The next G8 2008 summit will take place from the 7th to the 9th of July in Hokkaido, Japan. The heads of the world's more powerful states will gather at Toya Lake in the nothern Japanese island, to push further an agenda of world-wide neo-liberal reforms that result in spreading poverty, violence, hatred, segregation, as well as social and environmental destruction across the globe.
The Japanese based network of anti-authoritarians and anarchists No! G8 Action was formed in May 2007, right before the G8 summit 2007 in northern Germany. Japanese activists got involved in the protests with the intention to network with and learn from the experiences of the European anti-G8 movement. As a result they began to prepare their own projects "hoping to bring Japanese and East Asian impetus into the stage of the global anti-capitalist struggle."
Now, the 'No! G8 Action' network, in collaboration with the German Dissent! info group, and together with groups and activists across Europe, have organised an european wide tour that will stop in over 30 cities in 14 different countries, including the UK. From the 22nd to the 28th of February, Japanese activists will visit Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Nottingham and London [See tour dates and locations]
Related links: Call for Anti-G8 Action July 2008 | Statement of the Anti-G8 Summit Hokkaido | G8 2008: Latest Info-Tour and Planning Updates | Japanese Government to Keep 'Hooligans' Away from Summit | Anti-repression Protest at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo | A short history of the G8... | The G8: A Study in Power (or why people should protest)
No-G8 2008 Poster
About the 'No! G8 Action' Presentation:
The info-tour, which has already visited countries in the Asia-Pacific region including South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Australia, covers the political and social issues currently affecting Japan and East Asia, such as militarisation, neoliberal reforms, free trade, society of control, environment and migration, whilst, at the same time, linking to other struggles around world. It lasts for about one hour, it includes films and visual presentations, and leaves time at the end for questions and answers.
The presentation touches the following issues:
- General problems about the G8
- Japan’s relation to the G8
- Introduction to social/political issues in Japan and other Asian countries
- Introduction to activism in Japan and other Asian countries
- About the group: No! G8 Action
- About other planned events (symposia, alternative summit, concert events, etc...)
- Action Plans and tactical possibilities for July 2008
- Facilities for foreign visitors
- Japanese police behaviour and Immigration issues
- Call to action
Summary of the Anti-G8 Japan Action and Logistics for June & July 2008
- 26-27 June (Kyoto) Anti-Foreign Ministers Meetings, Rally and March
- 28-29 June (Tokyo) Anti-G8 Rally and March
- 01-04 July (Sapporo) Themed Actions (Rally and March)
- 05 July (Sapporo) International Action Day
- 07-09 July (Lake Toya) Blocking the G8
- 06-08 July (Sapporo) Alternative Summit
Facilities for Foreigners:
In Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto - Convergence Centre
In Sapporo - Convergence Centre, Camp, Independent Media Centre
Near Lake Toya - Camp, Independent Media Centre
Go Hirasawa mobilizes against the G8-summit in Japan with the group NoG8! Action.He is also lecturer of film studies at the Tokyo University and a media activist. Very recently, he has coordinated the retrospective of the Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu at the international film festival Berlinale.
Taz: Mr. Hirasawa, you were in Heiligendamm during the G8-summit last
year. How did you find the protests?
Go Hirawasa: There were ten people from Japan taking part at the
protest. Especially, the camps were a special experience for us. There
were so many people from all over the world; that was a wonderful
opportunity to exchange information and to discuss.
TAZ: Were there also things which were strange to you?
Oh yes, this never-ending search for consensus. In Germany or Europe,
every part of the strategy or the tactics of the protest is discussed
with everybody, and that takes so long. I found it very interesting, but
it did not seem very practical at all.
TAZ: How is it in Japan?
We choose respectively one or two persons for each action or protest,
who then decided on behalf of a bigger group. ?Commandant” may not be
the right expression, but these people bare responsibility. The age of
the persons in charge does not play a role; what plays a role are the
experiences and the ability to make the right decisions at the right
time. Once you get arrested in Japan, you can stay in police custody for
23 days. For that reason, it is very important to prepare well for
actions and to plan with the group. Spontaneous actions are less suitable.
TAZ: At previous summits in Europe or the US, activists have criticized
often that the police react disproportionately, and that there were
assaults. Do you expect similar situations in Japan?
We expect a very similar situation during the summit like in
Heiligendamm. Thus, the police in Japan operate differently than in
Europe; open violence is not so common, they act rather subtly, for
example, they try to intimidate political activists by visiting them at
home. On the other hand, they also try to arrest organizers of protests
in the run-up to the summit. And if there are no concrete grounds for
the search, or if they cannot clearly name any “leaders”, they just
construct something. This is a very typical procedure of the Japanese
TAZ: Are Japanese people critical towards the G-8 summit?
Most of the Japanese do not have even a slight doubt about the
legitimacy of the G8 or the capitalist economic system. I have the
impression that people in Europe are more critical about that. We hope
that we can spread such a prevailing mood also in Japan, so that people
do not just take things how they are but begin to put them into question
and challenge them.
Until now, Europe and America play a main role in criticizing
neo-liberalistic globalisation. I hope that this will change.
TAZ: Are there differences between the leftists in Japan and Germany?
Leftist groups in Germany are networked well among themselves. I was
impressed that they succeeded in building up a broad coalition against
the G8 summit. In Japan, the leftists are totally at odds with each
other. The groups fight against each other instead of fighting together
for their aims.
TAZ: Which are the main groups?
There are lots of anti-militaristic groups, and labor unions, of course.
There is also the New Left-wing, although it is no longer new, because
it was founded in the 60s, and comprises, e.g., the trotzkyists.
Besides, there are also younger movements since the 1980’s: Movements
against poverty, against homelessness or against discrimination against
people with disability, and in the meantime, the May-Day movement.
TAZ: Does the anti-globalsation movement exist in Japan?
Yes. In the meantime, it is one of the largest movements in Japan. The
?Battle of Seattle“ in the late 1990’s has marked a beginning point for
this subject in Japan. During the G8 in Genoa, there was a demonstration
to the Italian embassy, out of which an anti-globalisation group named
Anti-Capitalist Action (ACA) was founded. Another important convention
for the movement in East- and South-East-Asia was the WTO-Conference in
2005 in Hong Kong
This was a very good place to get to know each other and for exchange.
It also strengthened mutual solidarity. It’s the island position which
often isolates the movements in Asia geographically. For this reason, we
very much hope that, for the protest at Lake Toya, we will obtain large
support from the international activists in Japan, but also by global
TAZ: Where does your group ?No G8!Action“ place itself?
We define ourselves as decentralist and anti-autoritarian. No G8! Action
was founded in May 2007, in the run-up to G8 in Rostock. The fundaments
of our activities are the key points of the network Peoples Global
TAZ: The next G8-summit takes place on the island Hokkaido. What kind of
place is this?
Hokkaido is a relatively poor region and very much characterized by
agriculture. Five years ago, a city went bankrupt for the first time in
the Japanese history.
TAZ: How come?
Japan is an unbelievably centralized country. Companies, industry, the
administration, everything is concentrated in the large cities in the
center, i.e. Tokyo and Osaka. Therefore, the regions in the north and
south have little income, they live on agriculture, partly with income
from the military bases. So, the situation in Hokkaido is pretty much
the same as in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (rural region near German G8). The
people there are angry with the government, because the G8 takes place
in their region and because they have the problems with the security
precautions and the protests.
TAZ: Can you connect your actions to the existing local problems?
We try. Hokkaido is not just a region with economic problems. There are
also Ainu. Ainu are an indigenous people; they lived in Hokkaido until
Japan colonised their island. Until today, they have to fight for their
rights. The group, which prepares the protests there, has also organized
a meeting with the indigenous people and tries to network with them.
TAZ: Which other political subjects are currently discussed in Japan?
Especially the growing differences between the poor and the rich. The
neo-liberal reform by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has worsened the
difference and has led to big problems. Contrary to Germany, there are
almost no social protections in Japan. Many young people live in extreme
precarious situations, are homeless and live from part-time jobs. At
least these young precarious workers have began to organize themselves
in recent years. They play the main role in the mobilisation against the
TAZ: You have written in a paper, that the neo-liberalism in Japan goes
hand-in-hand with neo-nationalism.
Of course, neo-liberalism in Japan comprises the same elements like
elsewhere: a discourse which requires less governmental intervention but
more market, the privatisation of public tasks. But to execute such a
program, you need a stabilising factor, i.e. a comparison. In Japan,
this factor was the nationalism. The anger caused by the neo-liberal
reform shall be directed towards the outside of Japan. At the beginning,
this tactic was quite successful, but ? however - no longer.
Unfortunately, Japan with its extremely developed capitalism still leads
the way in Asia.
TAZ: The Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has pronounced that the
main subjects of the G8 will be Africa and Climate Change.
Japan very much cares about its good reputation in the international
society, and this attitude can be seen in the choice of these subjects.
However, the Japanese government has showed recently and over and over,
how little they care about actually doing something against the climate
change. The sole thing it has done is to support Japanese companies to
develop more efficient technologies. But until now, this turned out to
be less successful: the CO2-emmissions in Japan in the last years has
not decreased, but increased by 6%. At the same time, there is a certain
awareness about climate change by the people.
TAZ: Does the left-wing deal with that topic?
It barely does. In Japan, environmental protection is a subject which is
very strongly dominated by the economy, they talk about technology,
innovation and efficiency. For the left-wing, it is not really
attractive to deal with that subject. Leftist groups try to work with
another understanding of environment, which is not limited to nature and
climate. Environment can be understood in a more general sense, as the
entourage, the world where people are living.
Interview Juliane Schumacher.
(Translation done in Berlin)
Europe tour schedule:
17 Feb., 19.30, Berlin @ KATO: www.kato-x-berg.de
18 Feb., 19.00, Berlin @ Horte: http://aktionswochen.blogsport.de
22 Feb. Brighton
23 Feb. Bristol (early pm) / Cardiff (evening)
25 Feb. Edinburgh @ The Forest Cafe
26 Feb. Leeds
27 Feb. Nottingham @ Sumac Centre
28 Feb. London @ LSE (room S421, the St Clements Building)
29 Feb. Copenhagen (Denmark)
02 Mar. Rostock (Germany)
03 Mar. Hamburg (Germany)
04 Mar. Kiel @ hansa48 (Germany)
05 Mar. Berlin (Germany)
06 Mar. Poznan @ Rozbrat (Poland)
07 Mar. Berlin (Germany)
09 Mar. Hannover (Germany) / Dresden (Germany)
10 Mar. Bremen (Germany) / Brno (Czech)
11 Mar. Bochum (Germany) / Vienna @ EKH (Austria)
13 Mar. Nijmegen (Netherlands) / (Greece)
14 Mar. Amsterdam (Netherlands) / (Greece)
15 Mar. Antwerp (Belgium) / (Greece)
16 Mar. Liege (Belgium) / (Greece)
18 Mar. Koln (Germany) / Ljubljana (Slovenia)
19 Mar. Freiburg (Germany) / Vicenza (Italy)
20 Mar. Lausanne (Switzerland)
21 Mar. (Switzerland) / Bologna (Italy)
22 Mar. Dijon (France) / Genoa @ Buridda (Italy)
23 Mar. Lyon (France) / Milano @ Centro Occupato Autogestito T28 (Italy)
24 Mar. Barcelona (Spain)
25 Mar. Barcelona (Spain)
26 Mar. Madrid (Spain)
28 Mar. Malmo (Sweden)
29 Mar. Gothenburg (Sweden)
31 Mar. Stockholm (Sweden)
01 Apr. Oslo @ Humla, Hausmania (Norway)
US tour schedule:
06~10 Mar. Washington DC (National Conference of Organized Resistance)
11~13 Mar. Philadelphia + Baltimore?
14~16 Mar. New York (Left Forum)
17~19 Mar. Portland
20~24 Mar. San Francisco (including Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair)