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May 22nd 2008 Hokkaido -- NATO -- Malmo

- Japan: Immigration Q&A

- Ainu People to Press Demands at G8 Summit

- Against the meeting of the “NATO Parlamentarian Assembly” in Berlin


- Autonomous Alternative to ESF - Infotour stops in Berlin

Japan: Immigration Q&A

Q1: What permissions do I need if I want to enter and stay in Japan for the G8 Summit?

Q2: Do I need a visa? Which countries are exempted from the visa requirement?

Q3: What is immigration procedure like? What am I going to be asked?

Q4: How can I prove that I comply with the landing conditions?

Q5: Do I have to know where to stay in Japan?

Q6: Will I be refused to enter if I have a criminal record?

Q7: Do I need an invitation?

Q8: What happens if I am refused entry to Japan?

Q1: What permissions do I need if I want to enter and stay in Japan for the G8 Summit?

A: To enter Japan, under general law you need a visa (see Q2 for visa exemption) AND a landing permission. Visas are “recommendations” issued by Japanese embassy and comsulate which suggest that the holder is acceptable for entering and staying in Japan. Please note that even if you have a visa, you cannot enter Japan only if you fail to obtain landing permission. Landing permission is obtainable upon arrival in Japan, if the immigration officer finds that you meet the landing conditions (see Q3&4 for details).

Furthermore, in order to stay in Japan and engage in certain activities, you need a “resident status”. Resident status describes the scope of your stay in Japan and is determined by an immigration officer in accordance with the purpose of your visit. You are allowed to engage in activities within the limits of your resident status and in “normal” social activities. If you visit Japan for the G8 Summit, you need the resident status of “temporary visitor”.

Q2: Do I need a visa? Which countries are exempted from the visa requirement?

A: Basically, If you have a foreign passport, you need a visa which you have to obtain at Japanese embassy and comsulate outside Japan BEFORE landing in Japan. However, over 60 countries and areas are exempted from the visa requirement. Please see the list on the website of the Foreign Ministry.

If you possess a passport of one of the listed countries, you do not need a visa for a short-term stay as a temporary visitor. But only if you got the permission upon arrival (see Q1)

Q3: What is immigration procedure like? What am I going to be asked?

A: When passing through passport control at an airport or seaport, you have to show your passport, immigration form and – if necessary – a visa to the immigration officer and apply for landing permission. The immigration officer will check whether your passport and – if necessary – visa are valid and whether you comply with landing conditions. If the immigration officer finds that you meet the landing conditions, you will be photographed and fingerprinted – if you refuse these measures you will not be allowed to enter Japan.After the photographing and fingerprinting, the immigration officer will stamp the landing permission into your passport and grant a residence status.

The landing conditions are, for example,

1. You must hold a valid passport with a valid visa (aforementioned countries in Q2 are exempt from the visa requirement). 2. Your statements about your planned activities in Japan must be true. 3. The period of stay must comply with the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice (for short-term visits, a period of stay can vary between 15, 30 and 90 days, depending on your nationality). 4. You do not fall under any of the grounds for denial of landing.

Grounds for denial of landing are especially:

- You have been sentenced to imprisonment for other reasons than political offense. (See Q6)

- You have been convicted for drug offense and sentenced to a penalty.

- You have been a) convicted of a violation of law and sentenced to a penalty for killing, injuring, assaulting or threatning a person or damaging a building or other objects in relation to an international conference where heads of state or representatives of ministrial level have participated, or to an international sport competition, OR b) deported from Japan or any other country for the above reasons (including the case you were refused to enter a country or you have left a country “voluntarily” after being ordered to leave) ANDc) you are likely to kill, injure, assault or threaten a person, or damage a building or other objects in Japan in relation to an international conference.

- The Minister of Justice has reasonable grounds to believe that you are likely to commit an act which could be detrimental to the interests or public security of Japan.

In most of the cases, the immigration officer will ask you what the purpose of your visit is and how long you will stay, but he/she may also ask you other questions concerning the landing conditions.

However, the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency and the Foreign Ministry have been and are collecting information about people who have been convicted in relation to past Summits and international conferences, such as APEC and WTO. From the point of view of immigration practice, it is very likely that people who have been convicted in relation to past international conferences will be deemed to fall under grounds for denial of landing.

Q4: How can I prove that I comply with the landing conditions?

A: If the immigration officer has any doubts whether you comply with the landing conditions, he/she may ask you to prove that you meet the conditions. It is therefore desirable to prepare the following documents prior to visiting Japan so that they are producible to the immigration officer if required:

1) A ticket for boarding an airplane or a vessel to leave Japan, or a written guarantee issued by a transport company. 2) A valid passport which enables you to enter foreign countries out of Japan. 3) Documents certifying that you can defray all expenses incurred during the stay in Japan. The amount of expenses depends on activities, period and other aspects of your stay. Which documents you need differs from case to case, but it is preferable to bring an original certificate of bank balances or a proof of earnings issued by a public institution. 4) Other documents necessary to prove what activities you will engage in, e.g., invitation, materials concerning the conferences or meetings, schedule, etc., differing from case to case.

Q5: Do I have to know where to stay in Japan?

A: Yes. You have to decide where to stay in Japan beforehand and answer if asked by the immigration officer.

Q6: Will I be refused to enter if I have a criminal record?

A: a) Convictions or deportations in relation to international conferences:

If you have been convicted, deported or refused entry to any country for killing, injuring, threatning a person or destroying a building or another object in relation to an international conference in the past, you probably will be denied entry to Japan.

b) Other convictions:

Your application for entry will be refused if you have been sentenced to imprisonment with or without work for 1 year or more, or to an equivalent penalty in the past, irrespective of whether or not the sentence has been executed, whether or not the sentence execution is completed and whether or not the probation time has ended. However, this shall not apply to those convicted of a political offense. “Political offense” does not include criminal offenses which constitutes a “normal” offense, such as homicide, assault, etc., even if it was committed for political reasons.

Besides these, if you have been penalized for drug crimes, you will be rejected.

Q7: Do I need an invitation?

A: If you apply for a visa in order to participate at conferences and other meetings, you need an invitation.

For the landing permission, you do not necessarily need an invitation, but possibly you will be asked to prove that your statements about your activities in Japan are correct. Therefore, if you want to participate at conferences and meetings, it could be helpful to have an invitation.

Q8: What happens if I am refused entry to Japan?

A: If the immigration officer decides that you do not satisfy the landing conditions, you will be delivered to a special inquiry officer, who will hold a hearing.

Your representative and/or one of your relatives or acquaintances are allowed to attend the hearing. It is also possible to produce evidence and to hear witnesses.

If the special inquiry officer finds that you conform to the landing conditions, he/she will grant a landing permission. Otherwise, he/she will notify you of his/her findings. In this case, you can either accept these findings and leave the country OR file an objection with the Minister of Justice within 3 days from receipt of the notice. Then the Minister of Justice decides whether or not the objection is reasonable. Even if he finds that the objection is non-reasonable, in very special cases, he can grant a special landing permission.

The duration of the objection procedure may vary from case to case. If the objection is not decided promptly, you will stay in a special facility at the airport or a nearby hotel for which you have to pay.

If the Minister of Justice decides that the objection is non-reasonable, he will order you to leave Japan and determine the date of departure and which flight to take. If you do not leave promptly after receiving the order of departure, a compulsory deportation procedure will be put in force and you will be taken into immigration control facilities.


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Ainu People to Press Demands at G8 Summit

Ainu activists announce protest plans for July in Hokkaido.

TOKYO, Apr 28 (IPS) – Japan’s hosting of the G8 summit in Hokkaido in July will afford a rare opportunity for the Ainu people who live on the island to press their long-standing demand to be recognised as an indigenous people.

Officially, for the Jul 7-9 summit of rich nations, Japan’s leaders have said they would like to see global health high on the agenda as also sustainable forest development, climate change and development.

But the Ainu have other plans to roll out in Hokkaido at the Jul 1-4 Indigenous Peoples Summit, ahead of the G8 event. “If the government recognises the Ainu as indigenous people everything would change,’’ said Saki Mina, an Ainu leader, at a press conference here last week.

There are about 200,000 Ainu living throughout Japan though most are concentrated in the northern island of Hokkaido. Ainu were once thought of as the remnants of a Caucasoid group but this is yet to be proved.

Despite the passage of the United Nations Declaration Rights of the world’s 370 million indigenous people, last year, the country has yet to honor its promises and implement the declaration. The Ainu are disappointed that the government continues to display insensitivity to their demands.

An open letter by Saki Toyama, an elderly Ainu woman reads thus: “I lived my life through clenched teeth, in frustration and embarrassment. People have asked me, ‘Why do these people called Ainu exist?’ ‘’. ‘’Do you have any idea of the wounds inflicted by these comments? I don’t know how much longer we can keep our silence. Young Ainu, I ask that you fight and that you endure.”

Much of Ainu society and culture has suffered progressively destruction as a result of assimilation policies enforced by successive Japanese governments, and many Ainu have experienced prejudice and been forced to live in poverty.

As a result of such discrimination, Ainu culture and traditions are in crisis, but not completely lost.

According to the Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture, there is now a concerted move to preserve and “soundly pass down’’ Ainu culture and traditions.

Mina, a member of the younger generation, is now proud of being Ainu. Her life changed at 16 when she met other indigenous peoples on a trip to Canada.

“Ainu was a word I didn’t dare speak in this country before, but now I can say it with pride,” she said “I was so shocked when I met them. They were dancing and singing because they had so much pride in being indigenous people. They gave us courage. I know at the summit we can make Japanese aware of our situation.”

About 1,000 people will participate in the event, including delegates from the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, United States, Russia, Norway, Guatemala, and Taiwan according to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

There are about 5,000 groups of indigenous people living in more than 70 countries. They represent only 4 percent of the global population, but make up the various cultures in about 70 -80 percent of the world.

The group will submit an appeal to the world’s leading industrialised leaders who will gather in Hokkaido in July for the G8 summit. It calls for recovery of indigenous rights, education and language, environmental protection and full recognition of the Ainu’s status as an indigenous people.

Urawa Haruso, an Ainu elder man with a long, white beard, believes there has been a continual destruction of Ainu lands and denial of basic rights. He gave one example: “We applied for fishing rights to fish in a river for salmon in Hokkaido. However, we discovered the government put up a 4 meter high wall, so that the salmon could not return up the stream. It made us feel devastated and hurt.”

Today, he says, there is no control on fishing,resulting in the fish stocks dwindling to about a tenth of what existed 60 years ago.

“The Japanese government says they are concerned about global warming and are prepared to do something about it,” he says. “But I have my doubts. The government and its people are still very much attracted to bribe money that comes into their pockets; they do not want to change the status quo. I am gravely concerned.”

The Indigenous Summit will send out a message with groups from around the world for the earth and for future generations.

The Ainu have their own language, Sinu, and have developed a rich culture that includes oral literature such as the “Yukar” epics, traditional rituals such as the “iomante” ceremony, and unique fabric patterns.

“But I’m worried all my efforts could be neutralised by discrimination and we will not be granted indigenous rights by the Japanese Governments,” says Koiji Yuki. “I have four children and I always talk to them about our culture and history.”

However, Yuki is hopeful that the Ainu will be granted the recognition they demand through dialogue at the G8 summit.

By Catherine Makino


Against the meeting of the “NATO Parlamentarian Assembly” in Berlin

From Berlin to Kehl and Strasbourg: Block NATO!
Rally and bicycle parade May 24, 1pm

This year’s annual NATO conference in Bucharest has taken the decision to celebrate NATO’s “60th anniversary” in France and Germany in 2009. The precise date remains unclear, but it will be held in spring 2009 in the border cities of Strasbourg and Kehl. NATO strategists have already stressed the importance of next year’s summit. They have made the proposal to ratify a new strategic concept that includes nuclear first strikes to keep or get access to resources and a civil-military approach to counter-insurgency.

Europe is at war – even if the bombs are falling several thousands of kilometres away. Because of NATO, the US maintains bases for military interventions worldwide. Nuclear weapons are still deployed in Europe. NATO membership implies participation in military interventions all over the world, directly with national forces, indirectly from military bases, or through logistical support for foreign troops.

Like the G8, NATO is an important player for the “Global Security Architecture”. Together with other institutions such as Eurocorps (based in Strasbourg) NATO is the military corrollary of neoliberal globalisation. This “Security Architecture” includes the creation of an “European Gendarmerie Force” (EGF) that collaborates on military missions in several countries outside the EU. The EGF exists for riot control and to protect private property.

Many social struggles in Europe are focussing their resistance on the global wars of NATO and other military forces. Protests have taken place in Poland and the Czech Republic against “Missile Defence Shields” and activists in Romania organised against the most recent NATO summit this year. A broad movement in Italy is resisting the planned US base in Vicenza, groups in Belgium continue to scale the fences of NATO bases. People in many countries destroy military cars, planes and equipment. In Germany there will be two antimilitarist protest camps this summer.

A number of groups and organisations are already involved in the preparations against next year’s NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl. Local and international meetings have already taken place to plan a common mobilisation and protest infrastructure.

From the 23rd to the 27th of May 2008, the “NATO Parlamentarian Assembly” will meet in Berlin. This so-called “little sister of NATO” can be understood as the political representation of the organisation. We take their meeting as a starting point for a broad campaign and alliance:

Stop these war games! NATO Game Over! Block NATO 2009!

“We have shown in Bucharest that no matter how restrictive the repressions are, it will never stop our resistance. They can break our bones, but not our ideas! Anti-militarist protests will continue!” (Final declaration after Anti-NATO protests in Bucharest 2008).

Rally against the meeting of the “NATO Parlamentarian Assembly” in Berlin:

* Starting: May 24, 1pm, Humboldt-Universität (related to the conference about the future of civil rights “Sicherheitsstaat am Ende”)
* Ending (with Anti-war-café): 2.30pm, Brandenburger Tor/ Platz des 18. März

Calling: Bundeswehr wegtreten | six hills berlin | Gipfelsoli | RüstungsInformationsBüro Baden-Württemberg e.V. | Freiburger Friedensforum | Informationsstelle Militarisierung | Seminar für angewandte Unsicherheit [SaU] | carambolage | Autonome Antifa Freiburg | resistance des deux rives / widerstand der zwei ufer | Nomadisches Antikriegscafe Berlin | il furiosi – organisiert im Antifa Kok Düsseldorf | Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen abschaffen | BUKO | attac Berlin
More Information:



Germany will host the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Spring Session in the Reichstag Building, bringing together some 340 parliamentarians from North America and Europe, from 23 to 27 May 2008 in Berlin.

The Plenary session on Tuesday 27 May will be addressed by NATO PA’s President, José LELLO, NATO Secretary General, Jaap DE HOOP SCHEFFER, Supreme Allied Commander Europe John CRADDOCK, and other high ranking officials.

NATO PA’s five committees (Political, Defence and Security, Science and Technology, Civil Dimension of Security, Economics and Security) will meet on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May to discuss reports focusing on the most important security questions of the moment. Guest speakers will address the Committees.


Deutscher Bundestag (Reichstagsgebäude) Platz der Republik 1 11011 Berlin

The committee meetings will be held on levels 2 and 3, and the plenary session on level 1 of the Reichstag building from 23 to 27 May 2008. Access to the Reichstag building is via the East entrance (Friedrich-Ebert-Platz). All participants will be submitted to security controls.


Autonomous Alternative to ESF - Infotour stops in Berlin

Next ESF 2008 will take place in September in Malmo, Sweden. Since it's located only across the bridge from Denmark we do believe a lot of people will come, also from Eastern Europe.
Our hopes stand to the autonomous left to focus the show on the real social issues during these days. We are not a bunch of intellectuals without the guts to get moving: towards a Europe without precarious work, gender inequalities, fascism, dehumanization of immigrants and a weapon industry for imperialist needs.
The Action Network of ESF 2008 is a gathering of autonomous groups in Sweden -come an listen to our plans and get your questions answered.

*Friday, May 30th, 7pm*
Berlin, New Yorck/ Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, Metro U8 Kottbusser Tor