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Japan immigration

Japan shelves immigration bill with controversial refugee changes

Amendment would have sped up deportations of asylum seekers

The family of Wishma Sandamali visits the Immigration Services Agency of Japan in Nagoya. Sandamali died in March, turning a spotlight on Japan's handling of refugees.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- The Japanese government has shelved a bill that would have changed the country's immigration laws, in response to a parliamentary and public outcry over certain provisions seen as unfriendly toward refugees and asylum seekers.

A lower house committee was due to vote on the amendment bill this week, pushing it toward final passage. But opposition gained ground after the death in March of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman. Advocates say detention officials in the city of Nagoya failed to provide Sandamali appropriate medical treatment when she complained of stomach pains and other symptoms.

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