TOKYO, April 17 (Xinhua) -- More than 40 foreigners being held at an immigration facility northeast of Tokyo have been staging a hunger strike to highlight their prolonged detention and the apparent callous attitude of staff concerning the recent suicide of an Indian man there, local media reported Tuesday.
The hunger strike by the detainees began on Sunday at the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, with the more than 40 detainees refusing food in the morning although accepting water and tea, local media quoted an advocate for the group as saying.
The hunger strike comes on the heels of an Indian man in his 30s hanging himself in a shower room on Friday after his request to be provisionally released was rejected. An hour after being taken to hospital, the man was pronounced dead.
The hunger strikers have voiced their indignation at staff at the facility, which holds 335 foreigners, including asylum seekers, claiming they were insensitive to the circumstances leading up to the Indian man's suicide.
The group's advocate said the man was despondent at his situation, with Kyodo News quoting a doctor familiar with immigration detainment as saying that the hunger strike shows the detainees are "psychologically devastated."
The latest suicide was not an isolated incident and their have been multiple deaths at immigration centers in Japan, including the Ushiku center where a Vietnamese man in his 40s died after complaining of a medical issue and not receiving the requisite treatment by staff in 2017.
At the same facility close to Tokyo, a Cameroonian man in his 40s died in 2014 after allegedly being ignored by staff after complaining of a health issue.
Many foreigners detained in Japan under deportation orders for residency violations can be denied provisional release and kept indefinitely under Japanese law.
Some detentions can last for years with advocacy groups and lawyers maintaining that those violating immigration laws should be kept for shorter periods before being deported.
The UN Committee Against Torture has denounced Japan's long and sometimes indefinite holding of foreigners in breach of immigration laws, and the detention facilities in Japan have been long been criticized for providing poor medical treatment to detainees with health issues.