East Asia Theater
Heavily-policed demonstrations were held in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo July 5 as world leaders began arriving on the island of Hokkaido for the G8 summit that opens Monday at Toyako mountain resort. A march of some 5,000 was lined with, and sometimes boxed in by, several thousand police in full riot gear. At least four people—including Reuters reporter Masahiro Koike—were arrested. Police shattered the window of a sound truck and dragged out the driver. AFP said the van failed to stop at a traffic stop. Japan Economic Newswire reported that a South Korean labor union official arriving for the protests was arrested at Sapporo's airport July 4 "on suspicion of obstructing an immigration officer."
Eight people were arrested June 29 as some 1,500 marched in downtown Tokyo to protest against the G8 summit that opens next week in Hokkaido. Chanting slogans including "Smash the summit," protesters clashed with riot police who maintained an intimidating presence around the march. (Kyodo News, June 29)
Activists on the NO-G8 e-mail list report that three "citizen reporters" from the Hong Kong alternative website In-media, arriving for the upcoming protests against the Hokkaido G8 summit, have been detained by Japanese authorities at the Tokyo airport. Korean activists from the KCTU trade union federation have also been barred entry by the Japanese government.
Riots erupted in Osaka's Kamagasaki district after a day-laborer was arrested June 12, and reportedly tied to a chair and beaten in police custody. When he was released the next day and told comrades what had happened, a protest of several hundred was held outside the police station. Riot police with body armor and water cannons were mobilized. At least seven were arrested in two nights of clashes. (Infoshop, June 16; UK Indymedia, June 15)
Over 40 people have been arrested in pre-emptive sweeps of left and anarchist groups in Japan ahead of the Hokkaido G8 summit. In the latest arrest, "Kin-chan" from the local anarchist collective Kamagasaki Patrol was detained without charge in Osaka June 10. (Gipfelsoli, Germany, June 13) That same day, 19 officers from the Kyoto Prefecture Security Police raided and searched the office used by the activist groups Rakunan Union, Rakunan Workers Network and Asia Joint Action (Asia Kyodokodo). (Gipfelsoli, June 13) Bloggers on the scene say the northern island of Hokkaido is being saturated with posters and other government propaganda urging citizen vigilance against terrorist activity. (Gipfelsoli, June 8)
More than 18,000 operators of construction machinery in South Korea are set to strike June 16 to press for cheaper fuel and higher pay, joining thousands of truckers who walked off the job last week, effectively shutting down the country's ports. About 14,000 truckers walked off the job June 13 after talks on higher pay and cheaper diesel broke down. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) also opposes President Lee Myung-bak's privatization and pension plans. Lee, elected by a landslide, has seen his popularity plummet after an unpopular deal to resume imports of US beef—which has also sparked massive protests in Seoul in recent days. (Reuters, June 16)
From Anarchist Black Cross-Osaka via the 325 Collective, June 6:
Anarchist in Kansai area (West Japan) arrested in G8 preparations—Solidarity needed!
Tabi Rounin, better known as 'Rebel_Jill' has been detained by police on minor charges in the run-up to the G8 in Japan, as the police attempt to investigate his international connections and disrupt his revolutionary activities. This is a known tactic of the Japanese political police, see here for a similar case (Comrade 'M') and also see this interview with Tabi.