Daughter's heartbreak after seeing mum in Tokyo court

The daughter of an Australian woman detained in Japan on drug trafficking allegations has opened up about seeing her mother for the first time in more than a year.

West Australian grandmother Donna Nelson was arrested in January 2023, days after arriving in Tokyo.

The 58-year-old was reportedly found to be carrying almost two kilograms of meth in a hidden cavity in her suitcase.

Ms Nelson's family has claimed she was the victim of a Nigerian scammer she met through an online dating site who bought tickets for her to fly to Japan.

They believe she may have been forced or tricked into picking up the bag after meeting with an associate of the scammer during a stopover in Laos.

Strict communication rules prevented Kristal Hilaire from speaking to her mother after she flew to Tokyo to attend a pre-trial hearing this week.

An emotional Ms Hilaire told Nine News her mother's appearance had changed and she hoped her next court date wouldn't be too far away.

"She looks very different, she's so much smaller. You can tell that she doesn't get out in the sun," Ms Hilaire said.

"She did look pale and she has more grey hair. She still looked beautiful."

Ms Nelson, an Indigenous community leader and former WA Greens candidate who previously served as chair of Perth-based Aboriginal health service Derbarl Yerrigan, is reported to be locked in her cell for 23 hours a day.

"It just felt so wrong to leave the (court) room and not be able to give her a hug or not be able to say anything to her," Ms Hilaire said.

"We just locked eyes and continued to lock eyes until I left the room."

A date for Ms Nelson's trial is yet to be set.

Japan's criminal justice system is notoriously strict with Human Rights Watch in 2023 highlighting a 99.8 per cent conviction rate in cases that go to trial.