Network of Lawyers observing Human Rights around G8 Summit

Watch Human Rights on Summit
- Network of Lawyers observing Human Rights around G8 Summit -
Charter (Draft)

April 11, 2008

Yukihide Nakamura, Attorney at Law, Shizuoka
Yuichi Kaido, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Tadanori Onizuka, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Mitsuru Namba, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Kazuo Higuma, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Yukio Yamashita, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Koji Asaishi, Attorney at Law, Aomori
Kiyoshi Abe, Attorney at Law, Sendai
Morihiro Ichikawa, Attorney at Law, Sapporo
Takayuki Matsumoto, Attorney at Law, Kobe
Mikiko Ohtani, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Tadaaki Mutoh, Attorney at Law, Fukuoka
Shuichi Adachi, Attorney at Law, Hiroshima
Masato Wada, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Akio Taba, Attorney at Law, Tokyo
Yasushi Tadano, Attorney at Law, Tokyo

1. Situation around the G8 Summit

This year in July, the G8 Summit will be held at Lake Toya in Hokkaido.
Conferences related to the G8 will take place all over Japan in cities such as Tokyo, Niigata, Kobe, Yokohama, Aomori, Osaka and Kyoto.
Meanwhile, the police have intensified the surveillance of civil movements, e. g., by visiting offices of NGOs, who are planning actions during the summit, and by questioning the members about their activities.
Last year, a Korean citizen who visited Hachinohe in order to prepare the Peace and Green Boat which was co-organized by Japan and South Korea (600 participants expected) was denied to use the internet in an internet café.
We are afraid that in the months ahead, immigration control will be practiced more severely and members of NGOs from abroad who are planning any actions will be refused to enter Japan. Already, some incidents have occured which affirm these concerns: On March 7 of this year, a member of a Korean NGO who intended to visit Japan to participate at a conference was refused to enter Japan at the Narita Airport and was obliged to fly back to South Korea; it was only at her second attempt that she was allowed to enter. Also, a German who tried to enter Otaru Harbour from Russia with a cargo-passenger boat was refused at the border.
Recent media reports deal with the police being on high alert as an accomplished fact; critical discussions about such media attitude is – still – nonexistent.
In the last years, police authorities of different countries have been suppressing civil movements related to the G8 Summits partly with violence. Attracting the world’s attention as the host of the Summit, Japan might limit civil activities under the pretext of securing the Summit, regardless of whether the civil activities are related to the Summit or not. Therefore, there is a high risk of police controlling and surveilling excessively even the slightest radical civil activities during the Summit or related conferences.

2. Situation of NGOs and civil groups around G8

NGOs committed to environment, poverty, development, human rights, peace etc. have founded the „2008 Japan G8 Summit NGO Forum“ in January 2007, which consists of over 100 groups of various fields of endeavor. The NGO Forum submits propositions to the government, drafts policy propositions and organizes symposiums and other activities to promote its movement.
In Hokkaido where the Summit will take place, the „Hokkaido Peoples’ Forum on the G8 Summit“ was founded in September 2007 and has started its own activities.
On the other hand, various groups who are critical against the G8 itself got together in the „Network Questioning the G8“ which has already started its activities and is planning meetings and demonstrations. This network also comprises the Japan Peace Committee and the Peace Forum. 

3. Purpose of the Watch Human Rights on Summit

Under these circumstances, we have founded the „Watch Human Rights on Summit“. We have decided to set up a website/blog in order to share information and to provide legal advice in case of human rights violation and to provide – if needed – legal support.
Actually, lawyers from Hokkaido, Aomori, Sendai, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Fukuoka are involved in this observation network. We are planning to ask other lawyers from Hokkaido, Kyoto, Osaka etc. to join the network. In our network, lawyers specialised in immigration control are engaged in order to help people coming from abroad.

4. Summary of the activities of the network (schedule)

a.Set up a blog for exchange of information:
provide latest information about entry refusals and arrests.
b.provide legal advice to NGOs:
make handbooks about the procedure at the immigration and about the penal procedure after being arrested and provide the English version on the web.
c.PR-activities in order to protest against excessive surveillance and control of civil movements:
PR-activities on different occasions to prevent excessive controls and surveillance by the police.