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Indybay Feature
Tue Jul 1 2008 (Updated 07/06/08)
Arrests and Detentions of Activists and Independent Journalists in Japan
Resistance Against G8
In the lead up to the G8 Summit in Japan from July 7th through 9th, Japanese authorities have arrested domestic activists and have detained numerous foreign independent media journalists and anti-G8 protesters. At least six independent journalists and ten academics have been detained by Japanese immigration officials in the past weeks, including Andrej Grubacic, professor of sociology at the University of San Francisco.

Police arrested eight protesters on June 29, as 1,500 people marched against the G8 Summit in Tokyo's fashionable fashionable Shibuya and Shinjuku districts. Earlier this month, workers in Kamagasaki clashed with police and security in the face of violent repression and brutality against at least one worker.

July 5th saw the arrest of mainstream media journalist Masahiro Koike of Reuters Japan. Additionally, police shattered the windows of a van thought to be carrying protesters. All those arrested July 5, in total 4 persons, are reported to be Japanese nationals. Many non-Japanese have been refused entry or detained and questioned as they have tried to enter Japan.

Japan's security budget for the G8 Summit is at least 30 billion yen ($283 million), topping the 113 million euros ($186 million) Germany spent to host the summit of the world's most powerful "democratic" nations.

The G8 Summit will be held in the resort town of Toyako on the northern island of Hokkaido. Japanese activists opposing the summit call it an "arbitrary meeting of governments dominating the global financial market with the World Trade Organization and Free Trade Agreeements". They object to the fact that developing nations are forced to accept agreements like NAFTA in exchange for ODA (Official Developmental Assistance).

At the local level, they are concerned that in recent years Japanese social welfare has been reduced and the working poor have suffered. Agribusiness, a favorite topic of G8 discussion, runs counter to Japanese tradition of respect for individual farmers. At the same time, the US is urging Japan to re-arm despite having a constitution imposed by US Occupation Forces that calls for Japan to forever remain a peaceful nation.

The US led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are also targets of the G8 protests, and caricatures of President Bush with the theme "Wanted for Murder" were seen in internet video of the demonstrations.

On June 30th, the Counter-G8 International Forum opened in Hokkaido and will conclude on July 1st. Media G8way reports that anti-G8 activists from Japan and across the world came together to strategize on how to resist the G8 and construct alternatives to a system in which "financial crises, food crises and ecological destruction are inherent."

Journalist Arrested in Latest G8 Demo | G8 Protesters Take to Sapporo Streets in Anticipation of Toyako Summit | Japanese Police Deputize Household Pets/Soda Machines | G8 Dispatches: Contested Spaces in Tokyo | Resistance Against G8: Arrests and Detentions in Japan | Japan Detains SF Academic Ahead of G8 | Resistance action against police in Kamagasaki | No G8 | G8 Action Network
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