Japan July 7th-9th – 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.
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.”
Meanwhile, organizers continue to prepare protests and demonstrations against the summit. Daily six hour marches are planned from one of the main camps, Toyoura camp, into town, and a major demonstration estimated at 10,000 people is scheduled for July 5 in Sapporo.
No-G8! | Protests ahead of G8 summit in Japan, Julian Ryall, Telegraph.co.uk, July 6, 2008 | G8 summit: Breathtaking venue with no protesters to spoil the view, Justin McCurry, The Guardian, July 5, 2008 (“Huge Japanese security operation to keep anti-globalisation activists far from leaders”) | G-8 summit draws grab-bag of activists, causes / G-8 summit invokes use of journalistic cliches, tropes, Joseph Coleman, AP, July 7, 2008