Japanese citizens could be deported for participating in nuclear power protest

Staff Writer, with CNA

Mon, May 02, 2011 - Page 1

Two Japanese citizens could be deported for attending an anti-nuclear power rally in Taipei on Saturday, because officials said their participation in the protest was contrary to the stated purpose of their visit to the country.

The National Immigration Agency yesterday said it would assess police video footage of the protest and will decide whether to deport Ayako Oga and Saeko Uno.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday to urge the government to stop construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), and pursue a more sustainable energy policy.

Among them were Oga and Uno, who are both from Fukushima Prefecture where the March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused severe damage to a nuclear power plant and led to the worst nuclear power crisis in Japan’s history.

The two Japanese made comments and sang at the rally, but police said this was against regulations since the two women were in the country on tourist visas.

City police warned the pair that they risked breaking the law, but Oga and Uno, in their late 30s, remained at the rally.

The agency said their actions were in violation of Article 29 of the enforcement rules of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法), which bars foreign nationals from taking part in activities or work that does not match the stated purpose of their visit.

However, an agency official said the pair’s anti-nuclear stance was understandable in light of the disaster that had occurred in their hometown.

Based on human rights considerations and video evidence produced by the city police, the agency would decide whether to deport the pair, the official said.

“We will not force them to leave the country simply because they said a few words on stage [at the rally],” the official said.