Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Japanese ruling may split family

Noriko Calderon (R) with father in Tokyo (10 Feb 09)
Noriko Calderon faces being left alone in Japan or deported with her parents

The Japanese government has ordered the parents of a young Filipina to leave the country within two weeks.

Arlan Cruz Calderon said his 13-year-old daughter, Noriko, was too young to be left to fend for herself.

Noriko was born and raised in Japan and speaks only Japanese but now faces being left behind or being deported.

Her parents entered Japan in the early 1990s with illegal passports and stayed undetected until two years ago when her mother was arrested and later released.

Human rights activists have urged the government to let the family stay together.

News reports suggested that Japan, which imposes tight controls on immigration, was likely to allow her to stay to complete her studies.

Family divided?

The daughter has made a public appeal to authorities not to split her family apart.

But Justice Minister Eisuke Mori, who oversees immigration, told reporters: "I have decided not to grant a special residential permit to the entire family."

A leading human rights lawyer handling the case said the immigration bureau had told the parents they had until 27 February to choose a departure date.

The immigration authorities warned that Noriko's 36-year-old father could be detained if he refused to leave.

"We accept neither the deportation of the whole family nor sending back only the parents," said lawyer Shogo Watanabe.

He said he would continue negotiating for the parents to be allowed to stay at least until the daughter was older.

Noriko's father said: "She is 13 years old. She cannot survive or protect herself alone."

Mr Watanabe said about 500 families were in the same situation as the Calderons.

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