TOKYO, Feb 26, 2009 (AFP) - United Nations human rights experts are looking into the case of a 13-year-old Filipina girl in Japan who is on the verge of being separated from her parents, a Japanese official said Thursday.
Japan has received an 'emergency inquiry' from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights into the case of Noriko Calderon, whose parents face deportation, the foreign ministry official said, asking not to be named.
The family's temporary permission to stay in Japan expires on Friday.
Noriko was born in Japan and is expected to be allowed to stay to finish her studies. She has repeatedly asked the Justice Ministry to rescind an order for her Philippine parents to be deported with or without their only daughter.
The couple entered Japan in the early 1990s with illegal passports and stayed in the country undetected until two years ago when her mother was arrested. Last September the Supreme Court rejected their appeal to stay.
Noriko has grown up speaking only Japanese and attending local schools.
'I would choose neither to leave the country with my parents nor to stay here alone,' she told reporters on Thursday.
'I don't want to be separated from my parents. If I go to the Philippines, I would not be able to continue my education.'
The family's lawyer said that if the girl went to the Philippines she would have to start primary school again due to language difficulties.
The parents must report to the immigration authorities on Friday and the father, or both, may be detained 'as a leverage to press the family to leave the country,' suggested the lawyer, Shogo Watanabe.
'Japan is a member of the UN Human Rights Council,' he said. 'Japan must not ignore any move by the council.'
The immigration bureau said it would continue the deportation process for now.
'The request for information alone would not affect the procedure, which will be done in accordance with Japanese law,' an official said.