In January the media was abuzz with reports over the arrest by Saitama prefectural police of a citizen of the Philippines, who had entered Japan by means of a fraudulent marriage with a Japanese man, after it was learned the individual in question — charged with violation of the alien registration law — had undergone a sex change operation.
Writing in Shukan Kinyobi (Mar. 12), Takehide Mizutani notes that cases of fraudulent marriage have soared since March 2005, when Japan’s Ministry of Justice, in response to criticisms of Japan’s abetting human trafficking by the U.S. State Department, cracked down on admission of women from the Philippines.
In 2004, a record high of 85,000 “entertainer” visas had been issued to Filipinas. The following year the number had fallen to half and has continued to decline.
One result of the tightening restrictions was a surge in spurious marriages with Japanese males. In 2005, some 10,200 couples tied the knot — a rise of 20 percent over the year before and the first year ever to exceed 10,000. Last year as well the number is said to have risen by 20 percent amount.
The process is abetted by marriage brokers who circulate in Manila’s bar districts searching for women willing to take a chance on a job in Japan.
The prospect of repatriating several million yen, which would enable their families to live in relative luxury, apparently makes it worth the risk.
Mizutani introduces a woman named Karen (a pseudonym) who last July wed a Japanese gent 30 years her senior. After a civil wedding, a party was held for several dozen friends and family members. The two barely spoke.
Karen was already lined up to work at a hostess club in the Kansai area, with a contract, conditions and precautions to prevent her from reneging on the deal. She was told that as long as Japanese immigration could not come up with watertight evidence to show she was living apart from her husband, she could maintain the ruse.
A Japanese source involved in such investigations tells Mizutani that “questioning over just a few days is usually insufficient to enable prosecution, and in some cases investigations took months, or even years to wind up.”
“It’s a cumbersome process,” he adds.
Even though these impoverished Filipinas know they are breaking the law, their earnings in Japan are still better than what they could earn back home. Some 8 million, nearly one-tenth of that country’s population, now works abroad, many at menial jobs to support their families. Despite the risks involved, it’s unlikely they will abandon efforts to gain entry to Japan. (W.W.)
Source: “Dekasegi no tame giso kekkon suru mazushii onna tachi,” Shukan Kinyobi (Mar. 12, page 13)