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July 7th Hokkaido

- Anti-G8 protesters are on their way to the G8 Hotel

- Kept at arm's length, protesters slam G8 leaders

- Open letter to the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda On Criminalization of Protest

- Defense Ministry, SDF to ramp up air defenses for summit

Anti-G8 protesters are on their way to the G8 Hotel

[Gipfelsoli Infogroup | Media G8way]

Press Release July 7th 2008

* Japan: Summit protests are relocating
* Japanese army is supporting the police

This weekend the anti-G8 summit protests relocated from Sapporo to the vicinity of Lake Toya where the G8 summit is taking place. Around 1 000 activists are spread over the protest camps Toyoura, Soubetsu and Da-te. A number of official demonstrations have been registered against the official G8 summit. The goal is to get as close as possible to the conference hotel.

Today, hundreds of demonstrators have set off from the camps to Lake Toya. The “Ainu Mosir” peoples are supporting the Soubestsu Camp demonstrators who for the large part are Japanese. The Ainu are demanding recognition as the original inhabitants of the Hokkaido peninsula.

Japanese and international activists based at Camp Toyoura will attempt to disrupt the G8 summit with blockades and rallies. They will be accompanied by legal support groups.

26 organizations from around the world have protested against the entry denial of Korean trade unionists with an open letter. Japanese immigration authorities had rejected the entry of 23 Koreans into Japan. They had intended to demonstrate against the trade politics of the G8 as well as US meat imports.

Like during former anti-G8 protests, most recently in Heiligendamm in 2007, the police forces are supported by the military. Specifically, 4 fighter jets and AWACS reconaissance are being used, in conjunction with 12 war ships and patriot rockets.

The internal deployment of the Japanese military is hugely contested. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits the use of land, sea and air forces. The military is not permitted to be used for conflict resolution. In order to circumvent this legislation, the Japanese “Self Defense Forces” were created. The air and sea missions at the G8 summit at Lake Toya will be carried out in a joint deployment of the SDF and the US military. The USA has a number of military bases in Japan, which has repeatedly sparked protests amongst people in Japan. Anti-militarist groups are part of this year’s summit protests.

The official justification for the deployment of the military is the defense against “terrorist air strikes”. However, the Japanese police has had to admit that there is no evidence of such threats.

“As in Heiligedamm in 2007, there are attempts to further establish the cooperation between police and military forces. Contrary to all claims it is clearly political protest that is the target of the military apparatus. We are deeply critical of the militarization of social conflict”, Hanne Jobst from the Gipfelsoli Infogroup explained.


* Demonstrations to the G8-Hotel:
* Protests against the deportation of Korean trade unionists:
* Military deployment at the G8 in Japan:
* Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution:
* General info:

Kept at arm's length, protesters slam G8 leaders

SOBETSU, Hokkaido — Marching in light rain, more than 100 antisummit protesters accused the Group of Eight industrialized nations of contributing to poverty and global warming as they made their way to Toyako from the small town of Sobetsu, Hokkaido, on Monday.

With raised fists, the protesters shouted, "We're against the G8 summit. They are the ones causing poverty and environmental destruction."

The police presence was heavy as the protesters marched toward the lakeshore carrying signs opposing the Iraq war and globalization. Others called on the G8 leaders to rectify the global food crisis.

Leading other marchers in chants, one protester shouted, "We don't forgive the G8, which is responsible for the expansion of poverty!"

The demonstrators had gathered near a tent city where some 1,000 activists are staying, some 30 km from the luxury hotel in Toyako where leaders of the G8 industrialized powers are discussing surging food and oil prices along with climate change and African development.

In a rare move, Japanese authorities agreed to let the activists stay in these remote meadows, partly to make up for a shortage of hotel rooms but also to keep better watch on the demonstrations.

Monday's rally was just one of several protests planned during the three-day G8 summit.

Prices of raw materials and food are hitting record highs and driving inflation in emerging economies due to rising demand, increased biofuel production, unfavorable weather conditions and massive inflows of speculative money from hedge funds and other powerful investors.

Riots and protests have erupted in parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, and raised fears of malnutrition from the global food crisis.

The problem is very severe in Asia, where a billion people spend at least 60 percent of their income on food, according to Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda.

A 55-year-old nurse from Kobe criticized the G8 countries before the demonstration.

"The G8 summit is used to make adjustments to economic policies only for the rich nations. Poor nations are forced to follow their policies," she said.

Jun Yamamoto, 54, from Kyoto Prefecture, expressed concern about the surging inflation driven by speculative investment and said he doubted the G8 leaders can do anything to stop it.

"They cannot do anything. They need to put a policy on the table to totally stop speculative investment," he said. "Food is really important for our life.

"The inflation's effect is limited here in Japan. But the gap between the poor and the rich has widened. The accelerating inflation is a severe blow to the poor," said Yamamoto, who owns a cram school.



Open letter to the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda On Criminalization of Protest

Hokkaido, Japan—6 July 2008

We – environmentalists, social movements, peasant farmers, workers and civil society organisations – in solidarity with 23 Korean farmers and trade unionists who were denied entry to Japan denounce the authorities’ unwillingness to allow their participation in civil society events taking place parallel to the G8 summit on 7th until 9th July. Among other issues, the unionists and farmers were to raise awareness about the millions of Koreans who have been mobilising against their markets being forced open to the imports of American beef despite concerns of mad cow disease and the negative consequences for local food production and consumption. Organisations from around the world are protesting and holding public events in order to condemn the corporate-driven economic policies that are being ruthlessly being pursued by G8 countries with disregard for their impacts on people and the planet Due to reports from many signatory organisations, it appears that has been a broader, systematic approach to hinder civil society representatives entering Japan during the G8.

We would like to give a special thanks to the people of Hokkaido for their very warm welcome to such a beautiful region. We would like to express our concerns regarding the over-reaction of the police during protests and activities so far. We are disappointed that Japan, as host of the G8 summit, is criminalising freedom of expression. It is unacceptable for Japan, the G8 or any other countries to prevent healthy, critical debates from taking places alongside international meetings where decisions are being made that will affect the lives of millions of people around the globe.


Anti-Debt Coalition (KAU), Indonesia
Asian Migrant Centre
Batis Center for Women, Philippines
Centre for Promotion of Economic and Social Alternatives, Cameroon
Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM)
Equity Bd., Bangladesh
Focus on the Global South
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Philippines
FSU Trade Union, France
G8 Action Network Japan
IMADR, Japan
Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD)
Korean Confederation of Trade Union (KCTU), Korea
La Via Campesina
LDC Watch
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
NO-VOX Japan
People’s Movement Against Neocolonialism-Imperialism (Gerak Lawan), Indonesia
Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)
Trade Union Basques (ESK), Basque Country
Unnayan Onneshan Bangladesh
Friends of the Earth International
No-Vox France
Attac France

For more information on this event or to arrange interviews contact:

Mr. William Kramer: [+81] (0)90 5542 3194 (English, Spanish, Some French) Mr. Shinya Takeda: [+81] (0)80 2091 0813 (Japanese, English)


Defense Ministry, SDF to ramp up air defenses for summit

The Yomiuri Shimbun

F-15 fighter jets will patrol the skies over the Group of Eight summit talks beginning Monday in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The measure, decided by the Defense Ministry and Self-Defense Forces, has been prompted by concerns that fighters scrambled from the Air Self-Defense Force's Misawa and Chitose bases, in Aomori Prefecture and Hokkaido, respectively, would be unable to intercept a suspicious aircraft entering the restricted zone over the summit venue in time.
Tornado Reddelich

The Combat Air Patrol, or CAP, is extremely rare outside SDF exercises. In addition to using the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and high-performance radar of Aegis-equipped destroyers, the ministry and SDF plan to ensure the highest possible air security during the summit.

Perched on the top of the 625-meter Mt. Poromoi, some distance from any big cities, the summit venue--the Windsor Hotel Toya--is seen as easier to secure.

However, its location in a remote area means it can easily be spotted from the air, making it vulnerable to an airborne attack. The government will impose a no-fly zone around the venue within a radius of about 46 kilometers--the nation's largest air restriction--during the three-day summit meeting, in line with the Civil Aeronautics Law.

The SDF has drawn up patrol plans that prioritize preventing suspicious aircraft from entering the no-fly zone in an effort to counter the possibility of a plane hijacked by terrorists being flown into the venue, the sources said.

Under the measures, the SDF plans to use the AWACS system and E2C surveillance aircraft, which normally are based at the ASDF's Hamamatsu Air Base in Shizuoka Prefecture, to conduct air patrols over an extended area covering Hokkaido and the Tohoku region.

Two Aegis destroyers, which are well equipped for detecting aircraft, and about 10 escort vessels will be mobilized to back up the patrol, according to the sources. One of the two Aegis ships, Kongo, successfully shot down a ballistic missile in a test off the coast of Hawaii in December. During the summit meeting, the Kongo will be deployed in case of a possible attack with a long-range ballistic missile.

The Misawa and Chitose air bases also plan to improve their ability to allow aircraft to scramble, while a Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missile will be placed at the ASDF Yakumo Sub Base, which is about 60 kilometers from the venue, to counter a possible short-range missile attack.

The last line of defense will be the CAP.

Two F-15 fighters and two F-2 support aircraft are expected to patrol in the skies around the summit venue.

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said all measures possible would be taken to strengthen security for the high-profile meeting.
(Jul 6, 2008)