic violence against Filipinas in Japan is a “long-standing problem. It is abhorrent that until now, the DFA still has no concrete measures in place that will provide immediate relief to Filipina victims of abuse.”

As of 2006, almost 79 percent or 152,310 out of 193,488 documented Filipinos in Japan were female. This count does not include an estimated 240,000 undocumented Filipinos there.

Citing a report by the Kalipunan ng Filipino Nagkakaisa (KAFIN), Regalado criticized the lack of shelter for distressed OFWs in the Philippine embassy and consulates in Japan. “There is only one OWWA welfare officer based in the Tokyo embassy,” Regalado said.

Regalado said policy changes are needed to ensure Filipinas are not imprisoned in abusive marriages because of fears they may be deported if they leave their Japanese husbands. She said that while Japan has a law against spousal violence, domestic violence is not considered a criminal offense.

KAFIN also said that Filipinas divorced from their Japanese husbands run the risk of being deported since they do not enjoy permanent resident status and their stay in Japan is dependent on their ties to their husbands. The group said an application to stay after getting divorced only applies to Filipinas who serve as the custodial parent of the child produced during the marriage.

“The reality of how a majority of Filipinas in Japan are entertainers also fuels their vulnerable status because from the onset, they occupy a marginalized position that is ripe for exploitation and maltreatment by the Japanese men they meet in the nightclubs,” Regalado said.