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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 13, 2008: SPECIAL ON SUMMIT AND POST-SUMMIT HOKKAIDO

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 13th, 2008

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 13, 2008
    SPECIAL ON SUMMIT AND POST-SUMMIT HOKKAIDO

    The themes as far as I can see of the G8 Summit in Toyako, Hokkaido was largesse (gourmet meals while discussing a food crisis), waste (a ton of lamb left uneaten, and idling hundreds of police cars creating a huge carbon footprint at an “Eco Summit”), sequestering (both activists and the media), and ineffectuality (what was accomplished that could not have been done by video conferencing, without all this expense and public inconvenience?).

    A particular highlight is an eyewitness account by Eric Johnston, Japan Times reporter on the scene, who gave a stunning speech July 10 in Sapporo, which you can download and hear/read in full below. By all account (including the very fact that the Summit Site is generally rendered in overseas media as “Toyako”, not “Hokkaido”, in contrast to the “Okinawa Summit” eight years ago), an event which gave back little to nothing to us locals. Writing this Newsletter as one:

    Table of Contents:
    ================================
    DURING THE SUMMIT:
    On-Site Briefing: Summit seeps into Sapporo on little cat feet…
    Hokkaido Shinbun: Hokkaido Police report 15 requests for demos, grant permission for one
    Hokkaido Shinbun: Summit Activists get sequestered to faraway campsites
    Kyodo: J Man arrested for making bomb threat at Sapporo Chitose airport
    Good news from Summit Sapporo July 8: security cops are mellow (photo record)

    SUMMIT AFTERMATH AND WOOLGATHERING:
    Japan Times Eric Johnston’s July 10 Sapporo speech on G8 Summit
    with audio recording, powerpoint, photos
    Japan Times: JPY 60 billion G8 Summit budget draws flak, amid social shortfalls
    World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s), including FT’s Clive Crook

    ================================

    By Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org http://www.debito.org
    Freely Forwardable

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    DURING THE SUMMIT:
    (for a report on what happened pre-Summit, see last Debito.org Newsletter at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1776 )

    On-Site Briefing: Summit seeps into Sapporo on little cat feet…

    ================================
    (excerpt) 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.
    ================================
    Full commentary at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1777

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Hokkaido Shinbun: Hokkaido Police report 15 requests for demos, grant permission for one
    July 2, 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.”
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1778

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Hokkaido Shinbun: Summit Activists get sequestered to faraway campsites
    July 3, 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.”
    More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1779

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Kyodo: J Man arrested for making bomb threat at Sapporo Chitose airport

    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.

    ================================
    Man arrested for making bomb threat at Chitose airport
    Kyodo/Japan Today Wednesday 9th July 2008

    A bomb threat by a male passenger on Tuesday grounded a commercial flight bound for Tokyo from New Chitose Airport, the closest major airport to the site of the ongoing Group of Eight nations’ summit, airport and police officials said. Takanari Deto, a 69-year-old realtor living in Sapporo city, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing business by force. He had said his luggage contained a bomb and started making a scene after boarding Air Do Flight 20, which was scheduled for departure at 2 p.m., the officials said.
    ================================

    And imagine the hay the police would have made 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.

    Full article and comments at:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1800

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Good news from Summit Sapporo July 8: security cops are mellow (photo essay)

    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.
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1784

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    SUMMIT AFTERMATH AND WOOLGATHERING:

    Japan Times Eric Johnston’s July 10 Sapporo speech on G8 Summit
    –with audio recording, powerpoint, photos

    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.

    Listen to Eric and read his powerpoint presentation at http://www.debito.org/?p=1804

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Japan Times: JPY 60 billion G8 Summit budget draws flak, amid social shortfalls

    ================================
    G8 COUNTDOWN
    JPY60 billion G8 budget draws flak
    Although less than 2000 outlay, critics see amount as excessive amid social shortfalls
    Japan Times July 1, 2008

    Japan plans to spend more than JPY60 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 JPY12.1 million, or around JPY2.6 billion in present value, for the 2005 summit it hosted in Gleneagles, Scotland.
    ================================
    More at http://www.debito.org/?p=1780

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s), including FT’s Clive Crook

    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.

    Kicking off with the Financial Times, London:
    ================================
    Pipe dreams and cigar smoke
    Published: Financial Times July 10 2008

    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…
    ================================

    Also Clive Crook:
    ================================
    Summit nadir
    Published: Financial Times July 11 2008

    Clive Crook’s blog: Even by the dismal standards of these events, this year’s G8 summit in Japan was a wearisome spectacle. I cannot think that what was achieved – nothing – justified the meeting’s impressive carbon footprint. I will remember it mainly for the quote from IPCC’s head, R.K. Pachauri, who said the developed countries “should get off the backs of China and India” (and Pachauri wasn’t even at the summit; he was speaking in Delhi). Yes, I understand that he wants the rich countries to move first – but is it wrong to expect anything of the countries that before long will be the world’s biggest GHG emitters? I mean, isn’t the planet in peril, or something?
    More at http://www.ft.com/crookblog
    ================================

    See these articles and more at
    http://www.debito.org/?p=1808
    and please feel free to add your own favorite article there as well!

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    All for today. We’ll get back to our regular themes next Newsletter. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org

    http://www.debito.org

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 13, 2008 ENDS

    One Response to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 13, 2008: SPECIAL ON SUMMIT AND POST-SUMMIT HOKKAIDO”

    1. Justin Says:

      Debito, you would have us believe that there is no real terrorist threat in Japan! Well, it just so happens that Japanese officials have received multiple bomb threats just last week! See here:

      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080712p2a00m0na008000c.html

      Oh, wait, those threats were made by JAPANESE people upset about the screening of the Yasukuni documentary. Move along, nothing to see here…

      Bomb threats made ahead of screening of controversial film ‘Yasukuni’ in Kochi

      KOCHI — Telephone calls threatening to blow up a Kochi prefectural hall that is due to screen the controversial documentary “Yasukuni” on July 21 were made to the hall and the prefectural government headquarters, it has been learned.

      Prefectural police are investigating the calls on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business.

      Officials at the Kochi prefectural residents’ cultural hall, where the film will be screened, said a man phoned the hall’s office at about 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday and said “If you screen ‘Yasukuni’ there’ll definitely be divine retribution. I will blow up the hall.”

      Shortly before 10 a.m., a man phoned the prefectural government headquarters and said, “I want you to connect me to the governor. The man told a secretarial worker who took the call, “If you screen ‘Yasukuni,’ I’ll blow up the hall. Tell the governor that.” It remained unclear if the two calls were made by the same person.

      Prefectural police and the prefectural cultural foundation in charge of the hall are considering safety measures.

      The representative of the “association to watch the film ‘Yasukuni’ in Kochi,” which is sponsoring the screening, said there were no plans to halt the film directed by Ying Li.

      “We have no intention of stopping the screening. We want to provide tight security on the day,” the representative said.

      (Mainichi Japan) July 12, 2008

      映画「靖国」:上映会場などに脅迫電話 高知
      毎日新聞 2008年7月12日 11時18分
      http://mainichi.jp/enta/cinema/news/20080712k0000e040038000c.html
       高知市で21日に上映予定のドキュメンタリー映画「靖国 YASUKUNI」(李纓監督)を巡り、会場の高知県立県民文化ホールと県庁に「会場を爆破する」と脅迫電話があったことが分かった。県警が威力業務妨害容疑で捜査している。

       同ホールなどによると、9日午前9時50分ごろ男の声で事務所に「『靖国』を上映したら必ず天誅(てんちゅう)が下ります。会場を爆破します」と電話があった。同10時前には県庁に男の声で「知事につないでほしい」と電話があり、応対した秘書課員に「靖国を上映したら爆破する。知事に言っておけ」と告げて切れたという。2本の電話が同一人物からかは不明。

       県警やホールを管理する県文化財団などで安全対策を検討。上映を主催する「映画『靖国』を高知で見る会」代表の山崎秀一・県平和運動センター議長は「上映をやめる気はない。当日は会場警備を万全にしたい」と話している。【近藤諭】

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