Monday, 5 October 2009

Akihabara 27 September: Nationalist demonstration in Tokyo turns into a lynch mob

Zaitokukai, a nationalist organization aiming at the ostracizing foreign people from Japan , held a demonstration in Akihabara, Tokyo on 27 September. At the roadside a young man was standing with a small sign with the words "Haitashugi hantai" (No to exclusion of foreigners). As the demonstrators caught sight of him they ran up to him and started to attack him, turning into a lynch mob. The entire spectacle of a single man being beaten down by a huge group of people waving the Hinomaru (Japanese flag) can be viewed on You Tube here.

On the video, the attacked young man is identified as Chinese, a fact that I haven't been able to verify. I don't believe it matters at all. What matters is that groups like Zaitokukai have started to appear in Japan and that they feel entitled to act like this with impunity.

Please note the strange behavior of the police. When they finally act, they don't life a finger against any of the attackers. The only one they take away is the young man who was beaten down (if to rescue him or to question him is uncertain).

What is even more sinister is the absolute silence with which the mass media have treated this incident, with no coverage at all in major newspapers or TV news stations. Indeed it is hard to find any major newspaper reporting anything at all about Zaitokukai or any other of the new anti-foreign groups that have sprung up in Japan lately. I believe there is a real risk that, as a result, lynch mobs will feel that they have free hands, and perhaps even a tacit approval by authorities and "mainstream" society, to continue with their attacks on bystanders in the future.

Zaitokukai gained wider attention in April this year, when they held a demonstration in Saitama, calling on the home of a small girl whose parents had been extradicted to the Filippines. They've since that held a number of similarly ugly and utterly disgraceful demonstrations in several of the major cities around Japan. The next one is planned for Osaka on the 10th of October.

I'd like to end with a few questions and an appeal:
1. To the police: why this lenient behavior? (This is not a call for more policemen or more "law and order", but for an explanation)
2. To the mass media (including the foreign press): why don't you report properly?
3. To everyone in Japan who thinks Zaitokukai is a disgrace, please continue what you started in Kyoto and Fukuoka - arrange more and above all bigger counter-demonstrations!

PS For those who know Japanese, please check out:
The homepage of Zaitokukai:
The homepages of people and organizations trying to oppose them, for instance:
Voice of anti-fa (Internet radio):
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.