Friday, July 13, 2012

Police "Divide and Conquer" on Friday July 13th Protest in Tokyo against Ooi Restart

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police put up metal fences along the sidewalks, roadblocks, and restricted access to areas in the "protest zone" that they had set up, and effectively divided the protest into small pieces. No one seems to know how many people showed up.

The supposed "police" number quoted by the press is 10,000 people, though the PR department of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police has said they don't announce the numbers. What "police" the mainstream media outlets have been quoting, no one knows; supposedly some anonymous inside source that the press club reporters have access to all the time.

So, it was a success for the Noda administration and the pro-administration media, who didn't need to quote the number from the organizers this time.

This photo from the article by independent journalist Ryusaku Tanaka (7/13/2012) shows the police on one side of the metal fence and protesters on the other side. An older man on the left, looking at the camera looks puzzled and annoyed. (Click to enlarge.)

Tanaka calls it "Intifada". In Japan, it usually means the Palestinian ones. That's how he describes the protest that is herded in by the metal fences and the law enforcement.

In his article, Tanaka quotes two protest participants, both women in their 50s. The first one speaks like a man:


"Stop bullshitting me. Citizens gather here to express their wills, and what's the point of this metal fence? With this many people coming, they should just open the road." (a woman in her 50s from Nakano-ku, Tokyo)


"I'm here for the first time, and there are these metal fences. I'm surprised at this elaborate security. I want to raise children who can say "No". Before I came here today, I explained to my students why I was not giving lessons today." (a woman in her 50s from Nagoya, who runs a private music school)

There are tweets from younger people saying they didn't like the "obnoxious and impolite" baby-boomer generation at the protest, who apparently complained loudly to the police and to the pushy cameramen from the media, as they should. Well, young people, tough.


Scott said...

Wow the younger generation is more pacifist than the older. That's unexpected. I'd think with youth, there would be more fire in their hearts to rally a loud and lively protest.

Now that we know the police/government tactics for marginalizing the appearance of the protests; I hope the organizers find new and more creative ways to make their weekly protests known. Don't let this fencing in and station closing BS get you guys down. Keep pushing!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the younger generation is more pacifist. Although young participants are anti-nuclear, many may not truly realize the gravity of the situation. Nothing short of actual graphic reports of malformed and sick children will be greatly effective. The worry for me is that this will be a fad for some youth, who next year will move on to something else. Noda is definitely not going to back down from his dictatorial stance. One good thing is that the party he leads is deteriorating, so if Hatoyama and friends defect, the DPJ will become just another one of many parties, and Noda's punishing politicians who refuse to support him will become the bullet from his gun in his own foot.

Anonymous said...

It's the middle-aged people and older who seem to have the vigor. I don't think the organizers are very creative. They are happily collaborating with the police.

Anonymous said...

The younger ones still "dont get it"--and expect the government has everything under control. Just wait, THOSE younger ones..first will have to cover the costs of the health decline of those in the older generation..AND then..the cost of the cleanup/nuke mess deconmamintation..AND THEN..their own health crisis. Its the "younger one" who will carry the damaged DNA into the future.Wait until they understand THAT!

Hikarius said...

@Anon 7:56 PM
That's true. It reminds me of the July-1 protest in Hong Kong (against communist authoritarian rule) every year. It seems to me that the organizers of both protests (in Hong Kong and Japan) managed to bring hundreds of thousands people on the street, yet don't have any strategy to achieve their goals. As a results, those protests become just another vent of peoples' discontentment.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I have a mixed feeling about this demo, particularly when I see people trying to pick some cute symbol and naming for their "movement" even though they haven't achieved anything of consequence yet.

I dislike the "hydrangea revolution" moniker, I don't like the white balloons. It is distributed by one of the opposition politicians (whom I much admire), he likes to have the white balloon as the symbol. Why? For no other reason than it was used in a peaceful demonstration in Belgium in the 1990s against a sex offender.

Why is that balloon any relevant here? I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Helen Caldicott interviewed Taro Kono (LDP) recently, and he emphasized that what people need to do is work through the system, regardless of how difficult that may be, or how corrupt it may be. Demonstrations, he believes, really won't achieve much. Is this, perhaps, what is happening in Hong Kong as well? Demonstrations are tolerated by the government because it knows, in the end, that nothing concrete will be achieved anyway.

Anonymous said...

That's totally, completely expected from the likes of Kono.

kintaman said...

While these protests/demos are a step in the right direction Japan needs to step it up several notches to have any effect.

Instead of demos there should be general strikes with mass amounts of people not going to work. It will only be successful if huge amounts of people leave work. I doubt this could ever happen but if it did it would cause change to happen. Then the people could remove those criminals from power and arrest them as a next step.

Anonymous said...

When the young people, the older people AND the police realize that they are not going to get a pension and their savings have been evaporated and their healthcare system is stark bollox naked and their bond market is imploding and their yen is worth sweet FA, then you will have moderate success with the demos. Till then though most of the population are happy to watch the olympics and play with their smart phones thinking of all the 'other' troublespots like Greece and Spain and Syria and and...They are oblivious to the dire position of their own country. Give them a hyperinflation and things will change.

Anonymous said...

My impression is that these demonstrations occour because of the utter nonsense of restarting npps. At the moment I do not see much else, which would not be a problem if there were some degree of progress towards stopping the restarts.
I agree the organizers need come up with some creative idea to get more media attention and inflict some level of pain to the counterparty beyond simple "noise", as Noda described the "saikado hantai" chants resounding in the Kantei hall.

Little Canary said...

As kintaman said, the only solution is oraganized civil disobedience, not going to work is just a little example of what the 99% could achieve.

In Spain yesterday at Madrid 6 people, according to the police, were arrested. Well many opted to fight, getting involved in the divide and conquer scam.

I personally think that demos and protest, as any wing of any political party, do not bring any change to society unless people stop been isolated by the new technologies=facebook, jobs, races etc.

Janick in Tokyo said...

I understand the arguments developed by other readers, and not everything pleases me either (there is no way I am going to take a white balloon if I am offered one ! it's ridiculous ! and the protesters are not there to support that politician anyway, so it's also a kind of abuse). That said, don't forget that there were parallel demonstrations in at least 14 towns throughout Japan yesterday, including some places very, very far away from Tokyo, where people do not really rely on new technologies like Facebook, and certainly not to the point of being isolated (by the way, Facebook is an excellent way to get together, I don't quite see your point, Little Canary !). Forget about races, it's not the problem in Japan, and I don't have the feeling that jobs make people isolated, on the contrary. My point here (and I may be proven wrong of course) is that people now DO get together like never before against the idea of pursuing nuclear energy. Yesterday's demonstration, however, was a bit sad compared to last week's because the police separated people in small groups and most people could not move forward (nor could they get close to Noda's official residence). How people and the organizers will react to that new problem next time, I don't know really. We'll see next Friday...
By the way, the next big demonstration is due on Monday afternoon. I guess it will be a strong one. The organizers are different people but the protesters will certainly be the same... and some more.

Anonymous said...

The only way to respond to this new tactic is not to announce every event weeks in advance they need to spontaneously flashmob locations on various times and days. They won't attract as many people but it will keep the cops guessing where the next mob will pop up. The short nature of the demos lend themselves to the Flashmob. These flash mobs could network at the weekly planned events in order to increase their impact.

Anonymous said...

Violence is needed otherwise this movement is a joke, the powers that be are shitheads and sociopaths so they need to be hit fucking hard by the force of peoples fists in their faces..

kintaman said...

@Anonymous 9:37am

I disagree. Violence will only give the government the excuse to enact martial law. It will also scare supporters away as they are against violence.

I will reiterate that the ONLY way to achieve success is by starting with a MASS STRIKE. If 75%+ of the people go on strike the economy will grind to a HALT. The next move is to remove those in power, ALL OF THEM. Then start fresh, a peaceful revolution for a clean slate. Keep America and Israel out of everything.

Anonymous said...

Violence is exactely the OPPOSITE of what the anti-nuclear movement needs. The shitheads and sociopaths in charge THRIVE on violence you would only make them victims in the MSM and give them a real justification for clamping down. The Japanese are famous for the old proverb "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down" for a reason. There is a good portion of the Japanese people who would respond very negatively to a violent movement even if they were against NPP's.

Aum Shinrikyo, currently known as Aleph used violence and all it got them was branded as a terrorist organization with a jailed leader. In most countries nuclear power is considered a national security asset any violent action against these facilities or their operators is considered a serious crime.

Anonymous said...

Violence is not necessary, but perhaps doing something outside of the rules is...such as going outside the police barriers and laying down in the road, showing up at 5 instead of 6, staying until 10 instead of going home promptly at 8. If you had a front line of people distracting the police, it (hopefully) wouldn't be that hard for the people to step outside the boundaries. I wholeheartedly agree that nothing will change as long as the protests remain within the "permitted" boundaries set up by the police. There is nothing to fear from well-behaved citizenry. There is fear, however, in unpredictable behavior, which does not have to be violent.

Anonymous said...

Having worked beside the Japanese for many years, I think it would be culturally very difficult for any of these anti-nuke demonstrators to quit being anti-nuke once they have gone so far as to have participated in a demonstration. A more committed (some might say head-strong) people I have never met. The demonstrators will not give up until nuclear power is renounced. Dividing the protests at the PM's residence is a mere speed bump to this movement.

Further, there is nothing to prevent the demonstrators from setting up their own Friday evening demonstration pods in places the police haven't thought about. For example, down the hill on the other side of the PM's residence may be better than the back of the sidewalk toward the diet building. Next Friday, perhaps the demonstrators can ask some of the people in the sadder areas of the demonstration to voluntarily move en masse to another location around the PM's residence. The police would have no right to detain them if they want to leave the police-designated demonstration area. If they reassemble somewhere else, is there a law to prevent them from doing so? Point is, if the demonstration needs to be broken up, it should be the demonstrators who decide where the pods will go; and this decision should be made completely independent of the police.

It's interesting to consider also, from the perspective of the anti-nuke Japanese, what the government has done to them so far. The government has refused to listen when we tried to tell them that nuclear energy has no place in Japan's future - polls clearly show that the public does quite rightly sees the potential catastrophe as being far worse than the true economic impact of shutting the nuke plants. The public has spoken, and the government does what the nuclear mura is paying them to do anyway. The people have lost their representation.

So the public is taking to the streets in protest - trying to get their government to listen. Now the government is trying to diffuse the protests by breaking the ever-growing protest into multiple smaller protests. Again, stifling the voice of the common people.

But we all know what happens when frustration builds and voices are ignored. The more the government acts to repress these voices, the sooner we will have a "steam explosion" of the unheard, frustrated masses. Perhaps this is playing out as it should. And if it happens, it could be as life-changing as the steam explosions at TEPCO's nuclear plant.

I like the post above about 14 sites all over Japan becoming protest sites on Friday evenings.

It reminds me that this vocal opposition to the DPJ's nuclear war against the Japanese people is growing like a cancer. And even if they split the main Tokyo group into five groups, each of those smaller groups also will grow to overflow their boundaries. Additionally, new cells are springing up all over Japan. They too will grow. And new cells will spring up elsewhere. Why? Because we are RIGHT! and we KNOW we are RIGHT! And we are completely and totally committed with every fiber of our being - completely committed to stopping nuclear power in Japan.

This movement will NOT go away until Japan renounces nuclear power. In the meantime, the government and police need to be careful in stifling the voices of the concerned citizens of Japan. If they don't listen, if they continue to ignore and insult the people who are trying to communicate with the government, this situation could easily escalate.

Let the people assemble. Let the people speak. These are basic human rights that are essential to the functioning of a free and democratic society. The situation may escalate if the people feel their voices are being stifled unfairly.

Anonymous said...

... and maybe an escalation is exactly what the Japanese government wants. I agree with those who said violence is unnecessary and will only deter peaceful demonstrators. What better weapon for the government is there than to discredit all protesters by characterizing them as violent lunatics?

Protests MUST continue peacefully and creatively. Nonviolent protests, civil disobedience, and strikes draw attention and cannot be ignored forever.

Maybe also try to promote "lights out" or
"electricity-free" hours on certain evenings. No one needs to go anywhere, saves electricity, and dark cities send a message.

Anonymous said...

What would happen if a large number of people turned off (or on) their electric appliances all at the same time?

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