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Prosecutors will drop the case against a detained Sri Lankan in Japan.


According to sources, public prosecutors in Japan will drop their case against senior officials from the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in connection with the death of a Sri Lankan woman at an immigration detention facility.

Wishma Sandamali, 33, died in March 2021 at a bureau-run facility, sparking widespread outrage over her mistreatment.

In response to criminal complaints from Wishma’s family and others, the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office launched an investigation into whether the senior officials in charge at the time committed murder or negligence as a guardian resulting in death.

According to sources, the prosecutors’ office concluded that criminal liability cannot be established in this case after discussions with a higher-ranking prosecution office.

The decision is expected to be communicated to those who filed the criminal complaints, including Wishma’s family members, no later than June 17.

This effectively ends the investigation into the senior officials’ criminal liability.

Wishma arrived in Japan as a student in June 2017, according to a report compiled by the Immigration Services Agency in August of last year.

She was detained at the facility after being arrested in August 2020 for overstaying her visa.

Her health rapidly deteriorated in the facility, and she began to complain of nausea and loss of appetite in mid-January 2021.

Her urine test revealed that she was starving on February 15, 2021, 19 days before her death.

She became even more ill after that and died on March 6, 2021.

Wishma died of an illness, according to the report, but “multiple factors may have caused her death, and it is difficult to determine which one was the cause.”

Her family members insist that if she had received proper medical treatment, such as an intravenous drip or hospitalization, she would not have died.

They filed a criminal complaint with the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office in November 2021 against the then-chief of the bureau, the person who served as the detention facility’s chief guard on the day of her death, and other officials.

They claimed that the officials killed her out of willful negligence and didn’t care if she died.

Previously, in June 2021, a member of the teaching staff at a Nagoya university filed a criminal complaint against the bureau’s officials with the same district public prosecutors office, alleging their actions amounted to death by aggravated abandonment.

Wishma’s family members are also suing the state for 156 million yen ($1.17 million) in damages, and that case is still pending in Nagoya District Court. (THE ASAHI SHIMBUN)

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