In 2004, Ismail (Alias) found himself stranded in Tokyo for the second time. Once the Japanese government welcome him and gave him the privilege to reside and work in Japan, this time in the 21st century, the answer from the immigration is NO. Originally from war torn Somalia, Ismail arrived in Japan more than 10 years ago. Once he left Japan, it seemed almost impossible to have his foot in this land again….     日本語

AJC --- Ismail, when did you arrive in Tokyo?

Ismail -- I came to Japan in May this year for the second time. I actually came here first back in 1993. At that time, my father was in Japan working with JICA. So I came here as a refugee and stayed for 3 years. Then one day, my mother passed away so I went back to Ethiopia where she was. And while my stay in Ethiopia, my bag including my passport and money and all the papers was stolen. So it was really hard for me to come back to Japan after that. I had to wait for 8 years. Now I'm back in Japan and I thought the Japanese government would give me the permission to stay and work here. They have my name registered in data and know what happened to me. But now they refused. .

AJC --- They refused? You mean the immigration bureau in Shinagawa?

Ismail -- Yes, the interview was at Shinagawa. They tricked me there. They used difficult languages to confuse me and so on. At first they looked like they were willing to help me, but they put me in a situation without any help. So I'm staying in Tokyo with a friend and fighting for my case right now.

AJC --- What happened to your father?

Ismail -- My father left before I did. I left Japan in 1996 and he left a year before.

AJC --- So you don't have any relatives here now.

Ismail -- Everybody left since then. Many of my friends are all gone.

AJC --- This year, the government and the immigration bureau are having this campaign to drive out the foreigners without the proper status. It must have been a bad timing.

Ismail -- I waited 8 years to come back to Japan. I still owe money to the people who helped me to fly over here. I convinced them that I would get the job here and pay them back. Now they want their money back. If I can get a job, there won't be any problem.

AJC --- But you are still trying to regain the status you had before you left.

Ismail -- Now the immigration bureau is telling me that I have to make an appeal. But they said that I have to get a lawyer to do so.

AJC --- OK. We will try to find someone. Japan is having a hard time economically, so the policy against foreigners is getting strict nowadays.

Ismail -- If you think Japan is having a hard time, how do you describe what we are going through in Somalia…

AJC --- Yes, Japanese still have food and luxuries…So now what's going to happen? The government is at least allowing you to stay for a while?

Ismail -- The immigration bureau has given me this document for the stay. Until the case is settled, they cannot deport me. But it's not the working permission.

AJC --- How long will it take to regain the status you once had.

Ismail -- I don't know. Right now I am going door to door asking for some work, but no luck.

AJC --- It's got to be so difficult. And you need to find a place to stay too. How about food? Do you eat Japanese food?

Ismail -- Yes I do. I eat rice and I like the way fish is cooked here. I like Udon. I can eat Ramen, no problem.

AJC --- Good. If you can eat that kind of food, you can survive in Japan, I'm sure. Are you Christian? There are many churches in Japan, they may help you as well.

Ismail -- No, I'm Muslim.

AJC --- There are some mosques here too. There is one in Yoyogi I think. I also know some Africans that are Muslims. They are having a Ramadan right now. But I will introduce them to you. So all the good luck to you and we will follow your case and help you for sure.

Ismail -- Thank you.

We called to find a lawyer for him the next day. But he needs basic things to live. A place to sleep, food, money……But what he really needs is job to pay him. So if you are willing to help Ismail from Somalia, please contact AFRICA J-CONNECTION today.


Unfortunately he was captured by the Tokyo Immigration Bureau in Shinagawa in late January 2005. He has been detained there since. We have received a letter from him asking for help. He now wants to get out of Japan and go to Australia. But he does not have the money to buy a ticket. If you want to help him rebuild his life there, please send donation.


We were able to raise money to get him an airline ticket to Austraria. I visited him on 3/24 and again on 4/7 to hand him the donation. I will never forget his smiling face when he found the money I handed out (also I asked him to call me collect 3 times a week during the period). We said goodby in a sence of hope. It still leaves a scar on my mind that there might be many more people like him. I did the best I could as a Japanese. But probably it is just one of many unfortunate cases. It is such a shame what we did to him as the Japanese society. (Nick Matsumoto)


























我々はこのインタビューの翌日、弁護士協会に連絡を取った。協会の方々の暖かいご支援があり、11月下旬現在、弁護士の協力を得ることはできる見通しとなった。しかし彼が必要としているのは生活に必要な最低限のことである。寝る場所、食べ物、お金・・・そして何よりも稼げる仕事。ソマリアからやって来たイスマイルさんに協力してくださる方は我々”AFRICA J-CONNECTION”までご連絡ください


残念ながらこの後、彼は入国管理局に捕らわれてしまい、現在(2005年2月28日)も収監されています。日本に住むのは諦めてオーストラリアに移住したいと考えているようですが、その飛行機代もなく、1ヶ月以上も監禁されています。せめてその飛行機代の一部だけでも何とかしてあげたいと思う方は我々”AFRICA J-CONNECTION”までご連絡ください。


私たちは、彼がオーストラリアへの航空券を確保するための金銭を調達することができました。寄付金を渡すために3/24、そして4/7に東京入国管理局へ彼を訪ねました。彼がそのお金を見た時の笑顔を、私は忘れないでしょう(その期間、私にコレクトコールで週3回電話するように伝え、彼の希望をつないだつもりです)。そして私たちは新たな出発でもある、さようならを言い、別れました。まだ彼のような悲惨な状況に追い込まれている外国人は多数、いるかもしれない・・・・。私は日本人としてできる最善を尽くしましたとは考えています。しかし恐らく、それは多くの不運なケースの1つ、氷山の一角なのでしょう。私たちが日本の社会として彼に行ったこと、それは恥ずべきことだと思っております。 Nick Matsumoto