Death of a Nepali worker in Japan in Police custody, meagre compensation paid to him, and his torture in custody injects insecurity and fear among Nepalese in Japan

​A portrait of Nepali migrant worker Arjun Bahadur Singh at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday in which Japanese human rights lawyer Yoshihito Kawakami​ announced a lawsuit for 7 million yen in damages from the Japan government for his death in police custody. SAKURA MURAKAMI / JAPAN TIMES​

Kathmandu, Apr 19: Death of a Nepali migrant worker in police custody in Tokyo six years ago, and subsequent order of the court to the Metropolitan government to pay RS. 1,000,000 (1,003,000 Japanese Yens) has injected a sense of insecurity, fear, anger and discrimination among the Nepali workers in Japan.

Arjun Bahadur Singh, a skilled cook under a valid visa, had died in police custody that lasted two days, on March 13, 2017. The Presiding judge who delivered the judgement last month (March 17, 2023) presumed that ‘Hyperkalemia’ –caused by excessive physical restraint using restraints, and its resulting in the rise of potassium in the blood to fatal level – acknowledged that the detention officer failed in judgement to exercise due care in transporting him to the hospital but ruled that the restraints were not illegal.

The presiding judge, applying the ‘mutual guarantee’ of the National Reparations Judge of Japan, ordered the Tokyo Metropolitan government to pay (1,003,000 Yen -RS. ten lakhs Nepali) labeling with the maximum amount of compensation in Nepal, something that Nepali community as well some Japanese find discriminatory and unfair.

” The incident took place in Japan, and he died under custody of Japanese authorities on March 17, 2017. Will an American or a German have been paid more as per their national laws if they were the victims in place of a Nepali?” asks Kyoko Tsukada, a member of the ‘support Arjun Bahadur Singh group’ in Japan.

The group is pleading that the amount of compensation over the loss of life of a worker under valid visa there should not be based on which nationality the victim belongs to, and such an act on the part of the court can only be termed as racial discrimination.

Singh was in possession of credit card which he said he had found it ‘dropped’ somewhere.

The Nepali community is also planning to petition to the government of Nepal to take up the issue with the Japanese government for a fair deal and justice to the family of Singh.

Singh, who had come to Japan on ‘skilled cook visa’–a migrant worker category– was detained at the Shinjuku police station (Tokyo), and died after two days in course of the interrogation procedure in an unfair way, asks Tsukada.