Jail cells in Japan for foreigners seemingly resemble small flat
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Jail cells in Japan for foreigners seemingly resemble small flat

Jail cells in Japan for foreigners look like small but cosy flat

A recent media tour has given the public a rare glimpse into inmate life in Japan. An image of one of the jail cells housing foreigners in Fuchu Prison in Japan shows it seemingly resembling a small but cosy flat.

The prison has added many options to accommodate its foreign inmates, but is still quite strict compared to its contemporaries.

A clean, tidy prison with choices to accommodate foreign inmates

Fuchu Prison in Tokyo is an all-male prison that houses about 1,200 inmates. It is the first prison in Japan to set up an international division aimed at supporting the lives of foreign inmates. The division is responsible for tasks like interpreting different languages to investigating treatment of foreign prisoners.

According to Japan Times, there are 353 foreign inmates in Fuchu Prison as of December 2023. Chinese inmates are the largest group, making up just over 20%.

Source: @japantimes on X

To accommodate its foreign population, Fuchu Prison often gives its foreign inmates their own cell, while most of the Japanese population stay in shared cells. This is to avoid cultural clashes, said the prison. Foreign inmates are even given the choice of having a bed instead of the usual futon mattress.

Other ways the prison accommodates its foreign inmates is by giving them dietary choices like halal or vegetarian meals. Monthly prayer sessions, foreign language newspapers, and the option to call their family overseas are also offered to foreign inmates.

A very strict daily routine

Despite its clean and hotel-like appearance, the daily routine for inmates is strict. In the French documentary “Enquête sur les prisons et la justice du Japon“, inmates can be seen following a very precise daily regimen.

The inmates begin their day with breakfast, then they must thoroughly clean their cells. In an army-like manner, everything must be in their proper spots. Bed sheets must be folded uniformly and each sheet must be placed in a certain order. Guards will check that everything is in order, and mistakes are punished.

Source: @japantimes on X

They then proceed to spend their day at the workshop where they will perform a multitude of tasks, from making furniture to repairing cars. However, they must do this in complete silence as talking with other inmates is not allowed during these hours.

In the evening, they have leisure time where they can do things like karaoke. Inmates are also encouraged to study during off work hours. Then its lights out at 9pm on the dot.

The strict rules are hard even for Japanese inmates. “Honestly, it’s very hard to be unable to talk normally,” an inmate said.

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Featured image adapted from @japantimes on X. 

 

 

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