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July 5th Hokkaido

- Solidarity Statement for Rallye in Berlin July 4th from No! G8 Action

- Worldwide Actions around G8 2008

- Thousands challenge G8 and march for peace

- G8 summit: Breathtaking venue with no protesters to spoil the view

- Protests begin in advance of G8 meetings

- Japan holds 20 anti-G8 Koreans at airport: activists

- We Urgently Denounce the Denial of Visas and Entry to Japan

Solidarity Statement for Rallye in Berlin July 4th from No! G8 Action

To the Comrades in Berlin,

We learned a lot from your project at the Heiligendamm summit and prepared our own intervention at Lake Toya. We do not know to what extent and how we can develop your heritage here, but we all hope to add a page of East Asia in the history of the anti-capitalist struggle.
Even before the summit, various forms of crackdown began and continued thereafter. But we intend to persist in our struggle.
Let us make the G8 history!

In solidarity, No! G8 Action

Source: email

Worldwide Actions around G8 2008

See for resistance in other countries related to G8 2008.

Thousands challenge G8 and march for peace

[Media G8way]

Press release July 5th

* 3 anti-g8 protesters, Reuters journalist arrested today in Japan

On the eve of the 2008 G8 Summit, thousands took to the streets of Sapporo, Japan, today to call for an end to the undemocratic policy-making and wars of G8 member states. The protest, which was a coalition effort of NGOs, trade unions, leftist organizations, anti-authoritarian organizers, and independent activists, culminated in the arrest of three protesters and a Reuters photographer.

“The rally today illustrated both the powerful global justice movement underway in Japan and worldwide, and the police repression that grassroots activists face,” said David Solnit, a US activist. “People are realizing that the G8 claims to be a force against hunger, poverty, and climate change, yet with each meeting, they only institute policies that perpetuate these things – “aid” packages that trap poor countries into debt, fossil fuel-based energy systems that create climate change, and war.”

Protesters marched through the streets weilding signs, banners, and giant puppets, as a moving sound truck played music for the crowd. Many wore costumes or brought their own instruments to play as they marched. Police presence was strong, with two rows of riot police lining both sides of the demonstration route and attempting to force the procession into one lane of traffic. Some protesters resisted the strict police control by moving into another lane of traffic.

At one point in the march, police unexpectedly surrounded the sound truck and arrested its driver and DJ, as well as a Reuters journalist standing nearby.

“I saw the police arresting the Reuters guy. Three of the police were restraining him, then they violently took his camera,” said Marina Sitrin, a US lawyer and member of the National Lawyers Guild, an international human rights organization. “The police were using extreme intimidation to prevent people from demonstrating for democracy and human rights,” she added.

John Owens, a UK activist, said, “I saw the police smashing one of the windows of the sound truck. They pulled the driver out violently, even though he didn`t do anything.”

Photojournalist Brandan Jourdan, 29, who filmed the arrests, added, “They pulled the driver out in a headlock, but his foot got caught in the steering wheel. He was obviously in pain.”

Today`s demonstration will be followed by three days of anti-G8 protests in Lake Toya, where the Summit will be taking place.

G8 summit: Breathtaking venue with no protesters to spoil the view

Huge Japanese security operation to keep anti-globalisation activists far from leaders

It has been more than a year since Japan’s then prime minister, Shinzo Abe, stood outside the Windsor Hotel – one of several candidate venues for this year’s G8 summit – gazed at the ring doughnut-shaped lake below and, as one government official confided, “immediately fell in love”.

Abe has gone, but Japan will be paying the price for his dewy-eyed dalliance with the pristine waters of Lake Toya in Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido for some time.

Just as citizens of the developed world feel the pinch from the credit crunch and rising food and oil prices, their leaders are about to take centre stage in the G8’s biggest ever summit. When the three-day meeting, centred on a communique whose wording has already been largely agreed, ends next Wednesday, Japanese taxpayers will face a bill for 60bn yen (£283m), dwarfing the estimated £1.3m Britain stumped up at Gleneagles three years ago.

Usually at this time of the year, the area’s hotels are brimming with tourists, but this week they are nowhere to be seen. Instead, its 10,000 residents are playing reluctant host to thousands of police officers drafted in to ensure the safety of Bush, Brown and co.

The 5,000-strong Hokkaido force has been joined by 16,000 colleagues from as far away as Okinawa, almost 2,000 miles to the south. Another 20,000 officers are on duty in Tokyo to avoid a repeat of the July 7 terrorist attacks in London in 2005, which were carried out as the G8 leaders met at Gleneagles.

The decision to invite an unprecedented number of leaders from non-G8 nations to one of the remotest parts of Japan is testing the country’s reputation for logistical excellence to the limit. “The number of parties attending this year is unprecedented, which has admittedly complicated the arrangements,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, a foreign ministry spokesman, told the Guardian. “But it’s simply not fair to compare it with previous summits.”

As a natural spectacle Lake Toya is breathtaking. Located 500 miles north of Tokyo, it is set against a stunning backdrop of an active volcano, hot springs and rolling countryside that brings to mind parts of rural England.

But for the next few days, the idyll will be shattered by one of the biggest security operations Japan has ever mounted. Aegis destroyers are on alert to shoot down incoming missiles, special units are on standby to deal with biochemical attacks and an Awacs reconnaissance aircraft will enforce a no-fly zone around the Windsor Hotel.

En route, the leaders will pass dozens of security cameras and surveillance antennas disguised as trees as they make the three-mile journey from the main gate to the hotel. For the past few days, police corteges have been circling at all hours while helicopters buzz overhead, drawing the ire of farmers whose cattle are unaccustomed to the noise.

In the town centre, posters warn residents to be on the alert for “suspicious-looking” visitors – by which they almost certainly mean anti-globalisation activists. Yet any violent eruption is far more likely to come from Mount Usu, a volcano overlooking Lake Toya that spewed ash over the area as recently as 2000. The 1,500 or so demonstrators expected to arrive in Hokkaido over the weekend will occupy campsites miles from the summit venue.

Around 40 independent journalists and activists have been detained at airports in Tokyo and Hokkaido in the past week, including 20 South Korean members of an international farmers’ group who were on the verge of being deported yesterday after almost a day of questioning.

“Japan is using the G8 summit to limit visas without specific cause and has insisted on extremely detailed plans from its visitors, making entrance into the country difficult,” the G8 Summit NGO Forum said. “This is robbing us of free speech and the exchange of ideas.”

Westerners who manage to complete the journey to New Chitose airport in Hokkaido are told by plainclothed detectives to produce ID. “They look on us as dangerous freaks,” said Mary Brookes, an organiser for the G8 Action Network, which plans low-key demonstrations next week. “You hear all the G8 rhetoric about democracy, but at the same time they are denying us freedom of speech and assembly, and we are being heavily policed. It makes you wonder what kind of democracy they are talking about.”

Despite the huge security operation, Japan is touting Lake Toya as the “compact” summit in an attempt to banish memories of Okinawa 2000, an 80bn-yen orgy of excess during which the leaders lunched on Beluga caviar and foie gras while Jacques Chirac held court on his love of sumo wrestling. The lesson does not seem to have been learned: this week 60 top chefs will prepare the leaders’ meals, although the menu and its cost are closely guarded secrets.

Toya’s residents say their town as the safest in Japan. “Most of my customers are policemen, the tourist trade is virtually dead,” said a shop owner. “I just want to get this summit over and done with so we can get back to normal.”

Taniguchi of the foreign ministry said he understood local concerns but added: “If you think how much it would cost for the exposure Toyako [Lake Toya] will get in the international media over the next week, I would say the sacrifice is worth it.”

While the ring of steel is firmly in place, this week Japanese officials were coming to terms with their first summit disappointment – the news that Carla Bruni, wife of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, will not be accompanying him on the trip to the Far East. “As a Japanese citizen, I’m very disappointed that this very popular first lady won’t be coming,” said the government’s top spokesman, Nobutaka Machimura. Solar power and melted snow

In what is being touted as the greenest summit ever, the G8 leaders will be ferried about in fuel-cell buses and electric cars while the press corps use a state-of-the art media centre kept cool by 7,000 tonnes of snow retrieved during Hokkaido’s notoriously bitter winter.

The melted snow will be fed into the centre’s air-conditioning system and used to flush the building’s “ultra low-flow” toilets.

Solar panels cover the roof, plants adorn the outer walls and every effort has been made to let in natural light and ventilation.

But for most of the time journalists will be kept at a comfortable distance from the people they are writing about. The international media centre, which can accommodate 4,000 people, is on a parking lot at the Rusutsu ski resort, 30-minutes from the summit venue.

Foreign delegations will be driven around in hybrid and electric cars that will be refuelled at temporary hydrogen and compressed natural gas stations, or by high-speed battery chargers.

The media centre’s designers have clearly heeded the eco mantra of recycle and reduce but not, apparently, reuse: as soon as the last journalist has left the building, it will be demolished.

Japanese leaders promised to offset the summit’s C0² emissions with carbon cuts elsewhere.

On Monday, the day of the Tanabata star festival, the owners of more than 70,000 shops, offices and tourist attractions will switch off their lights, look skywards and, it is hoped, discover a newfound reverence for their fragile environment.


Protests begin in advance of G8 meetings

SAPPORO, Japan -- More than 1,000 people marched in northern Japan today to protest an upcoming summit of the top industrialized countries, and police arrested four protesters after a brief scuffle.

There were no reports in injuries.

Demonstrators gathered at a park in central Sapporo to demand that Group of Eight nations take urgent measures to stop global warming, grant indigenous people greater rights, combat world poverty and battle discrimination.

The G8 leaders -- from the United States, Japan, Russia, France, Britain, Canada, Italy and Germany -- begin a three-day summit on Monday.

The top issues are expected to be global warming and soaring oil and food prices.

Protesters also criticized globalization, which they blamed for deepening poverty in marginalized regions, fuelling the world dependence on fossil fuels and accelerating the damaging rise of world temperatures.

"Who gave the Group of Eight the right to rule the world?" asked Walden Bello of the activist group Focus on the Global South. "The G8 is a conspiracy of governments that have led the world to its most severe crisis in the last 50 years."

The rally then moved to the streets of Sapporo, where thousands of riot police lined the route, squeezing marchers into one lane. Tempers occasionally flared at bottlenecks, but the march was mostly peaceful.

One clash occurred when a protester driving a pickup truck fitted with speakers blaring rock music stopped at one point along the route. When police urged him to roll down his window, he refused and instead moved the truck backward in the crowd.

Police then smashed a truck window with a baton, pulled the driver out and took control of the vehicle. Hokkaido police said four people were arrested in the brief scuffle, but refused to release names or nationalities of those apprehended.

Authorities refused to give an immediate crowd estimate, but the protest appeared to have between 1,000 and 2,000 participants.

The Associated Press


Japan holds 20 anti-G8 Koreans at airport: activists

SAPPORO, Japan - Twenty South Korean activist farmers have been detained by Japanese immigration for over 19 hours and expect to be deported, a spokesman for the group said, in further signs of growing security jitters from the host nation ahead of a G8 summit.

Japan has so far detained and questioned around 40 people, including journalists and academics, although many have been allowed to enter the country after several hours.

"They are classifying people unilaterally, without sufficient information or standards," Hong Hyung-suk, spokesman for the Korean Peasants League told Reuters by telephone from New Chitose Airport, where the group is being held.

"We are not terrorists."
Police officers walk past an advertisement banner outside a pachinko pinball parlor reading "Summit on Friday" in Sapporo on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, as part of the security measures ahead of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit July 4, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko NakaoView Larger Image View Larger Image
Police officers walk past an advertisement banner outside a pachinko pinball parlor reading "Summit on Friday" in Sapporo on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, as part of the security measures ahead of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit July 4, 2008.

Some of the South Korean activist farmers, who also belong to the international Via Campesina peasant movement, have been arrested in the past and participated in protests against the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong in 2005, representatives of the groups said.

Immigration officials in Sapporo were not immediately available for comment. Officials have previously confirmed that some people had been detained but declined to comment further.

Japan, fearful of violence during the July 7-9 G8 summit, has deployed 21,000 police officers on the northern island of Hokkaido, where the meeting will be held.

Police in Sapporo, the island's capital, conducted a security training exercise on Friday morning, stopping traffic and people as VIP black cars passed through the central streets of the city.

The security budget is some 30 billion yen ($280 million), topping the 113 million euros ($180 million) spent at the last summit in Germany.

Other activists detained and questioned by immigration include political scientist Susan George, a vocal critic of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and Lydinyda Nacpil, the Asia-Pacific coordinator for Jubilee South, an advocacy group calling for debt cancellation for poor countries.

In some cases, detentions have stretched for over 10 hours, journalists, activists and academics have said.

"Japan, citing the G8 summit, has limited visas without specific cause and has insisted on extremely detailed plans from its visitors, making entrance into the country difficult," the G8 Summit NGO Forum, an umbrella group for non-governmental organizations, said in a statement.

"This is robbing us of free speech and the exchange of ideas," it said.

Two other South Korean nationals, one affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, have been deported, Japan's G8 Media Network has said.

Anti-G8 protests have become a fixture of G8 summits. On Sunday, two rallies in Tokyo gathered over 1,000 people, including anti-capitalists, labor union members and protesters from abroad, such as Spain and South Korea. Eight men were arrested after scuffling with police at one of the rallies.

But tight security and the sheer cost of traveling to the remote site of the summit, at a hilltop luxury hotel in rural Hokkaido, is expected to dampen turnout compared with previous summits.

Demonstrations are anticipated near the summit venue -- where some 1,000-plus protesters are expected to gather in three camp sites -- and organizers of a peace rally in Sapporo ahead of the summit hope to draw 10,000 participants.

($1=106.71 yen)

($1=.6362 euro)

(Additional reporting by Jung Heejung and Yuriko Nakao in Sapporo and Edwina Gibbs in Tokyo; Editing by Brent Kininmont)

Yoko Kubota , Reuters
Published: Friday, July 04, 2008


We Urgently Denounce the Denial of Visas and Entry to Japan

We Urgently Denounce the Denial of Visas and Entry to Japan to Members of Civic Organizations and NGOs in Connection with the G8 Summit, and We Strongly Insist Again that Nothing Interfere with Opportunities for Members of Civic Movements to Exercise Freedom of Speech, Expression, and Assembly.

July 4, 2008

Network of Lawyers Observing Human Rights Around the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit (WATCH)

G8 Action Network

Hokkaido Peoples’ Forum on G8 Summit

2008 Japan G8 Summit NGO Forum

In response to the Hokkaido Toyako (G8) Summit, which is being held from July 7th through the 9th, many civic organizations and NGOs have planned seminars and international colloquia on problems related to the environment, peace, human rights, poverty, and development. However, over the past two days there have been reports of case after case of individuals connected to these civic organizations and NGOs who were scheduled to attend these events, but were refused visas to travel to Japan on site at embassies or denied entry to Japan at airports.

To the extent that we are able to stay on top of these developments, we have learned that over the past two days members of Bangladeshi NGOs were denied visas at the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka without any explanation regarding the reason.

Meanwhile yesterday at the Chitose International Airport, all nineteen members of a farmers' organization from Korea were denied entry on the grounds that they had no proof documenting their plans for their stay in Japan.

In addition to such developments, an individual with an international NGO based in the Philippines gave up on coming to Japan after delays in the visa issuance process, and it concerns us that similar visa delays and denials will continue with similar effects.

These members of civic organizations and NGOs received official invitations from civic organizations and NGOs in Japan, and many were scheduled to speak at seminars. Challenges and difficulties such as restrictions on visas without any particular reason or explanation provided on the grounds that the G8 Summit is convening or the draconian demand to produce proof documenting one's plans in order to be granted entry can only be understood as attempts to deprive citizens the opportunity to freely exchange and express opinions on the most pressing issues facing our world. Not only does this affect civic organizations and NGOs, but it also gives international society reason to lose trust in Japan.

We were in the midst of protesting the recently enhanced immigration restrictions imposed on scholars and reporters around the G8 Summit and now also call on the Japanese government immediately to halt the denials and delays of visas and entry to Japan to members of civic organizations and NGOs and ensure that nothing impedes the rights of citizens to exercise freedom of speech, expression, and assembly.