HC Deb 08 March 1954 vol 524 cc1720-1
16. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the bad conditions in which several British seamen are detained in an immigration camp at Yokohama; what representations have been made to the Japanese authorities; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Three British seamen are detained in the Immigration Centre at Yokohama: two of these men are recent arrivals while the third is reluctant to leave Japan. Foreign seamen who miss, or desert from, their ships are regarded under Japanese law as illegal immigrants and are detained at Yokohama until they find sea-going employment or are repatriated. The Immigration Centre is a central institution designed to meet the needs of non-Japanese seamen. The British Consul has visited it several times, and reports that conditions are not unsatisfactory. The Consul maintains close liaison with the Japanese authorities concerned and British seamen are allowed access to the Consulate. In all the circumstances, I am not aware of any grounds on which representations could be made.

Mr. Driberg

Could the hon. Gentleman say how the Consul defines the term "not unsatisfactory"? Did he see the detailed reports in reputable newspapers of the extremely bad conditions?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Yes, Sir. The Consul has himself visited this institution. Those who dwell there are allowed to choose their meals, a Japanese doctor visits the place every day and the Consul himself keeps in very close touch.

Mr. Shinwell

Since, presumably, these seamen are members of the National Union of Seamen, can the hon. Gentleman say whether that organisation has made any representations to the United Kingdom Government on this matter?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

So far they have not done so.