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(en) Japan, Controls Increased ahead of G8

Date Fri, 04 Jul 2008 22:37:40 +0300



The protests against the 2008 G8 summit have begun. On Thursday a
demonstration took place in Kyoto against the G8 foreign ministers
meeting. There are three protests camps in Sapporo, the nearest town to
Lake Toya, where the G8 summit will take place from July 7-9.
Alternative media centres in Sapporo and Tokyo have been set up and a
network of critical lawyers is ready to support demonstrators. Events,
conferences and demonstrations are scheduled for the coming week. Many
activists from around the world have travelled to Japan, amongst them
anarchist and trade union groups from other Asian countries.

Meanwhile, the police are attempting to delegitimate and divide the
movement. More than 40 people were arrested two weeks ago, and squats
have been searched. Following a raid on a trade union office in the
working class neighbourhood Kamagasaki in Osaka, confrontations with
police ensued which lasted for a number of days.

Since Tuesday the controls at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo
have been stepped up. Foreigners have been questioned and searched for
up to 12 hours. Some have been asked to provide detailed plans of their
activities for each day of their stay. In spring this year, the Japanese
Government changed the requirements for entry into the country.

Already last August, the German Federal POlice (BKA) provided the
Japanese investigation authorities with information on the networks and
coalitions that participated in the anti-G8 protests in Heiligendamm in
2007. Japanese police travelled to Berlin to learn about measures
against summit protests. The BKA'a president Mr Ziercke promised to
continue to provide "all relevant data".

During the 2007 G8 summit protests the German police compiled an
extensive database with photos and fingerprints, which presumably
includes all 1.800 people who were arrested during the protests.
Although only a very small number of them were actually convicted of
anything this data has not been destroyed. Normally, inclusion in such a
database is sufficient to be denied entry into a country during a summit
meeting.

Trade unionists of the Korean "Confederation of Trade Unions" have been
issued a blanket entry denial. Also the Italian philosopher and activist
Toni Negri has been denied entry. Only yesterday two media activists of
the Hong Kong collective "In-Media" were arrested at the airport.

The police has issued a number of posters 'warning' the Japanese public
about the protests by comparing them to the London 7/7 bombings in 2005.
One of the posters depicts a demolished London bus next to a photo of a
burnt out car in Rostock. The public is being asked to report suspicious
persons directly to the police. Hotels across Japan have been instructed
to send photocopies of all passports of foreign guests to the police.

In the coming week there will be protests against the G8 summit
worldwide, inclding in France,Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain and the
Basque Country.
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