Prosecutors in Nagoya said Friday they have decided not to charge officials at an immigration center in the central Japan city for the second time over the 2021 death of a Sri Lankan detainee despite her family's repeated calls for them to be indicted.
The decision by the Nagoya District Prosecutors' Office effectively ends its probe into the case of Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, who died at age 33 in March 2021 while in detention at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau after complaining of ill health for around a month.
In June last year, prosecutors dropped charges against 13 immigration bureau officials over allegations of murder and abandonment resulting in death after a criminal complaint filed by the family.
A citizens committee for the inquest of prosecution in Nagoya said the prosecutors should reconsider whether they can charge the officials, including the director at the time, for professional negligence resulting in her death.
Prosecutors relaunched their investigation into the case but said Friday they could not specify "causes of her death or developments leading to her death" and therefore could not conclude whether the immigration officials were able to foresee the worsening of her condition.
Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer representing the family, said in a statement that the prosecutors "covered up and disregarded a crime committed by those in power."
"We will continue to fight to hold them accountable," he said.
The Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau said it is not in a position to comment on the prosecutors' decision.
Wishma arrived in Japan in 2017 as a student but was later taken into custody at the immigration facility for overstaying her visa.
The family also filed a lawsuit against the central government in March last year, seeking damages over her death. In the ongoing suit, they allege Wishma was illegally detained and died due to lack of necessary medical care.
Wishma's death sparked scrutiny of Japan's treatment of foreign detainees and triggered calls demanding more information about her death.