Monday, May 16, 2011

After the International Symposium

This is Son who has been volunteering at APFS from the end of last year. At this time, I had the most important role ever since I had started volunteering because I speak Korean. We invited the guest from Korea for this symposium, and I worked as her language assistant. I’m going to introduce about how the symposium was held as a volunteer.

On May 1st, we held the international symposium, “Support the Lives of Foreign Citizens-from Viewpoint of the Experience of Japanese and Korean Support for  “undocumented foreigners” (foreigners who live in Japan without residential status) -“. We invited the guest from Korean NGO, ”Asia Chang”, which supports the undocumented foreigners and reported the current situation of the supporting activity in both countries. First of all, the lawyer, Genichi Yamaguchi, traced the history of special permission for residence from viewpoint of the law. Secondly, the representative of APFS, Jotaro Kato, reported how APFS had been consulted on difficult problems and drew their road map. I keenly realized that there were so many problems that needs to be solved even if “The Guideline of the Special Permission for Residence” had been revised. The separation of family, The refuse for special permission for residence even the children grew up in Japan, putting foreigners who entered Japan in the irregular way into the custody, and the prejudice against them…I acutely aware of the necessity of undertaking whatever I can do.

Thirdly, the member of Korean NGO, Young A. Lee, talked about their activities. Surprisingly, Korean supporting activity is much further than Japanese one. They supports immigrants actively such as holding language lessons for immigrant, running portal site and sustaining community. On the other hand, comparing to Japan, the number of undocumented foreigners in Korea is higher than Japan and children whose parents are undocumented can’t get graduation certificate. I felt that both countries should cooperate each other to solve their own problems and overcome them.

Lastly, the reporter, Yukiko Sazanami, reported the lives of children who were deported to Philippines from Japan. I noticed that the theory children can be accustomed to new environment because they have high adaptation ability is wrong. They face the obstacles of language, culture and making friends. Under such a hard environment, children strive toward comfortable niche. “I’m going to be a bridge between Japan and Philippines someday”. I felt chagrin and hope for the future at the same time.

After the panel discussion, Professor Watado gave chance to a girl who was struggling to gain special permission for residence. Ms. Mary Jane Parnes Garcia who gained special permission for residence at last cheered her up. “How hard it is, how long it takes, the day we all become happy must come. Hang on together by that day.” Everyone in the symposium must have gotten energy from her. 

It’s probably difficult to perfectly understand their pain. However, I’m going to face what I can do for them and do my best until the day everyone feels happy for real comes.