Japanese high court orders govt. to pay damages for Cameroon detainee's death

A Japanese high court has ordered the government to pay damages for the death of a Cameroonian man in 2014 who was detained at an immigration facility in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The Tokyo High Court on Thursday ordered the government to pay 1.65 million yen, or about 10,700 dollars, to the man's mother.

The man was detained at the Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ushiku City in 2013 while applying for asylum status. The 43-year-old man died at a hospital in March 2014. His mother sued the Japanese government for failing to provide the necessary medical treatment.

In the first trial, the Mito District Court ordered the government in 2022 to pay 1.65 million yen in damages for negligence in not calling an ambulance. Both sides appealed the ruling.

In the second trial on Thursday, Presiding Judge Masuda Minoru pointed out that on the night before his death, the man looked exhausted and in pain, and said, "I'm dying." Masuda said the center's staff should have recognized that his life was at risk and they should have called an ambulance.

Masuda also said the man's condition may not have deteriorated if he had been transported by ambulance for treatment. Masuda went on to say the center's staff have an obligation to maintain the health of detainees, and their degree of negligence is not light.

The Immigration Services Agency said it will examine the ruling and respond appropriately.