A Thursday parliament session turned chaotic after Japanese lawmakers passed a bill that would revise a refugee and immigration law that previously allowed asylum seekers to remain in Japan as long as they have a pending application.
What happened: Taro Yamamoto, the Japanese actor who now leads the left-wing, anti-establishment Reiwa Shinsengumi party, was captured on video making a desperate attempt to block the passing of the controversial law in Japan’s upper house on Thursday.
The video shows multiple people restraining Yamamoto, who appeared as Boy No. 5 Shogo Kawada in the 2000 film “Battle Royale,” as he tries to jump through them and towards Hisatake Sugi, chairman of the committee and a member of the House of Councilors.
Key details: The law that the bill would revise does not allow officials to send foreign nationals back to their home countries while their refugee status is pending, thus allowing them to stay in Japan indefinitely. The revision, supported by the ruling the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida-led Liberal Democratic Party and other right-leaning oppositions, would authorize officials to deport asylum seekers who have applied and failed multiple times.
Immigration officials suspect that some migrants are abusing the system by applying multiple times so they can remain in the country. The bill also aims to help prevent overcrowding in detention facilities, among others.
What the opposition is saying: Yamamoto and other lawmakers opposing the bill argue that the bill would put the lives of those seeking asylums in danger through repatriation. They noted that the revision would not protect the rights of asylum seekers and improve their conditions at immigration facilities.
Passing of the bill: While the initial hearing was put on halt following the chaos inside the parliament on Thursday, Japanese lawmakers eventually passed the bill during a Friday session.