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(en) G8 2008: Japanese Call Out and latest planning update

Date Tue, 11 Dec 2007 13:40:35 +0200



dear friends, ---- Below is the latest from Japan. You can see that they are
working extremely hard to prepare for next summer. They are also very excited
about the possibility of a large international mix of activists. I think anyone
coming from outside of Asia will have a lot to learn from new Japanese friends,
and from other Asian activists. ---- I really hope you can take the time to read
the well-thought out message below, and do what you can to support our friends
in the only Asian nation to suffer having to fight the G8 every 8 years! >:-)
in solidarity, j, germany ---- from Japan 7 December: Welcome to Lake Toya! NO!
G8 Action ---- 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 ofthemed 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.) There will be a series of symposia, featuring activist type
intellectuals such as Michael Hardt, David Graeber, Marina Sitrin, and Andrej
Grubacic, who will come to Japan for solidarity.

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. But we can recommend the activists
who have many arrest records in the past and are nervous about it, but
absolutely want to come - please contact us and we shall try to make special
visa application.

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.
_________________________________________
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