c/o Sudou Shinichirou Gyouseishoshi Office
〒862-0950 2-14-402 Suizenji 3 Choume, Chuou-Ku, Kumamoto City
Kumusutaka-Association for Living Together with Migrants is a non-government
organization, run by volunteers, to support international residents (immigrants,
migrant workers, and refugees) living in Japan.
Kumustaka was founded in 1985 as "Tanichi Azia Josei No Mondai Wo Kangaeru Kai (the Asian Women's Association)" at the Tetori Catholic Church, located in the downtown Kumamoto City. At that time, there were many cases of human rights violations in Kumamoto, like many other parts of Japan, involving Filipina entertainers. These Filipina women often faced forced prostitution and breach of employment contract, and they came to the church for help. Father Paul McCartin urged some concerning Japanese citizens to help these Filipina women in trouble, and they established the association.
However, as the length of stay in Japan of these women extended, and some of them became permanent residents, the problems they faced have become diversified and shifted toward non-work related issues such as marriage, divorce, healthcare, social welfare, parental rights, paternity recognition, child support, and education. Also the nationality of those who contacted the association for help has been also diversified and included such counties as Peru, China, Thailand, and Pakistan. In 1993, the association renamed it to “Kumusta ka (How are you? in Tagalog)-Association for Living Together with Migrants” to reflect its diversities and activities. In 2013, the association transfered its contact address from the Tetori Catholic Church to Nakashima Gyoseishoshi (administrative scrivener) Office.
The association has historically provided legal advice on immigration and employment issues as well as a Japanese language program. Today, Kumustaka serves: 1) to provide consultation services to immigrants, international migrant workers, and refugees in the wide range of issues including immigration, employment and labor conditions, domestic violence and divorce, and child education, 2) to advocate for their full labor, civil and human rights and promote policy to protect these rights, 3) to educate the community and the general public on immigrant and refugee issues through lectures, study groups, and film festival, and 4) to support Japanese-Filipino international children.
Kumustaka has also served to protect and support domestic violence survivors of immirants as a part of Kumamoto Prefecture Domestic Violence Task Force which has been established since the enactment of Act on the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims (DV Act) in October, 2001. We partner with the social welfare office, the family court, the police department, and other public and private organizations in the task force.
Kumustaka promotes a multicultural society where human rights are protected and people live in peace regardless of nationality or other social status. We strive to bring awareness to the public that many of the issues facing immigrants and refugees are our own social issues.