Open letter to the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda On Criminalization of Protest

Hokkaido, Japan—6 July 2008

We – environmentalists, social movements, peasant farmers, workers and civil society organisations – in solidarity with 23 Korean farmers and trade unionists who were denied entry to Japan denounce the authorities’ unwillingness to allow their participation in civil society events taking place parallel to the G8 summit on 7th until 9th July. Among other issues, the unionists and farmers were to raise awareness about the millions of Koreans who have been mobilising against their markets being forced open to the imports of American beef despite concerns of mad cow disease and the negative consequences for local food production and consumption. Organisations from around the world are protesting and holding public events in order to condemn the corporate-driven economic policies that are being ruthlessly being pursued by G8 countries with disregard for their impacts on people and the planet Due to reports from many signatory organisations, it appears that has been a broader, systematic approach to hinder civil society representatives entering Japan during the G8.

We would like to give a special thanks to the people of Hokkaido for their very warm welcome to such a beautiful region. We would like to express our concerns regarding the over-reaction of the police during protests and activities so far. We are disappointed that Japan, as host of the G8 summit, is criminalising freedom of expression. It is unacceptable for Japan, the G8 or any other countries to prevent healthy, critical debates from taking places alongside international meetings where decisions are being made that will affect the lives of millions of people around the globe.

People’s Movement Against Neocolonialism-Imperialism (Gerak Lawan), Indonesia

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