More repression in Osaka

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sphinx
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Joined: 25-12-05
Aug 25 2007 09:29
More repression in Osaka

Unfortunately, the attacks on the occupation movement in Osaka continue.

The following is an English translation of a letter of protest that made the rounds today in Osaka after it became clear that our comrade N had been arrested yesterday. N has been directly involved in the occupation movement in Japan for years, and was arrested directly before a large protest against the World Championship in Athletics which was the ostensible reason for evicting the Nagai tent village this February and is also playing venue for the Japanese Emperor who headed the opening ceremony today, further cementing his image domestically and abroad as a 'gentle royal'. This arrest clearly proves that the Japanese state is not only bent on destroying the movement of day laborers here but also that criticizing the emperor is grounds for arrest. N's arrest follows the arrest of 5 people involved in the occupation movement last October who were all released after 8 months in jail two weeks ago, with the state unable to even fabricate evidence against them. Arbitrary imprisonment is a weapon of the state used to silence or abduct people unsatisfied with the state of affairs, and it is resorted to increasingly frequently nowadays. The Osaka police came up with a real creative reason for arrest this time: apparently N's truck was a diesel, a fuel type not permitted for its weight...N's arrest for this 'offense' is apparently the first ever in Japan. In other words, the state is showing its power by making a joke out of this.

*Although N is a well-known activist in Japan, all the news and protest documents so far are not revealing his name for 'legal reasons' so I'm going to leave his name as 'N' for the moment. The following was written by one of the support organizations here, there's also a better declaration that came out this morning that I'll translate later.

Protest the arrest of N by the Osaka police!!

Osaka police!! Arrest notorious tax money and address registration thief Mayor Seki instead!!

Yesterday, the Osaka police department forcibly arrested our friend, member of the Kamagasaki Patrol and comrade of Nagai park, N, at his workplace. One hour before his arrest, the police announced their intent to search N's workplace in an arrogant show of force. The reason for arrest? That N had been driving in a diesel truck, which, even if true, hardly constitutes any basis for arresting him. Clearly this is a trumped up arrest in order to remove NK from the protest against the 2007 World Championship of Athletics in Osaka and suppress these opposing voices.

At this year's World Championship of Athletics (WCA), the Seki administration, which continues to ignore the voice of Osaka residents, has held events and decorated the city, creating work for the construction industry, building banks etc. all while running the city budget into the red, losses which Osaka city hopes to pass on to its residents, with its traditional corrupt methods. According to statistics, the WCA has already lost 7 million dollars for the city. In other words, 7 million dollars of heavy taxes will be squeezed out of city residents. Despite this, famous athletes were unable to attend, tickets are not selling and although the city has made a substantial mobilization to sell tickets, it has been forced to hand out tickets at local schools in order to fill the stadium.

This is the same Osaka city which spent over two million dollars of taxes to evict squatters occupying Nagai Park this February 5th in order to open the WCA, leaving these squatters on the cold city streets. In the same way, tent evictions are being carried out around Nagai park under a campaign of harassment.

The residents of Osaka city must oppose the city and the Seki Junichi administration. If these scandals pass without any questions asked, then Japan is already a police state. Osaka is a fascist city. Those who don't think so should know that the conviction rate of defendants in court cases is 99.9% here. They should know that there is no room to fight arrests within the court system. This is already far beyond the limits of the constitution.

NK has not only opposed the eviction of squatters but also fought the removal of address registration for homeless people and squatters in Osaka city. He has stood on the side of and fought for the interests of the oppressed and those who live at society's lowest layer. Why is such an admirable young person a target for arrest?!!

The Osaka police should instead immediately arrest Mayor Seki who has continued to rob Osaka residents by heavy taxation, unconstitutionally stole the address/work/welfare and voting registration rights of Kamagasaki residents, leaving them with no rights whatsoever!!

Denounce this scandalous arrest!! Osaka police, release NK immediately!!

August 25th, 2007

Signed,

comrades of the Japanese People's Committee Direct Action group

Send protests to:

Osaka Police Department
Osaka Chuo-ku Outemae 3-1-11
540-8540
Japan
TEL (+81)06-6943-1234
FAX (+81)06-6941-1022

sphinx
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Joined: 25-12-05
Aug 26 2007 03:40

No tolerance for repression by the Osaka police!
Release NK!

Once again the Osaka police department is engaged in repression.

At 1 o'clock on August 24th, the workplace and house of NK, a member of the Kamgasaki patrol was searched, and NK was arrested. The reason for arrest given is the particularly obscure 'violation of road freight and vehicle law' which basically asserts that NK drove a diesel car that can't be driven in Osaka city within the past year. However NK has not driven this car in over half a year.
Surprisingly, this arrest is the first case of its kind in Japanese history. Why did Osaka city have to go this far to arrest NK?

The reason is that NK had fought at the forefront of resistance to attacks on day laborers/squatting workers, such as the eviction of Nagai park and the erasure of address registrations for squatters in Kamagasaki this year and thus Osaka city arrested NK on this kind of 'minor offense' the day before the openning of the World Championship in Athletics (WCA).

This is nothing other than a concerted effort to quash voices of protest against teh WCA opening ceremony. We cannot allow Osaka city to engage in this kind of police repression.

As you may know, this February 5th, Osaka city evicted tents and other structures at Nagai park, where NK had been living with other squatters. This action was unilaterally carried out by Osaka city after ignoring a petition of over 5000 people opposed to the evicted, cooking up 'local voices for eviction' to speak against the tent village, spending a huge amount of tax money and not replying to a single request or inquiry written by the squatters themselves. The reason this kind of violence has been used is clear: to protect the attendance of the emperor at the WCA.

The eviction of squatters, the emperor system and international sporting events are not unconnected.

Every time an international event has been held such as the Olympics is approaching, in which the national prestige is in question, squatters and homeless people have been treated as eyesores and evicted like "trash" in order to secure the attendance by the emperor and his family at the ceremony. A storm of eviction has blown through the eviction at Utsubo park last year (for the World Rose Convention), the 2005 eviction of Nagoya's Shirokawa park (for the Aichi World Expo), the National Games in Nagai Park in 1997 and the 2002 Soccer World Cup.

Osaka city has also erased the address registrations of 2088 day laborers, squatters and homeless workers which were safely registered in Kamagasaki, and the city is also attempting to shut down work options for elderly unemployed workers who often are day laborers or squatters. On the other hand, the city has invested 40 billion yen (4 million dollars) in the WCA!

Osaka city uses the attendance of the emperor at the WCA to evict squatters and homeless people in the name of "beautifying" and "redesigning" the parks, attacking the conditions of life for these comrades. Then, those who call ou these moves are subject to arrest for 'minor offenses' and voices of protest against the opening ceremonies are attacked. What extraordinary means to use in the interests of repression!

The evictions of two parks this year, the arrest of five comrades in the occupation movement (arrested for fighting evictions, released on probation this August 9th after 8 months in prison) last September 27th, the erasure of address registrations, the attack on elderly work programs shows that the city tries to attack the living conditions of the poor together with the justice system and the administration. We cannot permit this war on the poor, the WCA being opened under such anti-free speech policies and we cannot allow this repression against our comrade NK to pass. Please raise your voices along with ours in order to put a stop to this.

We denounce this World Championship of Athletics that evicts squatters!
Osaka police, release NK immediately!
No more repression! Victory to the struggle!

Kamagasaki Patrol
kamapat@infoseek.jp 090-8380-0269

Send protests to:

Osaka Police Department
Osaka Chuo-ku Outemae 3-1-11
540-8540
Japan
TEL (+81)06-6943-1234
FAX (+81)06-6941-1022