(NewsRadio); Japan’s opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) has announced that it would dismiss one of its members from the upper house’s Committee on Judicial Affairs after she was criticized for her remarks about a Sri Lankan woman who died in a Japanese detention facility.
On May 16, Mizuho Umemura, a House of Councillors member for Nippon Ishin, said during the committee deliberations on the bill to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act that a Sri Lankan woman, who died of illness at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau in 2021 at age 33, “may have died from poor health caused by a hunger strike, and in the end, the cause of her death is uncertain.”
At a May 12 plenary session of the upper house, she also said, “It is undeniable that a comment made by a supporter may have given the Lankan the faint hope that she would be released on parole if she became ill, leading to the situation where doctors pointed out the possibility that she was not really sick.”
Supporters of the woman protested against this statement.
Yosuke Takagi, chairman of the policy research council of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s junior coalition partner Komeito, criticized Umemura’s remarks at a press conference on May 17, saying, “They are inappropriate. As a public figure, she should make statements based on facts.”
Kenta Izumi, head of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, also criticized her comments, saying, “I doubt her sense of human rights. There should be no damage to a person’s honor based on speculation, and her statements are problematic.”
Nippon Ishin Secretary-General Fumitake Fujita told a press conference that Umemura will be removed from her position as a member of the Committee on Judicial Affairs of the House of Councillors.
The party will also consider further disciplinary action against her in the future.
Umemura has been elected to the House of Councillors once.
She ran in the party’s leadership election last August but was unsuccessful.
With inputs from Japanese news outlets