2009/01/11

Final Report on the Immigration Control and the Security Measures related to the 2008 G8 Summit in Hokkaido

Final Report on the Immigration Control and the Security
Measures related to the 2008 G8 Summit in Hokkaido
(Summary)

Introduction

WATCH was set up by lawyers who were anxious that the 2008
G8 Summit in Hokkaido would lead to refusal of NGO members
from overseas at the border or to repressions against
citizens who are opposed to the summit. Three major aims
were set at the beginning: 1. to provide legal information
on the web, 2. to give information about the legal
situation in Japan especially to visitors from overseas
and 3. to criticize excessive state control of civil
activities.

1. Immigration control and security measures in the run-up
to the Summit

Already in June 2007, Uruma, then-President of the
National Police Agency, expressed his intention to pursue
a strict security policy by pointing out that "from the
experiences of the recent years, the possibility cannot be
denied that, at Toya-ko Summit, the anti-globalization
movements turn into big riots", making it neccessary to
gather and analyze terrorism-related information, to gain
information about different organizations within the
country, and to protect important facilities and public
transportation systems.
Since then, security measures were taken, such as:
- appointing retired riot policemen as advisors for
security trainings,
- taking measures against suspicious persons in
internet-cafes,
- collecting information about purchase of large amounts
of ground materials for explosives,
- strengthening the crackdown on car thefts in order to
prevent the abuse of stolen vehicles for the
transportation of weapons and personnels,
- media campaign in order to encourage citizens to
denounce suspicious persons,
- sweeping out homeless people from public places,
- urging citizens to refrain from using public places.
Also, the police listed the following groups of people to
be exemplarily "suspicious": visitors of internet-cafes,
users of car rental, mobile phone subscribers and
buyers of chemicals, pesticides and explosives. Such
excessive security precautions led to the absurd incident
that one Korean was refused to use an internet-cafe,
who had come to Japan in order to prepare the "Peace
& Green Boat", a project organized by Japanese and Korean
NGOs for a better relationship between both countries.
Regarding the immigration control, the authorities
announced that they would carry out strict landing control
by applying the so-called "Hooligan-Paragraph" which was
introduced and applied to refuse 65 people from entering
Japan in connection with the soccer World Cup in 2002.

2. Immigration Control

In connection with the G8 Summit, 53 people from different
countries, such as Korea, China (Hong Kong), USA, Italy,
Germany, England, France, Bangladesh, South Africa,
Cameroon, Kenia, Belgium were rejected or detained at the
immigration control.
It is striking that the authorities have targeted those
who were publicly known to participate at symposiums and
meetings against the G8, especially the guests of the
Counter G8 International Forum (CGIF), who were mentioned
on its homepage. Andrej Grubacic and Massimo De Angelis,
both detained at the immigration control, have been
questioned by officers who showed them the pictures of
other guests which were uploaded on the homepage of CGIF.
Meanwhile, several hundreds of visitors whose
participation at the CGIF or other meetings was not
publicly announced could enter Japan without any problems
in the majority of cases.
It is also remarkable that the immigration authorities
have targeted Korean activists. 28 out of 29 deported
persons came from Korea. Obviously, the authorities were
not only in possession of the arrest record of these
people, but they also knew whether or not they had
participated at the protests against the WTO Meeting in
December 2005 in Hong Kong.
In most of the cases, the reason for the detention or
deportation given by the authorities was the vagueness of
the purpose of the visit or of the content of the
activities in Japan.
Apparently, the authorities had no clear criteria for the
decision whether or not to detain or reject people. The
proceedings of the authorities seemed to be arbitrary.

3. Security Control

There were more than a dozen cases of arrest and detention
directly linked with the G8 Summit, but some activists of
the anti-globalization movement were arrested on other
charges before the Summit (one activist was arrested
because of unjust receipt of social aid, another activist
was arrested and indicted because of unjust receipt of
unemployment allowance).
It is Noteworthy that none of the activists from abroad
was arrested. At the demonstration in Sapporo City on July
5th ("Sapporo Peace Walk") with 5000 participants, the
police had their sights especially on the so-called "sound
demo" with around 1000 protesters including international
participation. At the beginning of the demo, the
protesters took up the whole street, but after a while,
the riot police pushed the demonstrators back to the left
lane. Basically, the police seemed to tolerate the direct
actions of the international participants and arrested
only Japanese. 2 Japanese DJs (violation of Road Traffic
Act and the Public Safety Ordinance), one photographer of
Reuters and the driver of the sound truck (both for
obstructing policemen from performing public duties) were
arrested on July 5th.
Anyhow, at any demonstration related to the G8, the police
deployed at least twice as many security personnel as
protesters and kept the protesters away from the sidewalks
and thus, from the public opinion.

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