Archive for the 'Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008' Category
Posts dealing with the 2008 Toyako G8 Summit, and the treatment of NJ residents etc. due to excessive security precautions
Posted by debito on 9th November 2010
In case you haven’t heard, the latest APEC Summit is coming up in Yokohama this weekend. Aside from the regular boilerplate on places like NHK about how we’re gearing up to greet and communicate effectively with foreigners (with some smattering on the security measures — cops on every corner looking busy and alert etc.), we once again are hearing next to nothing (if any media is talking about this, please send source) about how security means targeting NJ as potential criminals and terrorists.
It’s one thing to have Police State-style lockdowns. It’s another matter of great concern to Debito.org for those lockdowns to encourage racial profiling. This seems to happen every time we have any major international summitry (see past articles here, here, here, and here), and as usual no media seems to question it. An eyewitness account redacted only in name that happened last week in Gotanda, Tokyo, quite a distance from the Yokohama site, follows. Anyone else out there getting racially profiled and zapped by the fuzz? Make sure you mention the whens and wheres, please. Thanks.
Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government, Media | 38 Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd June 2010
Economist London: FOR all his gifts as a political tactician, Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister, may have miscalculated how much Canadians want to pay to host the G8 and G20 summits from June 25th to 27th. As the government struggles to close a large budget deficit, it is spending C$1.2 billion ($1.2 billion) to host the world’s leaders—60% more than Japan, the previous record holder, coughed up for the G8 gathering in Okinawa in 2000.
Canadian Press: Auditor General Sheila Fraser is ready to look at the huge security costs for the G8 and G20 summit meetings next month. ”Once the events have occurred and the spending has occurred we can look to see if it was done appropriately,” she told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.
COMMENT: Let’s see how a vetting media works. Investigating journalists uncover money being wasted and tell the public about it. Few apparent fears in the domestic media about spoiling the party for our international guests. And no apparent trampling on civil liberties. Should happen in Japan too, as we have freedom of the press. But no, check out what happened the last two times Japan hosted G8 Summits (here and here). I think it’s about time we stopped this corrupt nonsense. It’s like holding an Olympics every year in a sparkling new venue, except nobody can attend but government elites. Pigs at the trough.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Cultural Issue, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Media | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 15th March 2010
What follows is the Table of Contents for an information packet I will be presenting Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants Jorge A. Bustamante, who will be visiting Japan and holding hearings on the state of discrimination in Japan. Presented on behalf of our NGO FRANCA (Sendai and Tokyo meetings on Sun Mar 21 and Sat Mar 27 respectively).
It’s a hefty packet of about 500 pages printed off or so, but I will keep a couple of pockets at the back for Debito.org Readers who would like to submit something about discrimination in Japan they think the UN should hear. It can be anonymous, but better would be people who provide contact details about themselves.
Last call for that. Two pages A4 front and back, max (play with the fonts and margins if you like). Please send to email@example.com by NOON JST Thursday March 18, so I can print it on my laser printer and slip it in the back.
Here’s what I’ll be giving as part of an information pack. I haven’t written my 20-minute presentation for March 23 yet, but thanks for all your feedback on that last week, everyone…
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Articles & Publications, Exclusionism, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, FRANCA, GAIJIN HANZAI mag, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Injustice, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Speech materials, United Nations | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th September 2009
Something coming up next week of surprising interest to Debito.org: Guv Ishihara’s pet project to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Tokyo. We’ll hear the decision on October 2. Here’s where Debito.org stands:
While understandable a sentiment (what booster wouldn’t want to bring such a probable economic boon home?), Debito.org has been unflinching in its criticism both of Ishihara (for his xenophobic rantings over the years, start here) and of the Tokyo Police (keishicho), who will no doubt be given charge of the security at the event. As history has shown repeatedly (G8 Summits, overt and unapologetic racial profiling — even public scapegoating of NJ, border fingerprinting justified on bigoted grounds, deliberate misconstruing of crime data to whip up public fear, even spoiling one of the last Beatles concerts!), you don’t want to hand over matters of public security to a police force without proper checks and balances — because as even Edward Seidensticker noted, Keishicho will convert Tokyo into a police city if the event is big enough. The Olympics is just that, and it really complicates things by bringing in foreigners, for the police get particularly anal when they feel the outside world is watching.
Terrie below (understandably) hopes Tokyo gets the Olympics. I, for the record, hope it doesn’t. It’s not because I live in Sapporo (I would have mildly supported Fukuoka’s bid, even despite the NPA, simply because Fukuoka never had the chance — unlike Sapporo — to be an Olympic host). But the fact remains, as Terrie alludes to below, this is just a vanity project for one mean old man, working through Japan’s elite society to get what he wants, who feels as though he’s got one good deed to redeem all his bad works and ill-will over the years. Don’t fall for Ishihara’s ego, IOC. Spare Tokyo, its tourists, and its ever-more-policed international residents. Give the Olympics to somebody else.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Sport | 40 Comments »
Posted by debito on 2nd January 2009
To open 2009, here’s my annual essay where I note ten things that caused me to think quite a bit last year. Some things I partook in (books and media and whatnot) might also be interesting for you to delve into as well. For what they’re worth, and in no particular order: Iijima Ai’s death, 2008 Cycletrek, FRANCA, Toyoko G8 Summit, California Trip 2008, ENRON and SICKO movies, two Francis Wheen books, my Japan Times column, Ken Burns THE WAR, and HANDBOOK for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.
Posted in Handbook for Newcomers, History, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 31st July 2008
The Economist: “FOREIGNERS deemed potential protesters are being kept out of China during the Olympic games (August 8th-24th). Beijing is ringed with police checkpoints to keep troublemakers at bay. But the authorities have named three city parks where demonstrations, in theory, will be allowed. They are well out of earshot of the main Olympic venues and police permits will be needed (five days’ notice required). Chinese rules ban any protest that threatens public security or social stability. This is routinely used to block any demonstration that citizens have the temerity to propose.”
Er, sounds a lot like the G8 Summit in Hokkaido this month. Now why wasn’t that as newsworthy to The Economist?
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th July 2008
(excerpt) So this time [the G8 Summit organizers are] cutting back, with expenditures only about one-fourth that of the Okinawa Summit. Participants will receive a bag embroidered in the style of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu. In keeping with the conference’s ecological message, press kits handed out to reporters in “eco bags” were made from recycled materials. Other commemorative souvenirs such as furoshiki (a wrapping cloth used for carrying items) and chopsticks were also made from recycled materials.
Perhaps, the magazine remarks, foreign newsmen who recall Japan’s magnanimous generosity at the previous Nago Summit were a bit disappointed this year.
Among the local delicacies the foreign visitors could partake, Shukan Shincho continues, was Mame no Bunshiro Kazuno Natto, a gourmet variety of fermented soybeans, which are typically disdained by many foreigners due to their unfamiliar odor and texture, from Donan Hiratsuka Shokuhin Co. The beans also contain reishi (Ganodermalucidum), an edible fungus that boasts medicinal properties…
Posted in Cultural Issue, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Humor, Japanese Government | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 11th July 2008
Concomitant to my recent assertion that the world media is waking up to how much of a useless gathering, if not an outright scam, these G8 Summits are, let’s collect some articles on this blog entry demonstrating as such. Feel free to add articles in the comments section below, only please take care to include the name of the media publication, date, full text of article, and link. Thanks. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Kicking off with the Financial Times, London:
Pipe dreams and cigar smoke
Published: July 10 2008 03:00
For proof that the G8 has outlived its usefulness, one need look no further than the inability of the world’s richest democracies to forge an agreed global strategy for tackling climate change. The refusal by China and India to endorse its proposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions renders this week’s G8 summit in Japan pointless. Any notion a club of eight nations could run the world – never plausible – is now so discredited as to call into question the value of all its declarations. More…
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th July 2008
Wrapping up this long-running series on the G8 Summit, here’s a blog entry on last night’s Sapporo speech by Japan Times Deputy Editor Eric Johnston, sponsored by the Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA). Photos and links to his powerpoint and an audio recording of the event below.
Brief: On July 10, 2008, Eric spoke for an hour and change on the state of newspaper media (versus the bloggers, who at times were better connected to Summiteers than the mainstream journalists), the inefficiencies of Summit reporting and how it blocked true journalism (including a press center far away from the Summit site, and a GOJ stranglehold over press schedules–one example given was four hours’ travel and wait time for a sixty-second press conference with PM Fukuda), the incredible economic and ecological waste that goes on at these Summits (including, he says, a ton of lamb meat left uneaten due to journalist time constraints), and the flat-out lying to the local governments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs re getting the local economies involved in Summit events (this was apparently Tokyo’s show all the way–shutting out local pensions for “Ministry-certified hotels”, which gouged the journalists with JPY 60,000 hotel rooms, and not allowing local businesses to take much advantage of the world’s attention). Thus sequestered and sealed off from the stories they had come a long way to report, the journalists at the media center could have been anywhere in the world, and all that any journalist (working 16 to 18 hour days), who didn’t have the gumption to leave the site and go searching for his or her own stories, saw of Japan was the center’s sushi bar.
Oh yes, and Eric talked about the goal of the Summit and appraises whether or not it was successful. Most people don’t think so. And despite the relative boosterism by GOJ-influenced press like NHK, the world media is now beginning to see these summits for what they are–basically highly wasteful and expensive parties for politicians, with only one real working day to consider a few major issues and, for the most part, agree that something is “a good idea”, rather than hammer out any specific policy or agreement. All with us taxpayers footing the bill (particularly us Japanese taxpayers, paying ten or more times more, as usual, than last year’s Summit).
As one of the attendees of tonight’s speech commented, it was like the circus had come to town, set up their tent on a vacant lot, then shut the locals out from their show. Then they departed, leaving nothing behind but a vacant lot. More…
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Media, Speech materials | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 9th July 2008
Here’s something simultaneously scary and amusing: a bomb threat by a Japanese man during (but unrelated to, he claims) the G8 Summit. Naturally, as contributor AW points out, he would not have been snagged by the Hokkaido Police’s racial profiling. And image the hay the police would make if the perp had been NJ. “Hey, good thing we did all the security checks on the gaijin!.” Sorry there’s not much hay to be made this time around–wrong race. Maybe it’s time the police disengaged race and nationality from criminal intent. But I’ve suggested that both to them and to readers here ad nauseam by now. Sigh. Debito in Sapporo
Man arrested for making bomb threat at Chitose airport
Kyodo/Japan Today Wednesday 09th July, 06:40 AM JST
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th July 2008
Here’s a quick eyewitness report on what effect security forces in downtown Sapporo are having on residents. The good news–the cops are mellow while plentiful, and not quick with a daystick when they see someone like me taking pictures. I was not stopped for an ID check once, a definite improvement on World Cup 2002. The bad news–people are staying away from Summit security areas and business is being adversely affected. Now let’s just hope something good comes out of this goddamn Summit to justify all the time, effort, expense, and inconvenience inflicted upon everybody. On-site photos included.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008 | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th July 2008
Paul Arenson writes a thoughtful letter regarding media coverage of the G8, particularly his misgivings with the Japan Times. Originally sent as a comment, I am reproducing this as a full-on blog entry. Opinions are his. Debito
PAUL ARENSON’S UNPUBLISHED (SO FAR) LETTER TO THE JT
It is undoubtedly true that the Japan Times’s coverage of the G8 Summit is superior to that of the other news media. Only you give voice to the concerns raised over the heavy-handed security, which has already seen entry denied to some non mainstream journalists and activists and has served to intimidate counter-G8 activists from exercising their democratic rights.
As well, you do occasionally carry an article critical of the posturing by G8 leaders, such as ” NGOs worried Africa will get short shrift” in the July 4 issue.
All in all, however, your G8 coverage tends to stick closely to the scripted comments of government leaders and only the most mainstream NGOs. What is missing are the voices of those who are critical of the summit itself. Dozens of international and local GROUPS are attempting to gather near the summit venue and around Japan in order to address the inequalities imposed by the neoliberalism of the G8 economies on the rest of the world. These include drastic reductions in social welfare, the growth of the working poor, food safety held hostage to free trade agreements and pro agro-business policies, wars fought for oil and drastic attacks on civil liberties with post-9-11 hysteria being used to justify increased police surveillance in the US and Japan.
A glance at any of the counter-G8 summit websites will reveal dozens of multi-issue groups, from those representing the homeless of Sanya to people concerned with the possible loss of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, to those who seek dept cancellation. Representatives of these groups have been most affected by the extreme “security” measures. Your lack of coverage only serves to aid and abet the overzealous authorities in silencing their voices, which is certainly not becoming for a newspaper which claims to print all the news “without fear or favor”.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th July 2008
Hokkaido Shinbun on the police’s control over Japan’s right of assembly: According to the police, applications to hold a total of ten demos in Sapporo were lodged from June 2 to 8, and five around Iburi Subprefecture’s Toyako Town were applied for between June 6 and 9. The Hokkaido Public Safety Commission has granted permission for one of them, to be conducted in Sapporo on July 2. The other approaches are now under consideration.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 6th July 2008
Campsites for civil activists from around the world who are visiting the area for the Hokkaido Toyako Summit were set up in Sapporo and Ishikari Subprefecture’s Tobetsu Town on July 3. Approximately 30 campers from the United States, Germany and other countries arrived in the morning at the Disaster Reserve Center in Tobetsu Town, which has been set up in a closed school, and immediately pitched tents there.
A total of 300 visitors are expected to flock to the sites between now and July 6, and voluntary study meetings are scheduled to be held there. The Sapporo International Exchange Camp Executive Preparation Council (the organization managing the campgrounds) intends to use the sites as spaces to discuss ways of internationalization in a style different from the talks led by the G8 nations.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Japanese Government | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 5th July 2008
Japan plans to spend more than ¥60 billion in taxpayer money to host next week’s Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido and related events, prompting some to question if that sum could better be used to alleviate the national health-care and social welfare crises…
“The previous (Japanese) summit was held for the first time in a provincial area. So we wanted no mistakes and tried to provide as much hospitality as possible,” Masamoto said. Before the Kyushu-Okinawa gathering, Japan hosted three summits, all in Tokyo.
Masamoto admitted the Kyushu-Okinawa gathering drew public criticism about spending at a time when Japan’s economy was in a prolonged slump.
During the leaders’ banquet hosted by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, they feasted on black Russian caviar, lobster from Bretagne, France, and Foie gras.
Souvenirs were also given to the leaders, their wives and journalists.
They included wine glasses with their names inscribed, clothing by famous designers, lacquer letter boxes, IC recorders and Licca-chan dolls…
The Foreign Ministry said it has no comparable data of other countries’ budgets for past G8 meetings.
But according to the British government’s Web site, the U.K. budgeted about £12.1 million, or around ¥2.6 billion in present value, for the 2005 summit it hosted in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th July 2008
Final word for now: It seems the Japanese police are more concerned about giving the appearance of security than creating actual security. A friend of mine, trained in undermining infrastructure and assassination (yes, I talk to a lot of people) due to his stint in a foreign military, has eyewitnessed numerous flaws in the Chitose security (such as being able to drive a van into Chitose with tinted windows–and not be stopped! Could have brought in all manner of subversive elements that way). And that any trained assassin is capable of coming months before the event and hiding out in the woods until needed. He doubts that we’re significantly more secure after all this expense, public inconvenience, and precedent renewed of subverting Japan’s civil society.
Forget these summits. How about a video conference for world leaders? Stop putting overreactive societies like Japan through these sorts of things.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 10 Comments »
Posted by debito on 2nd July 2008
The G8 Media Network, a Japan-based group of journalists from grassroots media outlets, said six people involved with its summit-related events have been wrongfully held and questioned by Immigration officials.
The relentless grilling of journalists and political activists entering Japan constitutes a threat to freedom of expression, the group said.
“This is suppression of freedom of thought and expression,” said Go Hirasawa, a representative of the group. “This is harassment (of journalists).”
Another journalist who was detained for 11 hours after arriving in Tokyo on Friday said she was asked to hand over a detailed itinerary and account for every hour of her stay in Japan. She told The Japan Times that she has no criminal record that would justify the detainment.
Posted in Exclusionism, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 1st July 2008
My latest JUST BE CAUSE column, on racial profiling for Summit security:
“I have suggested before (Zeit Gist Dec. 18, 2007) that Japan shouldn’t host major international events. Unfettered police power and insufficient media scrutiny create a virtual police state inconveniencing everyone.
I’ve likewise criticized the Hokkaido G8 Summit (ZG Apr. 22)–not only as a waste of resources (an estimated $700 million spent, mostly on “security”), but also because police harass foreign-looking people as potential terrorists.
Conclusion: Hang on, folks–it’s going to be a rough July. And just wait: These Summits happen here every eight years. So if Tokyo also gets the Olympics in 2016, we’ll have a double whammy. Which means, unless Japan develops more public accountability, more money for the police, and more meiwaku for those who unfortunately look foreign.”
Posted in Articles & Publications, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 12 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th June 2008
Japan Times article by Eric Johnston says what Debito.org has been saying all along–that security overkill sets dangerous precedents for everyone in Japan:
“Their region having played host to three Group of Eight ministerial conferences over the past month, many in Kansai are breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the security measures that residents, and even summit participants, found excessive are now in the past.
But human rights activists warn the heavy police presence and security checks seen in Kansai are setting a dangerous precedent for next month’s G8 summit in Hokkaido and future international events throughout Japan…
Jun Yamamoto, secretary general of Asian Wide Cooperation Kyoto, an anti-G8 NGO, said it was clear both the June 10 arrest and the refusal to allow the South Korean activist into Japan were aimed at intimidating those the government fears, and warned the heavy security seen in Kansai this past month bodes ill.
“The G8 summits have provided a dangerous pretext for the authorities to use preventing terrorism as an excuse to violate the constitutional rights of Japanese and the human rights of foreigners entering Japan. As bad as the security in Kansai was, it’s going to be worse at Hokkaido next month, ” Yamamoto said.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th June 2008
Posted in Articles & Publications, History, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th June 2008
Kimura Kayoko of Nikkan Berita reports:
Recently, as the eve of the G8 Summit approaches, we are seeing incident after incident of non-Japanese being stopped at airports.
NJ who are coming here for G8 Summit activities (including reportage and convocations), without connections to governments or major press outlets, are apparently being subjected to background searches. 24-hour detentions are not unusual.
Last night (June 27), three Hong Kong citizen journalists who have been registered with the Citizens’ Media Center (Sapporo) were detained by Immigration, and were on the verge of being deported.
This morning, Susan George (ATTAC France) was stopped and questioned at the airport. Ms George is 74 years old, and her detention demonstrates a lack of humanity on the part of authorities.
Similar measures on the part of Immigration are forecast to continue in this vein.
Posted in Exclusionism, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 11 Comments »
Posted by debito on 28th June 2008
Posted in Exclusionism, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th June 2008
Full report on how the meeting went with the Hokkaido Police (they did everything they could to evade responsibility) and the press conference (all the major print and TV media were there, went fine). Third best press conference I’ve ever done–mp3 recording of the event included without cuts. Article after article in English and Japanese appearing in the comments section.
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Speech materials, 日本語 | 48 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th June 2008
午前１１：４５ 記者会見 道庁記者クラブにて（予約済み）
冠省 私は北海道情報大学准教授の有道 出人（あるどう でびと）と申します。この度、サミット反テロ対策の改善を要請致します。
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 24th June 2008
SPEAK OUT AGAINST HOKKAIDO POLICE REGARDING RACIAL PROFILING DURING G8 SUMMIT
PRESENTING PROTEST LETTER TO HOKKAIDO POLICE HQ WEDS JUNE 25, 11AM
In the wake of being treated like a suspected terrorist by Hokkaido Police, just for exiting Chitose Airport Baggage Claim while Caucasian on June 19, I will be handing in a protest letter to Dou Keisatsu Honbu (Sapporo Kita 2 Nishi 7) tomorrow asking for the cessation of the Hokkaido Police’s clear policy of racial profiling, targeting people as potential terrorists just because they look foreign…
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 15 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th June 2008
6月25日(水) 午前10:45 道警本部で集合、有道 出人は改善要請の抗議文を提出
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, 日本語 | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 23rd June 2008
Speech July 10 in Sapporo of interest, sponsored by the Hokkaido International Business Association:
“G8 LEADERS’ SUMMIT WRAP-UP–WHAT’S NEXT?”
By ERIC JOHNSTON, Deputy Editor, The Japan Times
With the Group of Eight (G-8) Leaders’ Summit concluding on July 9th, the world is now asking what next for progress on a post Kyoto Protocol climate change treaty, aid for Africa, the price of oil, the food crisis, and other issues that G-8 leaders addressed. Did the Lake Toya Summit make any progress on these issues, or was it a waste of time and taxpayer money?
At the same time, many in Hokkaido are anxiously wondering what, exactly, the effect of hosting the summit will have the region’s economic and social development. Hopes are high, but are they too high? Meanwhile, Japan’s English language media, seeing the sharp increase in international tourists to Hokkaido these last few years, are now wondering if the summit will lead to more foreingers visiting and moving to Hokkaido.
Eric Johnston, deputy editor of The Japan Times, will address these summit-related questions in a presentation on July 10th, the day after the summit’s conclusion. A two-decade resident of the Kansai region, Eric covered the U.S. delegation at the Lake Toya summit. He has been a frequent visitor to Hokkaido since 2001, having visited the region over a dozen times. Eric is especially eager to meet HIBA members, and get their advice on how The Japan Times might better service the Hokkaido region.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government, Media, Speech materials | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 21st June 2008
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment, 日本語 | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st June 2008
When I was exiting baggage claim at Shin-Chitose Airport on June 19, 2007, plainclothes policemen pounced on me and other Caucasians for walking while White in a Japanese airport. A soundfile I made of the ID check and photos of the police hiding in plainclothes (available in this blog entry) confirm that 1) I was stopped because the policeman thought I looked like a foreigner, 2) my claims that I am a Japanese initially fell on deaf ears, 3) the police have no power to stop non-Asians when they say they are Japanese, 4) the police will continue to carry out these ID Checks until the end of the G8 Summit, and 5) they are hearing protests from people who dislike being treated like suspected terrorists.
It’s a familiar refrain. But I got lucky: my interrogator, a Mr Ohtomo (Hokkaido Police Badge #522874) was a gentle and conscientious person–not like some police I’ve encountered in situations like these in the past… For once, however, I have audible proof of what goes on in these situations, so look, listen, and learn how to stand up for yourself.
English transcript of the Japanese recording of our conversation now enclosed.
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 50 Comments »
Posted by debito on 20th June 2008
Your taxes at work: New E/J flyers handed out last Friday June 13, 2008 advising people to “cooperate with the police in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”. No matter that the G8 Summit is hundreds of kilometers away. Or that Roppongi, where the notice was distributed (and nowhere else, AFAIK), is not exactly a high-risk security zone. Nope, it’s just seen as a gaijin enclave. Which is why you’d better steel them for being treated like criminals during the Summit. It is of a genre of oversecuritization and targeting NJ for terrorism… which even snagged me for an ID check at Chitose Airport yesterday for leaving baggage claim while White (more on that tomorrow).
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime, 日本語 | 17 Comments »
Posted by debito on 17th June 2008
Saw Pakkun (American tarento) on NHK last night before bed and boy did I see red. Had him and his partner Makkun descend on the Toyako area before the Summit and bully the locals about their language ability. Telling volunteers that an English-language mistake would cause an “international incident” (not likely), uselessly teaching people ersatz German accents and telling them it’s Russian, and walking into onsen with slippers and towel on and trying to show earnest locals, who had spent years preparing for this event linguistically, that their efforts were essentially hopeless. Way to go, Pakkun. Japanese have glass jaws anyway when it comes to language ability, and your bullyragging was some of the most insensitive (and unfunny) television I’ve seen all year.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Education, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008 | 17 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th June 2008
With less than a month to go before the G8 Summit comes to Hokkaido, here’s some information on how the public is being steeled for the event. I expect things are only going to get worse (like they did for the Sapporo leg of the 2002 World Cup), when walking while White in public is going to be cause for suspicion, with street corner ID checks by overtrained paranoid cops indulging in racial profiling. It’s already happening, according to Olaf Karthaus, in Chitose Airport…
Eric Johnston and I have already talked about the oversecuritization for both the Debito.org blog and for the Japan Times.
Here’s the first evidence of that: Deputized coke machines…
Posted in Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 14 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th June 2008
Eric Johnston on the recent mess that passed for G8 Environmental Ministers Kobe Summit: “Readers of this website are no doubt familiar with Debito’s warning about Sapporo and parts of Hokkaido becoming a virtual police state during the main Leaders’ Summit, which takes place at Lake Toya in early July. Here, I owe Debito something of an apology, as I originally thought he may have been a bit hyperbolic, as I often am, for dramatic effect in order to emphasize a larger truth. Surely things weren’t that bad? Unfortunately, after my experience at the G8 Environment Ministers’ conference, I’m wondering if he might not have been prophetic… Many readers of Debito.org will be in or around not only Hokkaido during the main G8 Leaders Summit in July, but also Tokyo, Kansai, and other areas of Japan where the lesser ministerial summits are taking place. The security of the Environment Ministers conference may foreshadow the kinds of security measures that will be seen around Japan over the next month, as we approach the Toyako Summit. More ominously, these may be the kind of security measures we may yet see for more “international conferences” following the Hokkaido summit, as the government and their police and media allies bray on and on about possible “terrorist attacks.” The second reason is to illustrate, in a small way, just what your tax money is buying -a stronger police state and a bureaucracy that is balkanized and increasingly unable, in my experience at least, to get the simple things done at these huge international conferences to the extent that they once could…”
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 1st June 2008
Reporter Pio from Italian TV TG24 recently reported from the ecological G8 Pre-Summit in Kobe about subjects I couldn’t understand (it was in Italian)–but wearing a “Japanese Only” T-Shirt from Debito.org! Huzzah! Links to broadcast and to t-shirt info site here…
Posted in Articles & Publications, Good News, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Media | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd April 2008
Japan Times column on the Hokkaido G8 Summit: The point is, international events bring out bad habits in Japan. And now we have Tokyo bidding for the 2016 Olympics? Cue yet another orgiastic official fear-and-crackdown campaign foisted on the public, with the thick blue line of the nanny state the biggest profiteer. Conclusion: I don’t think Japan as a polity is mature enough yet to host these events. Japan must develop suitable administrative checks and balances, not to mention a vetting media, to stop people scaring Japanese society about the rest of the world just because it’s coming to visit. We need to rein in Japan’s mandarins and prevent them from converting Japan into a police state, cracking down on its already stunted civil society.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Media | 5 Comments »