(In)famous naturalized Japanese citizen Debito Arudou's thoughts on G8 summitteering. The usual mix of condescendence and level-headed straight talk with what looks like some reasonably well-researched facts and good quotes. (love the Seidensticker quote -where did he find that?)
"Meanwhile, for those already here, civil liberties are being eroded in the leadup to the summit. It's not just that Toyako and its environs are closed to the public for the duration. The Sapporo City Government, at the behest of the Sapporo police, announced last December that between July 1 and 11 the three major parks in Sapporo would be off-limits to "gatherings" ("shukai"). This was, after protests, amended to ask gatherers to "restrain themselves" ("jishuku"), but the effect is the same.
Needless to say, these parks are public spaces, and about 80 km from the summit site. A security radius this big would cover just about all of Tokyo Prefecture; it's the equivalent of forbidding public gatherings in Hakone because of an event at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo.
So what of the alternate summits planned by the Hokkaido People's Forum — on world poverty, indigenous peoples, peace studies, even economic and environmental issues that matter to host Hokkaido? Tough. Also forced to reschedule were the Flower Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, the Sapporo Summer Festival and the Nakajima Koen Flea Market. Very subversive stuff indeed.
But who cares about the needs of the local yokels, as long as the world's leaders can enjoy their sequestration in distant hotels, dinners uninterrupted by potential unpleasantries?"
"Furthermore, Japan's biggest police force — Tokyo's — can at times like these slip the leash of public accountability. To quote Edward Seidensticker, an author not given to intemperate criticisms:
"The chief of the Tokyo Prefectural Police is appointed by a National Police Agency with the approval of the prime minister and upon the advice of a Prefectural Police Commission, which is ineffectual. None of these agencies is under the control of governor and council. Tokyo becomes a police city when it is thought necessary to guard against the embarrassment of having someone shoot at a president or a queen or a pope.""