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Preliminary Interview with Anti-G8 Japanese Infotour

An interview done over e-mail by Indymedia Scotland gives more information about the state of the Japanese G8 mobilization. Another more in-depth audio interview will be done after at the actual presentation itself and posted on Indymedia Scotland.

Can you help describe to what group you are with and what you are doing on tour?

The Japan-based network of anti-authoritarians and anarchists, No! G8 Action was formed in May 2007, right before the G8 2007 in Rostock, where it learned from the European anti-G8 protest. Then it began to prepare its own projects. One of its focuses has been a coalition-building called G8 Action Network which connects various types of radical groups and coordinates with certain NGOs for certain projects. Now it strives for bringing Japanese and East Asian impetus into the stage of the global anti-capitalist struggle. The info-tour is part of the effort. It has previously visited South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia, New York, Montreal, and Toronto.

Bild: Poster

The info-tour is basically for introducing our anti-G8 project and invite as many people as possible from as many corners of the world as possible. But also the tour itself is the purpose, that is, on this occasion we would like to meet foreign activists and talk to them in person. This practice itself is part of the main point of this anti-G8 global protest organized in Japan, to build a better global anti-capitalist network in both the East and West.

Can you give us a few sentences about the status of the Japanase movement? Is this the first time a major mobilization happened at a summit in Japan?

We all are working hard at this moment toward the unknown. It is exiting and a bit scarely at the same time. We had Okinawa G8 in 2000. At that time, our focus was issues around the US bases and some anti-capitalist groups were involved. But we were not quite ready to organize a global mobilization. So one can rightfully say that it is our first major global mobilization.

What is the opinion of the Japanese movement towards violence?

We cannot speak for the entire movement here. But we can say the following. Violence is a very sensitive question for us, because of our history. The radical revolutionary movement in the 1970s lost its momentum and popular support due to a militancy without political strategies. Since then discussion concerning violence has been going on. There are two things that are certain: (1) violence is not an abstract issue, it has a lot to do with the context, especially of the conditions of the people of the particular locality; (2) An unconditional pacifism or legalism that has been widely practiced in Japan has not been very effective. It has weakened the mass movement. Therefore, certain militancy is necessary for the empowerment of the people, but it does not mean violence per se.

What is its relationship towards other parts of the movement, including reformists and academics?

Generally speaking, No! G8 Action is a network of radical movements. But we are trying to work with a wide range of groups, including certain reformists and academics, with certain conditions. In the past, our groups were excluded from the wide coalition in many occasions. So we have decided: this time it is we who call for a wide coalition. Speaking about academics and intellectuals, many of them are sympathetic to us, rather than reformists.

What have you heard about Scotland? Will this be your first time in Edinburgh?

We have not visited before. We have the impression that it is a historical region. The image is — big dark castles, gray sky, and dark ocean. But we know that they are all nonsense. We are looking forward to learning about the working class lives and culture there.

Are you aware that the G8 met in Scotland in 2005? Are you familiar with what happened?

We wish we were there. We have learned about it mainly from the wonderful book: Shut Them Down, publish from Autonomedia. But of course, our information is limited, and we are looking forward to hearing directly from the people who worked on it.

What is the media reaction in Japan to the G8 protests so far? To anarchists?

Speaking about Japanese media, their tendency is very similar to that of the British mass media today. So some are reporting about us with clear intention to exclude us from the society. But there are small amount of people in the media who share the same opinion with us. We are trying to work with them.

What things would are you hoping to learn about the G8 protests in Scotland? From Scottish activists in general?

Organization, tactics, logistics, . . . basically everything. Because learning is another main objective of out tour and the anti-G8 movement itself.

Are you serious about activists from Scotland going to Japan? If so, why?

Yes! Because we are hoping to make this anti-G8 project the first occasion that the movements of East and West meet, and on the personal level. We are trying to invite as many activists as possible from especially East Asia as well. And ideally the encounter be person to person. It is not that we need many bodies with different races at the protest, but that we have to fight against the policy of Japanese authority — and any other authorities — to confine the people in the illusion of a self-sufficient nation-state. It is the globalization of the people that we are trying to realize.

Ideally, what would you like to see happen in Japan at Lake Toya?

Kind of actions and events that empower the people, especially Japanese who have been made to believe that they are nothing and they can do nothing.

Where is Lake Toya in Japan? How far from Tokyo? How are people planning to get there? Is there communication with locals, including Ainu?

Lake Toya is very far from Tokyo. For the travel plan and logistics, we will upload the information very soon, so please check http from time to time. One thing we can say is that travel cost (airfare) is high, but we are making infrastructure for the foreign visitors so that they don’t have to spend much more than that. Also those who are considering to come, pleased write to:anti-g8-j. We are working with various local groups. Ainu people as well as farmers are part of the entire movement.

Is there any way for people in Scotland to help without going to Japan? Solidarity actions or raising money?

Yes. Solidarity action is highly appreciated. We are planning a day of international solidarity action as well as days of themed actions. Again, when the schedule is fixed we will upload the information on the above website. Please check it from time to time.

You can contact the Infotour here: no-g8 (at) sanpal.co.jp

Source: http://scotland.indymedia.org