Anti-Nuke Tent Protestors Say Japanese Government ``Violating Democracy``

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

By Mayako Shibata

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Anti-nuclear sit-in protestors occupying the front yard of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) strongly denounced the METI's decision to take legal action against Taro Fuchigami and Taichi Masakiyo, the two leading figures among the protestors.

The two defendants and their chief attorney Hiroyuki Kawai, and Setsuko Kuroda from the No Nukes Fukushima Women’s group, held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondent Club Japan on August 26th to earn further support from the public as they face the government.

The METI filed a lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court on April 6th this year demanding the protestors' evacuation and removal of all tents from the yard. The Japanese government is also demanding 11 million yen (20,000 yen per day) from the two defendants for their unauthorized use of the space.

The first hearing took place on May 23rd where it was discovered that the government had mistakenly sued Taichi Masakiyo instead of the intended member. It is extremely rare, for the government to make such mistakes and the defendants' Chief Attorney Hiroyuki Kawai stated that it damaged the trial itself. "It is extremely difficult to win in this case, so our job is to prolong the trial as long as possible so that the sit-in protestors can conduct their protests for as long as possible," Mr. Kawai said. According to him, the trial was a mess from the beginning thanks to the government's mistake.

Taro Fuchigami, Representative of the Anti-nuke Tent Plaza, also one the defendants, emphasized how the tents symbolize and represent the Japanese nation's anger but also depict hope. "Anti-nuclear power movements are democratic movements. But the government has been violating the nation's democratic rights by suppressing out democratic sit-in protests. Democracy has not been fully developed in this country. We are challenging Japan's democracy, which was introduced after WWII," Fuchigami said.

Fuchigami also mentioned that police control over the sit-in protestors became more aggressive after the ruling government was changed from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). "The change in the government's attitude against us is reflected in police attitude. They approach us imperiously more often and have become less tolerant of whatever actions we take," he said.

The third hearing will be held in September.

Mayako Shibata is a PanOrient News reporter

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