Thursday, July 5, 2012

Anti-Nuclear Movement Radicalizing? A Man Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Stab Self in Protest in Tokyo

There were rumors of agitators at the June 29 protest at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo where a great number of people (between 17,000 and 200,000, depending on who you ask) gathered to protest the restart of Ooi Nuclear Power Plant. There were also rumors of certain people behind the protest (certain large PR agency in Japan, for example).

Recently, there have been people who strongly advocate violence as a way to attract more attention to their anti-nuclear (or anti-Noda administration) causes. There are also people on Twitter who seek to remove certain "elements" from the protest (one of their target seems to be Mr. Kouta Kinoshita and his followers, for some reason). There are rumors that some of the organizers of the Tokyo protest are in favor of accepting and burning the disaster debris that are contaminated with radioactive materials.

Now, what may be a sign of radicalization is happening. Yomiuri Shinbun reports that a man was arrested on July 1 for trying to stab himself in protest against the restart of Ooi Nuke Plant.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (7/5/2012):


Knife-wielding man during the ant-nuclear protest, to stab himself in protest


It has been revealed by talking to persons whose duties involve investigation that the Metropolitan Police arrested a man on July 1 on suspicion of violation of the Swords and Firearms Control Law (illegal possession of a knife) on the scene of the protest against the restart of KEPCO Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in front of the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. The man is exercising the right to remain silent.


According to our source, the man took out a fruit knife from the bag in front of the PM Official Residence in the evening of July 1. The riot police subdued him. The man allegedly said at that time, "I was going to stab myself in protest."

If such a thing actually happens, I think it will instantly turn off the majority of people protesting. This man could be a plant to split up the opposition to the restart of Ooi Nuke Plant, to nuclear power in general and to the Noda administration. He could well be genuinely frustrated enough to do what he said he wanted to do.

Protests being split up is not necessarily a bad thing, tweets this seasoned veteran on protests:


It is inevitable that some young people with too much energy get radicalized soon and resort to direct action. There will be cases where the senior members of TEPCO and Democratic Party of Japan are attacked. There will be people who will call these young people radicals and exclude them from the movement, which will then split into pieces. But that is OK. The movement should split up, and proceed with many, different intentions [or purposes] and in various formats.

We'll see. I am still hoping that Japan, having always been very good at adopting foreign ideas and products and improving on them, can somehow improve the way the "revolution" progresses, if it is a revolution they want.


Ampontan said...

They already were radicalized with Chukakuha in Kitakyushu. Look at their website. They, the Kakumaruha, SDPJ, and the Communist Party were all out with their banners at the recent demonstration in Tokyo.

They didn't improve on the way the "revolution" progressed in the late 60s---people get killed, as in all revolutions (but not in Fukushima) ----so we already know how this ends.

Anonymous said...

Those tired old left and communists from the 60s are not the focus of the "radicalization" that people are talking about now in Japan.

Anonymous said...

The one behind the protests in Kitakyushu was Kinoshita, who is insane. The other day he started talking about "giving his life for the cause" and suggested that at some point he may be "assassinated (暗殺)." If there is any radical in the Japanese anti-nuclear movement is him. He was actually asking people not to attend the demonstrations for some reason.

Anonymous said...

I would guess the culprit is a gangster planted there to discredit the movement.

John said...

My problem is the opposite: the protests are not radical enough. There is no point to an orderly protest. An orderly protest is like a steam valve on a pressure cooker. I worked with Gensuikyo (the Atomic Bomb Victims Association) for many, many years until I got fed up with orderly protest. Orderly protest gets no results. In history, it never has. The government knows it has a free hand if it can count on orderly protests. We need Egyptian style, 24 hour, not leaving the streets, shutting down businesses and transportation. Anything short of this, and the burning of waste will continue all over Japan. Nuclear power plants will be restarted. Products will not be tested, and ridiculous "safety" limits will be ignored. So how many years must I wait before I can say to all of you, "I told you so"? There is plenty of radicalization that can take place short of violence against people and that is violence against property. Shut down business. Of course, the government sees that as violence. But how can simply blocking commerce be considered violence philosophically? It cannot. So keep doing your protest panto. Pretend to protest. Accomplish nothing. When you're ready for a national general strike, call me. I will be the first to the picket line. And unlike all you anonymous posters, I don't hide my identity.

Anonymous said...

@John, hi there, welcome to the internet.

Anonymous said...

John, I'm affraid you are right. These protests are way 'too nice'.
You need 'blood in the street' to be taken seriously by any goverment. It's sad to come to conclusion that democracy is actually not working so well in Japan. Politicians are nothing more than mere pupputs filling their endless deep pockets with money by bribes and corruption.

The Japanese never stood up against that and now they are confrontated with the very negative results, which can not be ignored anymore, unless you do not mind to die from cancer in 5 years or so.... The big question will be, Can or will they be able to pay a very high price to make things change for the better?
To be honest, I doubt...a lot.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this reminds me how the Velvet Revolution started!

In that country, people usually put themselves on fire when the government was going to fall:

In Japan, they rather use knives than fire ... History repeats itself.

Anonymous said...

Ever seen government/people in power care about peaceful protests? I don't think I have.

They only start considering the protests when their paid security (AKA our "public protectors" AKA the police) aren't able to hold back the protesters anymore.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 6:16

"Ever seen government/people in power care about peaceful protests? I don't think I have."

Yes, Mahatma Ghandi freed an entire country from colonial rule through peaceful protest and I don't remember Martin Luther King agitating for violence either and he freed an entire race at the cost of his life. Violence is a FOOL's response that the government loves because it is so easy to discredit and quash. I didn't see any of the violence displayed at various WTO and G summit meetings accomplish anything but give the Mass Media the perfect video segment to discredit the entire movement. It only took a handful of agitators damaging property to make the majority look like hooligans. Nobody wants to hear what a bunch of troublemakers has to say especially in a country like Japan where following the rules comes first in most peoples minds. The only thing violence will achieve is an emergency order outlawing ALL public protests in the name of public safety.

The people who want more "direct action" should just start working for the nuclear industry because your ideas are VERY counter-productive to actually solving the problem or changing peoples minds.

Nancy said...

The peaceful protests have a point and a place in all of this. It took the huge numbers of last week's protest to get media attention around the world. It worked. It made Noda uncomfortable. It worked. It also has caused far more people to at least talk about the issues involved.

If people want to take it further start organizing boycotts. I know someone will jump up that boycotts don't work. They do. When they can be taken to even moderate numbers they can do a serious damage to the companies involved. The banks that are financing the nuclear power companies in Japan should be boycotted. By moving accounts or moving investments and making it known why your moving. The same goes for the nuclear power companies themselves and their subsidiaries. If people make a point to cut their consumption in protest it will make a difference if enough people do it. Finding ways to encourage, install or fund more solar panels as an act of protest. Money is all corporations understand. It did work in Wisconsin. The protest there spawned regional boycotts of various companies that funded the politicians causing the chaos. One company has since gone out of business. Others lashed out at consumers for daring to boycott their products causing even more consumer backlash. The big one was Koch industries. From WI is spread to a more national boycott of their consumer products. Koch ramped up marketing in a desperate attempt to counteract tanking sales. People were posting notes on store shelves telling people to boycott these products.

There is more people can do to act besides stand and protest without making things violent or scaring off people on the fence who may not want to get involved.

The attempts to paint the protests as possibly violent, coming from "unsavory" sources etc. have all been done already in the US to try to hurt the image of the Occupy movement among the rest of society. That is what I see out of those accusations in Japan.

Anonymous said...

What people have to do in Japan is save energy like crazy or produce it locally with wind or solar. Let's see how they justify restarting the reactors with an energy surplus.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you should be afraid of stirring up trouble, when the nuclear industry has essentially declared war on you. They treat you like stupid children. They do not care if you live or die. But you worry that if you speak up, YOU will look bad? As for the man with the knife, I would suggest that he has it pointed in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

@ john
hello, congratulations for working "openly", though I think anonymity is now very different from the old times of "dirty anonymous tricks", and has prooved to be quite efficient and clean altogether - new times, new ways, ask young people.

@ Laprimavera, don't it hurt having your tongue in your cheek so bulging ?

Anonymous said...

People who like a more violent Expression should organize their own Demonstrations and should not use the peacefull once for their Purpose!

I was so happy to see. " the Averag"e last Fridays and not the young wild ones only.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon at 9:42AM, what tongue in cheek?

Anon at 2:58AM, Kinoshita has received death threats. He is far less crazy than the politicians and experts who want to restart any nuke plant in Fukui - Ooi or Monju.

Anonymous said...

Splitting the anti-nuclear movement is bad, I think. Resorting to violence is bad as well.
70% of the Japanese understand we should not have npps; this is a huge figure and we need to get more people in the streets, without blood or damage to property please.
We could also reconsider driving to Kasumigaseki.
As to myself, I drastically cut on airconditioning this winter (used more gas); for this summer still have to turn it on once and I bought window shades (sudare) and an electric fan. I also reduced my Tepco contract to 3KW, down from six. Let's see how much I can cut the business I give to Tepco.
Is there anything going on tonight?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:22 AM

"I don't understand why you should be afraid of stirring up trouble, when the nuclear industry has essentially declared war on you."

Do you seriously believe that Dr. King's followers would have won their civil rights if they had "stirred up trouble", attacked the police or smashed the stores of the white people who encouraged the police? You won't win fighting the establishment on their ground with their tactics all you will do is legitimize further police action and more stringent laws against ALL forms of protest. I don't think the Japanese public will tolerate or support civil disobedience that crosses the line into anarchy.

The Fat Cats at the G-20 summits couldn't care less if some moron shatters a McDonald's window or burns a few police cars they don't bat an eyelash or change any of their policies. They just replay the clips of violence on their media outlets in order to discredit the protesters as a whole.

Most violent radical don't realize their tactics can turn off a large portion of the general public and public relations can make or break an issue. Speaking out is fine violently acting out isn't, the man with the knife reflected poorly regardless of which direction he pointed his knife.

Anonymous said...

"rumors of certain people behind the protest"

that is the most ridiculous thing i have heard in a long time. and if you believe there were only 17,000 people there you are either working for the police or an idiot.

ordinary people are really angry. that's who are "behind the protest."


Anonymous said...

Nobody posting here is anonymous to the police. They can easily track us down. I have no problem with blocking traffic, but calling for blood in the streets is only playing into the hands of the authorities. The moral force of people carrying their children to protests is far more powerful than elderly hippies who lost the last revolution when they capitulated to the enticements of capitalism and during their nap times dream of the next one.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Gandhi and ML King worked for many, many years for social justice - peacefully. They were both assassinated. Japan doesn't have years to spend marching & negotiating. People need to protect their families from radiation - right now, today! I do not advocate violence, but people need to push hard and relentlessly in whatever other ways they can. No time to lose.

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