Our presentation consists of following contents:
(1) Action Plans
(2) About the projects
(3) Facilities for foreign visitors
(4) Japanese police behavior and Immigration situations
(5) Call out
(1) Action Plans
The G8 Summit will take place between the 7th and 9th of July. Our action days
will begin on the 1st of July. There will be a series of themed demos in Sapporo
during succeeding four days.
For now the themes are tentatively: (1) Anti-neo-liberalism, namely,
anti-poverty, precarity, homelessness; (2) farmers'day, characterizing Hokkaido
as the land of farmers; (3) anti-military base/anti-war; and (4) the day of
natives and minorities, symbolizing the Ainu people, Hokkaido's native habitants
before Japan's colonization in the 19th century.
July 5th shall be the day of mass rally and demo in Sapporo. We propose to make
it the international day of action, calling a simultaneous protest in different
cities of the world. During the three days of the Summit we are planning mass
direct action at sites near Lake Toya. People are trying to approach the site as
close as possible to send their voices.
Various groups are planning different direct actions. The tactics are varied.
You will get the information from the affinity groups in Japan. You are
encouraged to make proposals or organize your own actions in consultation with
Japanese groups. Your creativity is most welcome and appreciated.
(2) Various Projects
Japanese activists scene needs global connections and exposure, so we ask for
different types of participations. What is crucial primarily is a convergence,
namely, to meet and talk person to person. Aside from the actions, we are
planning the following events.
Global Activist Conference:
All the activists who have a little extra time are encouraged to meet at
workshops and speak about themselves. These will take place in Tokyo,
Kyoto/Osaka area, and Sapporo, around the end of June. (As we shall explain in a
minute, most of the foreign activists who go to Hokkaido have to travel either
via Tokyo or Osaka.)
Music concerts of Anti-G8 theme are planned in Tokyo, Sapporo, as well as at the
camp near Lake Toya, the site of the G8. The participants are punks, Djs, and
vanguard musicians who took part in the Sound Demonstrations against Iraq war
(we will show you the image of this type demo later).
In Sapporo City, we are organizing screenings of films related to the Global
Justice Movement and the Anti-G8 projects from the past.
Various kinds of radical theater groups are going to take part in the anti-G8
protests, some in their own theater space, others on the street or other sites.
About the events organized by other groups, there will be Alternative Summit
(from July 6th to 8th 2008), involving wider range of groups including NGOs. NO!
G8 Action is going to be part of. There will also be a summit of the natives.
Meanwhile the state of Japan is planning a international conference of
university presidents. Against this a coalition of students’ organizations are
calling for protest.
(3) Facilities for foreign visitors
Transportation: We are still researching the safest and cheapest way to get
there from different locations. We shall begin to upload the information at our
website in the near future. But so far, our tentative conclusion is that the
airplane might be the cheapest way, rather than boat or train (i.e.,
trans-Siberia railway as some have suggested).
To get to Sapporo, which is the nearest city to Lake Toya and the biggest city
in Hokkaido, you will have to fly either via Tokyo or Osaka. Hokkaido is
connected to the mainland only via airplane or boat, namely, there is no car
traffic accessible to it. So all of you might as well stay in either city for a
period of time, before the summit and participate in the events.
In Tokyo, we will set up a convergence center where you get information and
participate in workshops. We will secure cheapest accommodation (about $15 per
night) in a certain area of the city. Also we will organize network of people
who are willing to accommodate the visitors for free. In Osaka/Kyoto area, we
shall set up similar facilities and situations. But these two urban areas are
very different and the activist communities are also different.
In Sapporo, there will be a convergence center. There will be a camp where you
can stay with your own tents and sleeping bags. Vegan food is available for
free, with sliding scale donations. There will be workshops and events.
There will be an independent media center, where foreign media activists can go
and set up their station.
From Sapporo, Lake Toya can be reached either by train (three hours) or car
(two hours). Bus ride will take three hours.
There will be a camp and media center as well. This is the place where the main
events will take place.
(4) About Japanese Police and Immigration Issues
The most common weapons Japanese police carry are truncheons, plastic shields,
and sand-stuffed gloves. They used to use tear gas and water-cannon, but not
much recently. Pepper spray has not been used for some time, but some source
says that they might start using it. They don’t do mass-arrests like the
European and American police. They tend to do close combat by forming a line and
arrest people one by one by drawing them into their side.
It is not illegal to hide your face on the street. One does not have to respond
to their interrogations; one does not have to let them check their belongings.
These are not obligation but only voluntary cooperation. They rarely start
attacking protesters like elsewhere; they are not as aggressive as American and
European police forces.
If you are Japanese, once you are arrested, you are advised to be completely
silent, and likely to be held for twenty three days - the extensions of 3 days,
10 days, and 10 days. The enormity of the custody period has been criticized by
the Amnesty International.
But there is one thing we would like you to know. In the past, foreign political
activists have rarely been arrested. The police prefer to let them go. Probably
there is a policy of not making political events internationally known. Japan
tends to be very nervous about their international reputation. We are hoping
that this will remain the same for the anti-G8 2008.
In any case, a legal team has been formed, while politicians and civic
organizations have organized a campaign to watch police behaviors towardthe G8 2008.
The bad news is that beginning from the late November, Japan will begin to
employ the same immigration rules as the US. It is locally called the “US
Visit,” where all foreign visitors are finger-printed and photo-taken. People
are organizing a wide opposition to this.
We cannot tell you how severe the restriction of the immigration will be for the
activists coming for the anti-G8 protests. All in all, if Japanese immigration restricts foreign visitors too severely on this occasion, this will be made into a international stir. We will prepare a campaign for this.
(5) Come to Lake Toya! Or International Days of Action
Most of all, we would love to have you there. This is a crucial moment for
Japanese social and political movements to open themselves to be global and
uplift their spirits. For this your creative engagement is indispensable.
But of course, everybody cannot come. So please respond to our call for
international action day in a way most suitable for you.
anarchist editing service
This action was held in solidarity with the international protests against the extreme and unjust attacks waged by the state of Italy through demands of excessive punishment against 25 activists who were arrested during the 2001 G8 Genoa protests. A massive demonstration took place in Genoa, Italy in 2001 against the G8 Summit. In the cases against the 25 activists who were arrested during the protests, the Italian state prosecution is demanding jail sentences between 6 and 16 years each, a total of 225 years. There has never been such high sentence demands for street clashes. On the other hand, the cases against police officers and Carabinieri (Italian military police force under direct control of the Ministry of Defense), charged in relation to the numerous injured and one dead due to excessive security methods, are being stalled in order to take advantage of the statute of limitation that will soon expire.
To protest against the unjust repression by the state, there was a call for an anti-repression demonstration on November 17 in Italy. Calls for solidarity actions were also heard in Germany, where massive demonstrations broke out during the G8 Rostock this year, and the wave of international solidarity had reached areas all over the world, including Japan, the host country for next year's G8 Summit. A group of protesters formed "NO G8/Anti-repression Solidarity Action"and responded to the call for international solidarity actions.
To The Italian Embassy
The group of protesters of the "NO G8/Anti-repression Solidarity Action" headed to the Italian Embassy located in Minato-ku (district), Tokyo, having informed the embassy staff in advance that they will be lodging a protest. As soon as they arrived at the embassy, they immediately started the protest. The embassy staff held a cautious stance and started to film the protesters with a video camera from inside the embassy building. After quite a while, four embassy staff came out of the building. Then the protesters started to lodge the protest and handed the staff a letter of protest addressed to the Ambassador to Japan, Mario Bova and Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Romano Prodi. The embassy staff received the letter of protest.
Two protesters detained by the police
At the same time, a little while after the protest started, a local police officer on bicycle appeared and started questioning the protesters about their action. Then, a police car appeared in great state. After finishing the protest, they left the Italian Embassy but the police officers who were following them blocked their way. They did so despite the fact that they were walking on public roads and when they were even on their way home.
The police asked the protesters to identify themselves, on the pretext of "police questioning". They responded by demanding to provide the legal basis for this "police questioning", but obviously the police officers disregarded the protesters' demand. Eventually, the police detained two protesters for about one hour without any legal basis.
The fight against all forms of repression continues
What should be noted is method of repression inflicted by the Italian Embassy and the Japanese police.
First of all, it's obvious that the embassy staff called the police because police officers arrived soon after the protest started. The protest group informed the embassy staff beforehand that they were going to lodge a protest and did so in an orderly manner. Despite this, the manner in which the Italian Embassy tried to get rid of the protesters by using police force is exactly the attitude of the Italian government towards the anti G8 movement.
Secondly, responding to a "police questioning" carried out by the police officers is based on voluntary will and has no legal basis whatsoever to force one to answer questions. "Police questioning" is not limited to a protest situation and can be seen anywhere on the streets. However, it this is none other than a "forced detention" based solely on the police officer's interest.
We assume that the intent of the government and the police to suppress the movement against the G8 does not differ, whether it be Italy or Germany or Japan. However we can not condone this kind of unjust and illegal obstruction by the police. We commit ourselves to smash the G8 Lake Toya next year, and to keep up the fight against all forms of repression.
NO G8/Anti-repression Solidarity Action