I first began visiting the immigration facility in Ushiku as a volunteer and was deeply affected by hearing the stories of some of the people being detained. It was only then that I began to think about how to use the power of film to bring this story to the attention of the Japanese public and the world. My motivation was not to make a film, but rather as a witness to human rights violations, I felt morally compelled to document evidence in the form of filming the detainees’ testimonies; to document their truth.
The death of Wishma Sandamali Rathnayake in March 2021, who had been detained for 7 months at an immigration centre in Nagoya, and the deaths of 16 others over the past 15 years, demonstrates why so many supporters are concerned about the health and wellbeing of people suffering in indefinite detention Japan.
Most of the family names and nationalities of the participants in the film are not revealed, nor is the reason why they applied for refugee status in Japan. This is to protect them as much as possible.
The participants have given their consent to have their faces shown, their voices heard and their stories shared. I am deeply grateful for their trust in sharing their truth, despite the risks. I pray their courageousness and strength will inspire all who witness it to work towards addressing the injustices around them.