Registered overseas journalists being detained, refused entry into Japan due to Summit


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Hi Blog. Forwarding from Ms Kimura Kayoko, freelance writer for online independent internet newspaper Nikkan Berita ( Original Japanese in previous blog entry. Translation mine. Arudou Debito



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.

Japan, as host to this Summit, is a developed country with a democracy.  It is shameful for a member of the international community to treat visitors from other countries in this fashion.

And detaining, even refusing entry to, international journalists and media coming in for the Summit is a suppression of freedom of expression.

This is developing into a large international issue, with constraints being placed upon the length of stay for journalists belonging to international journalistic associations.

Journalists and international media people often have to cover unforeseen events, and cannot always tell Immigration in advance their exact itinerary or schedule.  This is normal.  However, people having schedules with free days are apparently being turned away at the border.  

Journalists who are not members of the major media are also coming to Japan, covering the Summit from the point of view of the general public.  Suppressing those people’s activities is depriving the public of a chance to have their voices heard, and only promotes overemphasis on the reports from the powers that be.

We wish to draw more attention to this problem so that more visitors can come overseas and enter Japan more smoothly.  We would like your help.  Anything you can do would be welcome.

Further, here is the phone number for Narita Immigration:


Also, the G8 Media Network will be having a press conference on Monday, June 30, with the detained media figures and Dietmembers in attendance.  More details here as they become available.

Kimura Kayoko

info AT berita DOT jp


11 comments on “Registered overseas journalists being detained, refused entry into Japan due to Summit

  • Good grief! What the hell is going on?? Japan is demonstrating that it’s just not mature enough to hold a grown-up G8 meeting.

    I’m sick and tired of everything to do with this summit. It’s a hugely expensive 3 day “party” for our so-called world leaders who eat and drink in style but will they come to any useful conclusions and decisions? I think not. They can’t/won’t solve the oil and food crisis.

  • Debito, in light of your top posting today about journalists being detained, I find the news on the Mainichi’s page today to defy comprehension.
    Is it just me? Or has the world just been turned upside down? I feel as if I’m in some drug induced parallel topsy-turvy universe!
    Prosecutors let gangster, associates walk after arrest for assaulting police

    FUKUOKA — Prosecutors have released a senior gang member and three other suspects accused of assaulting two police officers and robbing one of them, citing lack of evidence.

    The Fukuoka District Public Prosecutors Office has freed a 25-year-old high-ranking member of the Dojin-kai crime syndicate and three other suspects who had been arrested for robbery and inflicting bodily injury.

    “At the present stage, we haven’t got to the bottom of the incident and there isn’t enough evidence for us to indict them,” said a prosecutor.

    The four were arrested on suspicion of threatening a 47-year-old assistant inspector and a 32-year-old sergeant from the Fukuoka Prefectural Police at gunpoint in a parking lot in Chikushino, Fukuoka Prefecture, in the predawn hours of June 5.

    The suspects then allegedly beat the police officers with a steel pipe, inflicting injuries that took a week to heal, and stole a police handbook from the assistant inspector, police said.

    The suspects told police that they burned the handbook.

    Officers have confiscated a steel pipe and a replica gun believed to have been used in the incident. There are also ambiguities in the suspects’ confessions, and police are continuing to investigate.

    Fukuoka police have come under fire for their delay in deploying officers to search for the suspects. The force only sent out investigators about 90 minutes after the incident occurred, as it took time for the officers to report in.

    “We prioritized the search for the police handbook. We should have worked systematically in order to arrest the suspects at an early stage, but we missed the opportunity,” said Toshihisa Ono, head of the community safety department of the prefectural police. “We will seriously reflect on what we’ve done.”


    警察手帳強奪:組幹部ら4人を処分保留で釈放 福岡地検
    毎日新聞 2008年6月27日 23時45分(最終更新 6月28日 0時15分)





  • “We will seriously reflect on what we’ve done.”

    That’s lucky because it doesn’t take any time at all to reflect on ‘nothing’.

  • The police is on full alert…
    Shinjuku is full of posters about the terrorism prevention and tonight
    there were policemen on PATROL, alert as I’ve never seen them before.
    2 of them were standing at the crossroad of Mitsubishi Ginko (corner in front of Isetan)
    and other 2 were patrolling around (they took a quick look at an abandoned
    paper bag). They didn’t stop me….
    I’ve seen policemen many times going around Shinjuku but this time it was
    quite different. They seem to have habanero in their pants……

  • Back in february I saw warning signs in trains all over Tokyo that the police was currently on “high alert”

    Was that related somehow to the summit, even that early?

  • Police started to put up small pedestrals (about 50 cm high) in train stations and other places in Tokyo. Policemen are standing on it and overlooking the crowds.

    Also trash bins have been temporarily removed from (some?) stations.

  • Ikebukuro was absolutely crawling with cops last night, in and around the station. Couldn’t walk 50 meters without seeing another one. Didn’t get stopped, even when me and my buddy were walking back to the station after obviously having been drinking.

    The police have also made an addition to their uniform: an armband that says the word POLICE in English; I guess their uniforms had no English on them before. If I was a cynic, I’d say that they were making good and sure that the tourists know who they are and why they are exercising too much control.

  • Jib Halyard says:

    Am seeing tons of extra cops around central tokyo.
    very disconcerting.
    have had not any run-ins personally, but the sight of a Japanese policeman, under any circumstance, makes me feel LESS safe.

  • I had a one-day trip to Kyoto today on business. I will note a couple things:

    1) Apparently Terrorism is only a threat during normal hours. At 6:45am when every sensible person was still at home, Tokyo Station (at least the stretch of it from the Marunouchi line all the way to the Tokaido Shinkansen) had not a single policeman. It’s almost as if they are only “beefing up security” when it is going to be seen by more people. Naaah, only a very cynical man would think that.

    2) Kyoto is apparently far enough outside the “radius of danger” that residents of that city are not subjected to the oppressive presence of police holding weapons every 50-100 meters.

    3) Returning to Tokyo from Kyoto, the “radius of danger” apparently begins at Shin-Yokohama Station, where 2 policemen get onto *each car on the train* and stand in each end of each car holding their nightsticks menacingly.

    4) In Tokyo, the police presence is oppressive (and makes me nervous — it’s almost as if these guys are hoping for a chance to catch a real live terrorist), but at least they aren’t stopping every foreigner. I guess there are enough foreigners in Tokyo that the coppers would have their hands full if they tried to stop us all.

    Really not looking to flying on Thursday. All this crap is making me want to just not bother flying back the following Tuesday.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Cycling back from Hosei University in Chiyoda-ku on the weekend was scary — there were policemen on every block, and then a dozen of them on the bridge connecting Chiyoda with Ichigaya in Shinjuku-ku.

    Fortunately they seemed more concerned with people getting into Chiyoda, and they were all lined up facing in the other direction, so I was able to cycle past them. I then took a very long route through Kagurazaka to the only undefended bridge separating Shinjuku and Bunkyo, and finally got home without being hassled.

    I made sure to stay close to elderly Japanese people cycling ahead of me, which caused cops to look at me but not stop me for fear of upsetting the Japanese person with whom I might have bee riding together. Had I been clearly alone, I probably would have been stopped.

    I had never thought about it this way until now, but koban can be very effective at restricting people’s movements if they set out to be. These police boxes are well known for being located in population centers where accidents might occur, and being spaced out so as to cover large areas effectively, but they’re also placed very strategically as Checkpoint Charlie-like roadblocks. Simply stationing several cops in front of each koban will effectively block almost all the ways into or out of Chiyoda-ku. Unless you plan your route in advance and are willing to take all kinds of detours, you’ll have a hard time not passing any koban when getting from one place to another in central Tokyo.

    And Drew, I have one quibble with your:

    “The police have also made an addition to their uniform: an armband that says the word POLICE in English; I guess their uniforms had no English on them before. If I was a cynic, I’d say that they were making good and sure that the tourists know who they are and why they are exercising too much control.”

    I am a cynic and I think that English armband is to that they make good and sure that the citizens know that the police are taking control of those troublesome foreigners!


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