NAGOYA, Japan — First came a high fever. Then her face and limbs turned numb. Soon, she could keep down little more than water, sugar and bites of bread as she wasted away in her cell in a Japanese detention center.

日本名古屋——先是高烧。然后她的面部和四肢变得麻木。她在日本拘禁所中身体日渐虚弱,很快就只能勉强咽下水、糖和面包。

By early March, Wishma Rathnayake — a migrant from Sri Lanka who was being held for overstaying her visa — could barely make a fist and was having trouble speaking, according to government records detailing her care.

来自斯里兰卡的移民维莎玛·拉特纳亚克(Wishma Rathnayake)因为签证过期而被拘禁,根据政府对她所受治疗的详细记录,3月初,她几乎不能握拳,说话也有困难。

Yet week after week, as she begged to be released to a hospital for treatment, her jailers refused. She and her supporters believed they knew why: The authorities, even as her health deteriorated, suspected that she was faking her illness to avoid deportation.

然而,一周又一周,当她请求出狱到医院接受治疗时被看守者拒绝。她和她的支持者相信他们知道原因:即使在她的健康状况恶化时,当局也怀疑她在假装生病,以避免被驱逐出境。

On March 6, at the age of 33, Ms. Rathnayake died alone in her cell.

3月6日,33岁的拉特纳亚克在牢房中孤独地去世。

Her case has become a source of outrage for critics of Japan’s immigration system, who say that Ms. Rathnayake was the victim of an opaque and capricious bureaucracy that has nearly unchecked power over foreigners who run afoul of it.

她的案子引起了日本移民制度批评者的愤怒,他们说,拉特纳亚克是不透明、反复无常的官僚机构的受害者,这个官僚机构对违反制度的外国人拥有几乎不受制约的权力。

The tragedy has spurred a national reckoning in Japan, a country with a long history of hostility toward immigration. It is now grappling with its at-times inhumane treatment of foreigners, especially people of color, and many are calling for change.

这场悲剧在这个多年来一直敌视移民的国家引发反思。现在,它正在努力解决对外国人,尤其是有色人种的非人待遇,许多人都在呼吁改变。

They point to a system in which most immigration decisions are made in secret, offering migrants little recourse to the courts. Those who overstay their visas or who have entered the country illegally can be held indefinitely, sometimes for years. And migrants who file asylum claims, as Ms. Rathnayake once did, are particularly unwelcome.

他们指出,在这个体系中,大多数关于移民的决定都是秘密做出的,移民几乎没有向法庭申诉的机会。签证过期或非法入境的人可能被无限期扣留,有时长达数年。像拉特纳亚克曾经那样提出庇护申请的移民尤其不受欢迎。

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, settles less than 1 percent of applicants seeking asylum, including just 47 last year — a point of contention among other countries that have called on Tokyo to do more.

作为世界第三大经济体,日本只为不到1%的庇护申请者提供了安置,去年只有47人——这成为其他国家争论的焦点,它们要求东京做得更多。

拉特纳亚克(右)和姐妹的一张未注明日期的照片。她一生都迷恋日本,怀着教英语的梦想来到这个国家。

Immigration officials are “police, prosecutors, judges and jailers,” said Yoichi Kinoshita, who left the government’s immigration bureau over its lack of clear standards to guide its sometimes life-or-death decisions. He now runs an advocacy group focused on fixing the system.

移民官员都是“警察、检察官、法官和狱警”,木下洋一(Yoichi Kinoshita,音)说。他认为政府的出入国在留管理厅缺乏明确的标准来指导有时攸关生死的决定,因此离开了该机构,现在经营着一个致力于修复该系统的倡导团体。

On Tuesday, the Japanese government, facing growing pressure over Ms. Rathnayake’s death, made two major concessions.

周二,面对拉特纳亚克之死带来的越来越大的压力,日本政府做出了两项重大让步。

The governing Liberal Democratic Party abandoned an effort to revise Japan’s immigration law, as opposition lawmakers said they would not start debate over the changes unless the government released video footage of Ms. Rathnayake taken in the detention center just before she died.

执政的自民党放弃了一项修改日本移民法的努力,因为反对党议员表示,除非政府公布拉特纳亚克死前在拘禁中心被拍下的视频,否则他们不会就修改法律展开辩论。

The government had argued that the revisions would improve treatment of detainees, in part by stopping lengthy detentions, which have drawn sharp criticism from human rights groups for decades. But critics took particular issue with changes that would have allowed Japan to forcefully repatriate asylum seekers, potentially returning them to dangerous situations in their home countries.

政府曾辩称,这项修订将改善被拘禁者的待遇,部分是通过停止长期拘禁。几十年来,长期拘禁一直受到人权组织的尖锐批评。但批评人士特别反对允许日本强制遣返寻求庇护者的修改,这可能会让这些人回到自己国家后面临危险。

Also on Tuesday, the justice minister, Yoko Kamikawa, agreed to meet with Ms. Rathnayake’s two sisters in order to “express my condolence.” Ms. Kamikawa has repeatedly declined to address the specifics of Ms. Rathnayake’s death, whose cause has yet to be officially determined. She has said she will withhold comment until the immigration bureau has completed an inquiry into the case. The bureau, in a statement, reiterated her remarks.

同样在周二,法务大臣上川阳子(Yoko Kamikawa)同意与拉特纳亚克的两个姐妹会面,“表达我的哀悼。”上川阳子多次拒绝透露拉特纳亚克死亡的细节,其死因尚未正式确定。她表示,在出入国在留管理厅完成对此案的调查之前,她不会发表评论。该厅在一份声明中重申了她的说法。

After the meeting, the sisters said that Ms. Kamikawa had told them that the government would not release the footage. They said they would not return home until they viewed the video.

两姐妹在会面后表示,上川阳子告诉她们,政府不会公布这段视频。她们说,在看到视频之前,他们不会回家。

Ms. Kamikawa held the meeting as her ministry, which administers the immigration bureau, has come under regular attack in the news media for its role in Ms. Rathnayake’s death and its evasiveness about the causes. Protesters have gathered nearly every day in front of Parliament, and objections lodged by opposition lawmakers have been unusually fierce.

上川与她们会面之前,管辖出入国管理厅的法务省经常受到新闻媒体的攻击,原因是该省在拉特纳亚克之死中所扮演的角色,而且对死亡原因避而不谈。抗议者几乎每天都聚集在议会门前,反对派议员提出的反对意见也异常激烈。

拉特纳亚克被拘押在名古屋地区出入国在留管理厅大楼,并在这里死亡。

These lawmakers want to overhaul an immigration system in which the outcomes for those caught inside can be bleak. At least 24 detainees have died since 1997, according to the Japan Lawyers Network for Refugees. Activists have alleged government negligence in some cases, most recently the deaths in 2020 of an Indonesian man and in 2019 of a Nigerian man on a hunger strike. Official inquiries have not supported the accusations.

这些议员希望对移民体系进行彻底改革,因为那些困在里面的人,最后的结果可能会很惨。据日本难民律师网的数据,自1997年以来,至少有24名被拘留者死亡。活动人士指控政府在某些情况下玩忽职守,最近的死亡案例是2020年一名印尼男子,另外一起是2019年一名绝食的尼日利亚男子。官方调查否认了这些指控。

None of those cases have inspired the public anger engendered by the death of Ms. Rathnayake, a hopeful young woman who had come to Japan with dreams of teaching English.

这些案件都没有激起拉特纳亚克之死引发的这种公愤。拉特纳亚克是一名怀抱希望的年轻女子,带着教英语的梦想来到日本。

In late December, Ms. Rathnayake fell ill with a fever, and within weeks she was having trouble eating, according to the nonprofit.

据非盈利组织START称,去年12月下旬,拉特纳亚克开始发烧,几周后就无法进食了。

She tried to pass the time by watching television, but the commercials for food made her unbearably hungry.

她试图通过看电视来打发时间,但食物广告让她饿得受不了。

Ms. Rathnayake was suffering from extreme anxiety, doctors found. A nurse suggested dealing with it by writing a diary with all of the things she was thankful for. In late January, a doctor prescribed her vitamins and painkillers. After they made her vomit, she resisted taking more.

医生发现,拉特纳亚克极度焦虑。一名护士建议她通过记日记的方式来化解焦虑,写下所有让她心怀感激的事情。1月下旬,一名医生给她开了维生素和止痛药。但这些药让她呕吐,她拒绝再服用。

拉特纳亚克的支持者真野明美拿着一件自己给她做的衣服。

Care was limited at the detention center’s medical facility, which was more like an infirmary than a clinic.

拘留中心的医疗设施相当简陋,更像是一个医务室,而非诊所。

Officials said her problems were caused by “stress,” she wrote in a letter to Akemi Mano, a local activist, adding that “they don’t take me to the hospital.”

官员们称,她的问题是由“压力”引起的,她在给当地的活动人士真野明美(Akemi Mano,音)的信中写道,“他们不送我去医院。”

The authorities took Ms. Rathnayake to a gastroenterologist in early February. The exam was inconclusive, but if she could not keep down her medicine, she should be hospitalized, the doctor wrote in a medical report reviewed by The New York Times. The comment conflicts with the official government account of the visit, which says no recommendation for hospitalization was made.

2月初,有关部门带拉特纳亚克去看一个肠胃病医生。这名医生在《纽约时报》查阅的一份诊断报告中写道,检查结果没有发现问题,但如果她无法坚持服药,就应该住院。这与政府的说辞相冲突,后者称,那次就医没有提及住院的事情。

Ms. Rathnayake was returned to the detention center. Soon, she could no longer walk. When she met with her representatives of START, she was rolled out in a wheelchair with a bucket in her lap.

拉特纳亚克被送回了拘留中心。没过多久,她就连路都没法走了。在与START的代表会面时,她抱着一个桶坐在轮椅上。

She had filed for a provisional release in January, citing anxiety. Detention centers had already released hundreds of healthy detainees because of concerns about the coronavirus, but in mid-February, her application was denied without explanation. Soon after, she submitted a second one on medical grounds. She was so weak she could barely sign the form, Mr. Matsui said.

1月的时候,她曾经以焦虑症为由,申请临时释放。因为担心疫情,拘留中心已经释放了数百名健康的在押人员,但在2月中旬,她的申请被拒,没有任何解释。不久,她以就医为由再次提交申请。松井说,她当时很虚弱,几乎无法在表格上签名。

Despite the severity of her symptoms, officials waited until March 4 to take Ms. Rathnayake to a hospital. A psychiatrist who examined her wrote that her sponsors had told her that being sick would improve her chances of being released, according to a medical record reviewed by The Times and first reported by TBS, a Japanese broadcaster. START denies the allegation.

尽管她的状况很严重,但官员直到3月4日才将她送往医院。根据《纽约时报》看到的一份诊断记录(最先由日本广播公司TBS的报道披露),一名为她做检查的精神病医生写道,她的担保人告诉她,生病会增加获释的机会。START否认了该指控。

拉特纳亚克在被拘留期间写给马诺的部分信件。她在信里提到,吃东西、喝水都有困难。

The cause of Ms. Rathnayake’s illness was unclear, the doctor noted. While it was possible that she was faking, he wrote, there would be no harm in granting her request for medical release, adding that “if you think about the patient’s benefit, that’s probably best.”

这名医生指出,拉特纳亚克的病因不明确。他写道,虽然她有可能是在装病,但批准她的医疗释放请求没有坏处,而且还说,“从病人的利益考虑,这可能是最好的选择。”

Two days later, Ms. Rathnayake was dead.

拉特纳亚克于两天后去世。