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Monday, July 05, 2004

Mainichi Interactive - 6,000 sign for Thai girl to stay

Mainichi Interactive - Top News
6,000 sign for Thai girl to stay

Local government officials submitted a petition with about 6,000 signatures to the immigration authorities Monday, demanding that permanent resident status be granted to a Thai girl living with her grandmother in Tokyo, campaign organizers said.

"Japan is a law-governed state, but I want (the immigration authorities) to put a priority on the happiness of that girl," said Sukehiro Kawasaki, principal of the Arakawa Ward Ogu-Hachiman Junior High School, where the girl is enrolled.

He is one of the officials who sponsored the petition to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau. "It's difficult to change the law, but we'll consider your petition," an immigration bureau official was quoted as telling Kawasaki.

Mevisa Yoshida, 13, came to Japan last year after her parents died in Thailand, and has since been living with her grandmother who is a Thai national. She came to Japan on a short-term visa and has renewed it.

Even though she was adopted by her grandmother's Japanese husband, the immigration bureau has refused to grant her permanent resident status. She fears that she may be deported after her current visa expires Wednesday.

In late June, she filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, demanding that the immigration bureau's decision not to grant her permanent resident status be nullified.

The petition points out that she is now fluent in Japanese after living here for 18 months and has adapted to the regional community and the school and that she has no home in Thailand, and then urges that she be granted permanent resident status.

An official in charge of education administration at the Arakawa Ward Government launched the signature-collecting campaign.

Organizers are continuing the signature-collecting campaign and are poised to submit additional signatures to the immigration bureau. (Compiled from Mainichi and wire reports, Japan, July 5, 2004)

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