July 1st 2008 Hokkaido

- Counter-G8 International Forum opens in Hokkaido
- Japan anti-G8 mobilization: Protests and Preparations. Update 29 june 2008.
- 8 arrested as 1,500 stage rallies in Tokyo against G-8 summit
- G8 COUNTDOWN: G8 security steps hit as dangerous precedent
- We condemn the Japanese government's human rights abuse and political oppression!
- In Protest Over the Japanese Ministry of Justice and...
- Media G8way Presswork supporting activists in Japan

[Media G8way ¦ Gipfelsoli Infogroup]

Press Release July 1 2008

* Counter-G8 International Forum opens in Hokkaido
* "The G8 is part of the problem, not the solution"
* Demonstrators continue to prepare protests and demonstrations, despite police scaremongering

Yesterday, the Counter-G8 International Forum opened in Hokkaido and will conclude this evening. Anti-G8 activists from Japan and across the world have come together to strategise on how to effectively resist the G8’s global nightmare and construct alternatives to a system in which financial crises, food crises and ecological destruction are inherent. Conference participants will discuss how ordinary people world-wide can continue to build resistance and make other possible worlds a reality. Discussion topics include precarity and labour, the commons and public goods, autonomous media, anti-capitalism, anti-militarism and the future of planetary organisation. Amongst the speakers are feminist political economist Mariko Adachi, John Holloway, author of "Change the World Without Taking Power", Michael Hardt, co-author of "Empire" and Japanese scholars Satoshi Ukai and Minoru Iwasaki.

“The G8 exists to further the interests of capital and its rulers: the G8 are the managers of a global machinery of violence. We only have to look to the harrowing effects of war, detention camps for migrants and privatisation for evidence. The G8 see poverty and global ecological catastrophe as welcome business opportunities that make the rich even richer. Such a logic only creates more poverty, insecurity and ecological disaster.” Sunia Highland, a migrant rights activist from the United States said.

"The G8 is part of the problem, not the solution", Anti-G8 protester Mary Brookes explained.

With seven days to go before the official G8 summit begins, this week has already seen three days of protest against the G8, starting in Kyoto with two days of resistance to the G8 Foreign ministers’ meeting and culminating yesterday with the Tokyo Day of Action against the G8 in which around 700 demonstrators took part in an overly policed march through the Shinjuku neighbourhood of central Tokyo.

Despite police scaremongering, activists continue to prepare protests and demonstrations against the summit. A daily six hour march is planned from the Toyoura camp to the town, and a major demonstration estimated at 10,000 people will take place on July 5 in Sapporo.

Entry into Japan for foreigner visitors continues to be difficult. WATCH, a lawyers network, issued a public statement condemning the excessive harassment of people on arrival in Japan.

*Background Information*
* Counter G8-International Forum [http://www.counterg8forum.org/]
* No G8 Action Japan [http://media.sanpal.co.jp/no-g8/]
* Network of Lawyers Observing Human Rights Around the G8 Hokkaido Summit 2008
* Independent media collective in Hong Kong (Chinese) [http://www.inmediahk.net/node/1000363]
* G8 Media Network [http://g8medianetwork.org]

Mary Brookes +81 80-3206-5959 (in Japan) marybrookesG8 AT gmail.com
G8 Media Network Japan, PR Unit: +81 3-3296-2720
press AT g8medianetwork.org
WATCH lawyers network, Ko Watari: +81 +427 830934

Japan anti-G8 mobilization: Protests and Preparations. Update 29 june 2008.

This week has seen three days of protest against the G8, starting in Kyoto with two days of resistance to the Foreign ministers’ meeting and culminating today with the Tokyo day of action against the G8.

Today, roughly 500-700 people took part in a heavily policed march through the Shinjuku neighbourhood of central Tokyo. The police were heavy handed and outnumbered protesters at least 2 to 1. There were three types of police. Traffic police, who mitigated between the demo and pedestrians/traffic; riot police who surrounded the demo the whole time and flanked the whole length of the demo from start to finish, and the public service police who wandered around taking notes and pictures. Many more police were stationed nearby in vans and full riot gear, and two vans of riot police followed behind the demo.

The Public Service Police, also called the ‘secret police’, (who are not undercover because they are SO obvious and not pretending to be anything other than what they are, but who are plainclothes police, and who according to a lawyer from the legal team, do not have the power of arrest, but only surveillance – write down observations, take pictures and generally harrass people) were also present en masse, with about twenty at every corner and on each street surrounding the starting point of the demonstration in Kashiwagi park. They also marched along side the demonstration on the pavement.

Despite the excessive police presence, the demonstration went fluently with no arrests and no major incidents. But the police were constantly pushing the participants on the outside and at the back of the demonstration getting them to move over or move faster. At times this was rather aggressive. Due to the police pushing from the side, the demo was often forced into being no more that a couple meters wide and created a rather claustrophic atmosphere to which, this time, no one rebelled.

At the march there was a small black bloc and a large puppet bloc. But neither were that visible among so many police.

After the demo the police dispersed much faster than the demonstrators. The demonstrators styed in Kashiwagi park, where some activists were also distributing food.

Impressions of the demonstration seem to be mixed. Everyone is glad it went off without a hitch and that there were no arrests, but the policing was unnecessarily excessive and many people felt it was all far too controlled an mechanized. The police also issued 6 warnings to the deonstration, even though there were no incidents. Normally even a more difficult democtration only receives one or two warnings.

The demonstration of the Revolutionary communist league which was happening simultaneously, had four arrests and only two warnings (according to a lawyer from an independent law firm that often supports activists called – Kyuen Renraku Centre)


The rest of the preparations are carrying on and becoming more and more concrete. The camp in Sapporo has now become an elementary school. The other two camps finalized the flyers and many of the last details this past Wednesday. Discussions have finally started about decision-making in the camps and the supply truck for the kitchen and food collective left for Sapporo on Friday.

The action plans are also more or less finalised. There will be a march every morning from the Toyoura camp at 7am (to be verified) to the town, which the orgnizers estimate as a 6 hour march. At the end point of the march there will be busses to pick up the demonstratores and take them back to the camp. This is to avoid that people make their own way back and risk getting arrested after the demonstration.

There will also be a big mobilization estimated at 10,000 people on July 5th in Sapporo.

Tonight we had the opening reception for the Counter G8 International Forum which starts in Tokyo tomorrow(today now). The schedule for the international Forum tomorrow is as follows: 13-15h: three different panel discussions: 1. The public or the common? – summit and the universities without conditions for tomorrow. 2. conditions of solidarity in the nation of zombies – global justice movement, singularity and the multitude. 3. Autonomous media multiply!. 15-17h: 1. Precarity Creates, 2. Toward Anti-capitalist Theory of capitalism, 3. Debates around the diversity of tactics. 18.30-20.30h: Globalization and the possibility of Oppositional Theory.

On Tuesday, the discussions from 18:30 – 20:30 will be about 1. the future of plenetary organization, 2. wht has happened in akihabara (the underground university of tokyo), 3. anti-war, anti-base – resistance against militarism; 4. Autonomia and the media movement

What might be important for people abroad to know is that the camp working group here (and I am sure others too) are severely in debt and could really use donations. Also, if there are any legal problems for activists here there is no free legal aid, so networks all over might need to prepare some fundraising.

Harrassement at immigration has continued, but it is really important to stress not just the harassment, but also the fact that everyone did eventually get into the country, so if people are thinking of coming, do come, don’t be discouraged. we need you here! Don’t let them scare you!

Source: email

8 arrested as 1,500 stage rallies in Tokyo against G-8 summit

Eight people were arrested Sunday as about 1,500 people staged rallies in two major shopping and business areas of Tokyo to protest against the July 7-9 Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido, police said.
The arrests were made during a rally near JR Shibuya Station where about 1,000 activists and others gathered, chanting slogans including ''Smash the summit,'' the police said.
Some of the protesters clashed with riot police and were arrested for obstructing the officers in the performance of their duty, the police said.

Source: http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=386417

G8 COUNTDOWN: G8 security steps hit as dangerous precedent

KYOTO — Their region having played host to three Group of Eight ministerial conferences over the past month, many in Kansai are breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the security measures that residents, and even summit participants, found excessive are now in the past.

But human rights activists warn the heavy police presence and security checks seen in Kansai are setting a dangerous precedent for next month's G8 summit in Hokkaido and future international events throughout Japan.

In May, Kobe hosted the G8 environment ministers meeting amid unusually tight security.

Several days before the summit, some local media got wind that a ship belonging to Sea Shepherd, the conservation group that clashed with the Japanese whaling fleet earlier this year, might dock in Kobe during the event.

NGOs present in Kobe suspect the rumor, which turned out to be false, was started by Japanese police seeking to justify the huge amount of money being spent on security this year for all of the related summits.

Kobe's Port Island, the site of the environment ministers conference, was a virtual fortress during the event, with traffic heavily restricted, many roads blocked off and hundreds of uniformed police officers and plainclothesmen patrolling the area.

Inside the Portopia Hotel, where the ministers met, guests and visitors had to undergo strict security checks that surprised even the top U.N. top climate change negotiator.

In Osaka, police began warning commuters in late April of security checks in subways for the two-day G8 finance ministers meeting in mid-June.

Traffic checks on the narrow, always crowded streets around the Osaka International Convention Center — the site of the meeting — tested the patience of many Osakans, a group not noted for their forbearance.

But the Kobe and Osaka events were topped by the security at the foreign ministers meeting in Kyoto on Thursday and Friday. Nearly 6,200 police officers were mobilized for the meeting.

Non-G8 visitors to Kyoto before and during the conference discovered that coin lockers in Kyoto Station were sealed and the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the Kyoto Guesthouse is located, was closed off.

The Kobe and Osaka meetings saw no major demonstrations. But on Wednesday night, nearly 300 anti-G8 demonstrators marched peacefully through the streets of Kyoto.

Riot police shepherded the marchers through Maruyama Park and the historic Gion district while plainclothesmen, their faces hidden behind white masks and sunglasses, videotaped the demonstrators.

On June 10, Kyoto police raided the office of a local anti-G8 activist and arrested him on a four-year-old charge of illegally applying for unemployment insurance.

On Thursday, a South Korean labor activist opposed to the G8 meetings was forced to return home after being denied entry to Japan.

Cheong Ui Heon arrived at Kansai International Airport on Wednesday and was planning to take part in a demonstration that night, but was detained by Immigration authorities after allegedly being told the purpose of his trip to Japan was too vague.

Jun Yamamoto, secretary general of Asian Wide Cooperation Kyoto, an anti-G8 NGO, said it was clear both the June 10 arrest and the refusal to allow the South Korean activist into Japan were aimed at intimidating those the government fears, and warned the heavy security seen in Kansai this past month bodes ill.

"The G8 summits have provided a dangerous pretext for the authorities to use preventing terrorism as an excuse to violate the constitutional rights of Japanese and the human rights of foreigners entering Japan. As bad as the security in Kansai was, it's going to be worse at Hokkaido next month, " Yamamoto said.


Source: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080628a5.html

We condemn the Japanese government's human rights abuse and political oppression!

first draft of the statement

The Group of 8 Summit is scheduled to be held July 7-9 in Hokkaido, Japan. Many people from all over the world are entering Japan to voice and show their oppostion to the G8. The leaders of these countries gather to make decisions that spread war, poverty, ecological destruction and discrimination throughout the world. Therefore, it is the basic right of all the people in the world who have been oppressed and discriminated against to oppose the G8 summit and the power that it unfairly exerts on their lives.

However, the Japanese government are repressing this voice of protest with excessive force. Many people have been detained at the airport and denied entry to Japan.
Pic: No G8

3 media activists from Hong Kong were held for 10 hours at the airport, and released after interrogation and search. 2 South Korean researchers Yi-jinkyung and Goh Byeong-gwon had to go through the same ordeal. They are going to make a presentation and participate in the debate at the counter G8 forum. Other academics and researchers whose names were listed on the forum have also suffered long interrogation and search from Japanese immigration officials.

Moreover, the Japanese government is denying entry to some people and deporting them to their native countries. A labor activist from South Korea was denied entry to Kyoto June 26 and had to return home. Another South Korean activist, Kara had been held at the Haneda airport for 18 hours and finally denied entry. He was forced to leave Japan, too.

The Japanese government did not provide Kara with proper food and sleeping place. His rights to receive legal help were denied. Over the telephone, he said he had been treated very poorly and badly by the Japanese immigration officials. He had demanded that the government to give him proper food and sleeping place but was only to be ignored. His human rights were seriously abused by Japanese authorities.

Kara entered Japan in March 2008 and attended some anti-G8 activities, which made him a target of Japan. He did not committ any crime and was not associated with any type of violence. He just used his freedom of press and association. So we think that Japanese government’s block his entry into Japan is an obvious human rights violation and politically motivated oppession.

Japanese government has been collecting finger prints and photographs of all foreigners who enter Japan. Collection of finger prints is also human rights violation, because it makes everyone potential criminals.

Therefore, our demands to the Japanese government are

- Japanese government must release everyone who is being kept at the airport

- Japanese government must recognize the freedom of press and association

- Japanese government must stop collecting finger prints from foreigners

- Japanese government must stop hosting the G8 summit which spreads war, poverty, violence and ecological destruction throughout the world.

June 29, 2008 No G8 people in South Korea

Source: http://blog.jinbo.net/noG8/

In Protest Over the Japanese Ministry of Justice and...

In Protest Over the Japanese Ministry of Justice and Immigration Service's Unjust Restrictions on Members of Scholarly and Media Communities Attempting to Enter Japan and to Protect Freedom of Speech and Expression

June 30, 2008

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

Eleven well-known international scholars scheduled to be panelists at the Counter-G8 International Forum being held in Tokyo from June 30 until July 1 have been detained at the airport and subjected to long hours of questioning. Several of these scholars were refused entry because their plans for the days between meetings were not clear.

Later they were given special permission for entry with their planned time limit significantly shortened.

Meanwhile, many international journalists and media workers coming to Japan to cover events related to the G8 Summit continue to be held and questioned in a similar manner and for no particular reason at various airports.

These measures constitute the unjust immigration detention of scholars and media workers. This is not only an infringement on the expression of various opinions, feelings, and perspectives on the G8, it also has a profoundly chilling effect on investigative research and reporting.

Our network urges the Ministry of Justice and Immigration Services Bureaus of Administration to halt these unjust immigration screenings immediately and resume the usual screening practices in order to protect freedom of expression and intellectual freedom during the G8 Summit.

Source: email

Media G8way Presswork supporting activists in Japan

Media G8way was set up in 2007 as an international press service for individuals, groups, networks and (dis)organizations who understand themselves to be part of an independent radical left movement against the G8. Media G8way does not claim responsibility for the content of the statements it distributes on behalf of the groups or individuals who use its service. This year, Media G8way will be supporting the efforts of activists in Japan to distribute news and information about protests against the Japanese G8 Summit, 7-9 July 2008.

We met with people from the G8 Media Network (g8medianetwork.org) during anti-G8 Infotour in Japan in 2007, and have been in very close contact with No G8 Action Japan (http://media.sanpal.co.jp) since its first beginnings.

Our intention is to support the efforts of activists in Japan to get information about the protests out to international media. We are in close contact with activists in Japan.

Your help is very much appreciated. More help is needed to circulated radical perspectives and information in languages other than Japanese. We are able to help with info and press releases in English and German, but if you can help by translating to your language and posting to your indymedias, email lists, and/or mainstream media, that would be great!

Your Media G8way Crew

Email: g8-press-int@nadir.org
Web: http://gipfelsoli.org/Home/Hokkaido_2008/MediaG8way_Hokkaido

CounterSpin Collective G8 2005: http://www.shutthemdown.org/Resources/Ch%2031.pdf
Media G8Way G8 2007: http://www.gipfelsoli.org/Home/Heiligendamm_2007/MediaG8way_Heiligendamm