Urgent Statement: The Japanese government should immediately issue a visa to our comrade Trevor Ngwane

Urgent Statement: The Japanese government should immediately issue a visa to our comrade Trevor Ngwane and stop violating freedom of expression, assembly and association.

27th May, 2008

The fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) started on 28th May in Yokohama, Japan. People concerned about TICAD IV organized a rally and assembly on 25th May ahead of TICAD IV, where comrade Trevor Ngwane was expected to speak as a keynote speaker to point out problems of TICAD IV as well as neo-liberal African development. Comrade Trevor was absolutely necessary to our activities against the TICAD IV. He had struggled against the Apartheid in South Africa, and he as chairperson of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee struggles against the destructive results of on-going neo-liberal policies.

Unfortunately, comrade Trevor Ngwane could not visit Japan. Apparently, the Japanese government is intentionally hesitant about his entry, not saying Yes or No to it. It postponed the issuance of his visa, simply replying to us that it had not yet received official certificates of no crime with him. Consequently, our dear comrade from "Energetic Africa" often referred to as by the Japanese government couldn't join us. We were deprived of our chance to discuss with him to form solidarity with African people, while the government succeeded in shutting down different opinions or criticisms on TICAD IV.

With G8 Toyako Summit close at hand, we see some cases where the Japanese government rejected the entry of several activists and intellectuals into Japan after the beginning of this year. We criticize the Japanese government for its arbitrary or intentional immigration control.

The Japanese Constitution stipulates in Article 21 that freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression should be guaranteed. The Japanese government must not
violate our right to assemble and express ourselves freely.

We, the undersigned at this statement, strongly protest the measure taken by the Japanese government, which prevented our comrade Trevor from joining our rally and assembly, and thus violated our fundamental human rights. We also demand that the Japanese government issue a visa to comrade Trevor as soon as possible and not hinder his entry into Japan again.

Study and Action Group on G8 and TICAD in Yokohama (SAGGTY)

For more information, please contact;
toshi ogura (G8 Action Network/SAGGTY)
Yoko Akimoto (G8 Action Network/ATTAC Japan)
nag00562@nifty.ne.jp (81-70-5575-6647)

Signed by: