TOKYO: Japanese authorities yesterday arrested 28 Asians, mostly Chinese, employed by factories linked to the country's top mayonnaise maker as the government stepped up a crackdown on illegal foreign workers.
The move follows a call by a ruling party panel for tighter controls on immigration and tourism after reports that al-Qaeda may have set up a network in Japan.
Police and immigration officials launched joint raids late on Monday on factories related to Q.P. Corp a household name for mayonnaise in Japan that were suspected of employing foreigners without proper visas, an immigration official said.
In all, 26 Chinese 18 men and eight women and two Mongolian men were arrested, she said.
They included people who had stayed in Japan after their visas had expired and others who had been working at the factories after entering Japan on student visas, the official said.
No one was available for comment at Q.P. Corp.
A source close to the investigation said the foreigners would probably be deported after thorough questioning.
Under Japanese law, employers that take on illegal immigrants face up to three years in prison or fines of up to three million yen (RM102,600).
Government officials estimate there are more than 200,000 foreigners staying illegally in Japan.
However, Japanese officials said there was no link between the arrests and an investigation into a possible network linked to al-Qaeda.
Eight people have been arrested as part of an investigation into the activities of Lionel Dumont, an Algerian-born French national suspected of delivering equipment and funds to al-Qaeda while living in Japan. Reuters
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