|Support Groups for the Arrested|
Center （救援センター）[Support Center] was established
in 1969, by a group of lawyers who supported a large number of activists
arrested during the turmoil of Japan's postwar history. The center itself
sustains a genuine counter-power stance. It holds two principles: (1) it
considers state power's violation of human rights of one person as a violation
of human rights toward the whole people; (2) against state power's oppression,
it supports the oppressed regardless of their belief and political ideology.
The representative is Yasumochi Kiyoshi.
Japan Prisoners Union website （統一獄中者組合）is a very well organized information center for understanding the situations which prisoners are facing in all prisons in Japan. It considers US and Japan as backward countries in terms of human rights. It consists of in-prison members and out-prison secretaries.
Center for Prisoners' Rights （監獄人権センター）observes
the situations of prisoners across Japan, from the vantage point of the international
standard of human rights. It fights against all illegal treatment of prisoners.
It seeks to abolish the death penalty. It supports prisoners' return to social
life after release.
A Society for Prison Reform （刑事立法研究会）is
an organization that deals with the penal law in the context of the real situation
Forum 90 seeks to establish an international treaty to abolish the death
penalty the world over. It contains an English section that explains the situation
vis-a-vis the death penalty in Japan:
The web site is:
Soba no kai （そばの会）means “The Neighbor
Group.” Or the full name means “The Neighbor Group that Thinks of Death Penalty
near Tokyo Prison.” This group is active near the Tokyo Prison. Its main
goal is to abolish the death penalty.
|Anti-Emperor, Anti-National Flag|
Anti-emperor movement and the support of day-workers' and homeless areas (Sanya, Kotobuki, Kamagasaki, and sasajima) were the two crucial fronts that post-New Left radicals preserved and developed during the 80s and 90s. They continue to be pivotal in Japan.
Information about Han-ten-ren（反天連）is necessary.
Punch The Anti-Emperor System Movement （反天皇制運動パンチ）is a web magazine of the movement that queries the Emperor's war responsibility and the Emperor system itself.
Anti-Hinokimi Net (反ひのきみネット) protests
against the legalization and normalization of the national flag (hinomaru-日の丸)
and national anthem (kimigayo-君が代). This group
sees various new laws--the legalization of interception of private communication,
the new regulation of immigration control, the duty of foreigners to register,
and so on--as a return of nationalism.
The Group for Legal Action against the Prime Minister Koizumu's Visit to
Yasukuni Shrine （靖国参拝違憲訴訟の会）. Yasukuni Shrine
is not an historically existent shrine; it was made in 1879 for glorifying the
dead Japanese soldiers of all times, including those who fought for the aggression
of Asia. Therefore, the prime minister as well as all those who are in the public
position should not visit Yasukuni Shrine as public figures. Doing it automatically
approves Japan's war against Asia. This is why all Asian nations have been sensitive
to the event.
Since the Sunakwa Us Field Hospital Struggle (the peak was from the mid to late 1950s) and the Narita Airport Struggle (the peak was from the mid 1960s to the early 80s), state's compulsive expropriation of land has been one of the focuses of oppositional movements.
We don't need the airport in Shizuoka
Stop the Construction of Shizuoka Airport
Grow Green in Ashio. Ashio is known for its peasants' struggle against
Furukawa Industry for the mining pollution of Watarase river. The site is made
by a group that researches the history and seeks to revive green in the area.
Against Ariake Landfill is the site of a group objecting to the landfill
project of Ariake in Tokyo Bay.
JCA-NET is for “Empowering citizen's activities through the Internet
for peace, social & environmental justice, and human dignity.” It “dedicate(s)
its efforts to providing networking tools for NGOs and social movements, working
closely with AsiaLink (http://www.apc.org/english/),
an Asian-wide NGO information & e-mail network and is also a member node
of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC Networks) in Japan (since
Act is a magazine for civic acts. Its editorial policy is: (1) to report/introduce
various civic movements; (2) to report citizen's participations into policy
making; (3) to support ‘citizen-centric' congressmen of various regions.
Anti-Juki Net （反住基ネット）is against the new
law to make an inventory of all citizens in a governmental cyber database. Various
civic groups have been protesting against the legislation and the execution.
Citizen's Network against the Private Information Protection Law （個人情報保護法案に反対する市民ネットワーク）tackles
the new law that, despite the name, really seeks to regulate the freedom of
private speech and media reports. This is one of the focal points of today's
civil acts in Japan.
Reject the Private Information Protection law! The goal is the same as the above. It includes celebrities' manifestos.
No Tax League （拒税同盟）is the site of an
individual, Yo Mizuki, who believes in the lawful refusal of paying taxes. It
includes various informative documents concerning taxes.
Say No to Tokyo Major exclusively protests Shintaro Ishihara's outrageous
acts and comments about various things. It tackles his authenticity as a mayor
from various aspects.
Midorikawa Institute for Social Problems
Toda Hisayoshi's Homepage
Shomu-kei Seiji Seiryoku （諸無系政治勢力研究会）
Article 9 of the postwar constitution made Japan permanently abandon the right to military action. Since then, there has always been a strong revisionist tendency to amend the constitution to make Japan a ‘normal'--read ‘armed'--nation.
Don't Allow Undesirable Amendment to the Constitution is a citizen's
coalition that protests against the clear tendency of the ruling class to amend
the constitution, especially of article 9.
Citizen's Purveyance Center aims at watching the tendency to amend the
constitution in all the lawmaking movements in the nation.
Constitution Issues is a website that connects citizens and the specialists
of the constitution. It closely observes the trend of the Constitution Research
Group of both Houses（憲法調査会）.
The Article 9 Alliance (９条連) (See the
section of Anti-war, Peace Movements)
Anti-Surveillance in Internet（ネットワーク反監視プロジェクト）
protests the new law （盗聴法）--passed in 1999--that allows police to do wiretapping of private telephone, and struggles for protecting privacy and human rights in the internet.
Ombudsman Network is a citizen's group that seeks to survey government,
enterprises, mass media, and judicature. This has a nation wide network.
Information Clearinghouse Japan is an organization that supports individual's
right to request the government to unveil information.
Citizen's Center for Open Information （情報公開市民センター）consults via e-mail for individuals who need to achieve information from government.
Hallo Work （不正経理）challenges the unfair accounting in government organizations.
N System is the system of the Metropolitan Police Department to watch the whole nation on its TV cameras and computer system installed on the roads. The website challenges this system as a violation of articles 11, 13 and 22, declaring the rights concerning privacy and the freedom of transfer.
Fu-toko Shinbun（不登校新聞）tackles the increasing
problem of fu-toko (refusing to go to school). This phenomenon is widely
observed, ranging from elementary school kids to college students. It has become
one of the most serious social problems in Japan. This site includes various
materials that shed light on the issue in order to support the kids.
Nan Book (Education Liberation)（教育解放研究会）consists
of school teachers, university professors, and students, who investigate problems
surrounding the education system.
Children and Text Books Network, Japan observes the dangerous tendency
of textbooks presenting children with the wrong information about Japanese history.
Citizen's Center to Think about Text Books
Against the Text Book by the Tsukuru kai is a parents' organization
that protests a particular right wing revisionism of history. A right wing scholars'
group made a new history book that omitted Japan's wrong deeds during WWII and
incited dangerous patriotism. It turned out that it was not adopted as a textbook,
but still there are enduring challenges vis-a-vis textbooks.
Chronology of right wing's attack of textbook presents the whole history of
the current right wing revisionism. It is made by a private journalist, Sumio
|Media and Culture|
The Review of Contemporary Thought （現代思想）, since its inauguration in 1973, has been playing a number of roles in introducing contemporary thought. One was the thematic presentation of Western currents, French Structuralism and Post-Structuralism in particular; two was a cultivation of Japanese contemporary thinkers; and the third was, as developed in the mid 1990s by the editor Yoshihiko Ikegami, involvement of the people who engage in struggles in different fronts. The issue below, entitled “Street Culture,” published in 1997, introduced new types of activism, some of which are listed in the above section of “contemporary movements”.
*Cyberaction commits itself to developing techniques for civic and social movements to use the Internet. It includes “the yellow pages of civil/social movements” that this list itself is heavily dependent upon.
JCA-NET (see the section of civic acts)
*Alternative Mailing List Homepage consists of e-mail letters. One might say that it is an equivalent of <nettime>. By reading the letters exchanged in this site, one can have a glimpse of contemporary discourses in Japan. It is organized by a theorist and activist, Toshimaru Ogura.
Against Guideline of Online Ethics protests the government's censorship,
inspection, and regulation of Internet.
*Alternative Autonomous lane (AALA) is a copyright-free on-line magazine.
Among e-magazines of the left, this seems to be the best in covering the concerns
of both activism and theory. It published monthly issues from February 1998
to April 2001.
*Mosakusha （模索舎）is a unique bookshop that
has been selling pamphlets and hand-made publications of minor and radical groups
since 1970. Their inventory covers the whole spectrum of Japanese contemporary
social movements. It publishes a monthly catalogue of their inventory, which
itself is worth reading, with nuanced introductions of new publications as well
as interviews with theorists and activists. On the website one can read part
Yugeki Net （遊撃ネット）is an online bookshop
that sells various types of ‘dangerous books'.
Citizens for Responsible Media (Mekiki-net) problematizes the dangerous
tendency of media to be assimilated to the state's policy of censorship and
Links concerning the ethics of internet and state's regulations is organized
by the office of Tetsuo Noda at
Video Press professes that it practices media activism from an anti-war
stance. Via Real Player, one can view various video footages of political concerns.
Video Act says: “VIDEO ACT! was formally started on September 17, 1998
as an organization to support the spread and distribution of independent videos.
We have 150 works, mainly documentaries dealing with social issues. In Japan,
channels for distributing these works are still insufficient. Moreover, VIDEO
ACT! is virtually the only project to dispatch information on independent videos
to people overseas. We hope you may know the other reality of Japan which you
can hardly get from the corporate media. At the same time, we can give you various
information about video activism in Japan. If you have any questions, please
do not hesitate to contact us.”
Committee for Showing “Sing Your Rage” Series （「怒りをうたえ」上映実行委員会）is
an organization for showing independent documentaries of the crucial struggles
of the postwar Japan. The site also includes essays and round table discussions
on the struggles, which have been documented.
Against the Censorship at Toyama Museum reports the case of censorship
at the museum: Nobuyuki Oura's series of ten paintings, entitled Enkin-o-kakaete
[Holding Far and Near Sights] （「遠近を抱えて」）, was
exhibited at the museum in a group exhibition; among them, four works had been
bought by the museum. But because a regional Newspaper disclaimed it as having
uncomfortable depictions of the Emperor Hirohito, right wing organizations as
well as major political parties began to attack the museum. Succumbing to the
pressure, the museum director decided to remove the works as well as the group
exhibition entirely. A legal suit that followed.
Taima （大麻）presents various aspects of
the culture of using cannabis, including the uses in Japanese tradition.
Cannabist Internet is a citizens' organization that insists on the lawfulness
of using cannabis.
Proletariat's Literature and Art Research Group （プロ研連）questions
what is avant-garde and chases the trajectories of people who struggled by means
of literature and art.
Cine Asssocie--Tsuchimoto Noriaki is a page of the filmmaker,
who has been shooting documentaries of crucial struggles in Japan, including
a series of the victims of Minamata disease.