TsukuBlog

A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Wave of Anti-Abe Demonstrations Coming to Tsukuba: Friday June 19th, Friday June 26th, and Friday July 3rd

 

Anti Abe  placard

Anti-Abe placard displayed at Tsukuba`s Central Park on May Day 2015

By Avi Landau

One of the differences I`ve noticed in post 3-11 Japan is the increase in political activism (however slight it may be). Starting out with anti-nuclear power demonstrations (in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Reactor), the inertia carried through to other issues- U.S. bases in Okinawa, the introduction of the new Secrecy Laws under the administration of Shinzo Abe, and now the Prime Minister`s further attempts to change Japan`s “Peace” Constitution. Tens of thousands of protesters  have taken part in mass demonstrations in Tokyo this year – enought people to form a human ring around the National Diet building.

During the 1980s, 90s, and the first decade of the 2000s this was just not the case- after the violent student movement and anti-War demonstrations of the late-60s and early 70s had been surpressed and then petered out there was mostly conformity and docility. It was hard for me to imagine hearing from some of the professors at Tsukuba University (now just about at retirement age) who regaled me with stories of how they had battled the police ath the barricades with bricks (and more dangerous weapons) during their own student days.

Even over that 3 decade-long period of “political lull” there were demonstrations in Japan- even here in Tsukuba – though these were held on two set days a year: May Day (that`s right, on May First) and then half a year later on October 21st (International Anti-War Day).

I try to observe both these demonstrations, every year, to try to maintain a feel of what people are thinking and feeling (even if they are not the majority), chatting with the demonstrators (many of them friends) and taking pictures of their posters.

Anti-war

Anti-war

One of my friends who regularly takes part in the twice–a-year demonstration handed me a flier today- the Anti-Abe demonstration taking place in Tokyo are coming this way! For three consecutive Fridays, there will  events right here in Tsukuba City.

On Friday June 19th- in front of the Qt Shopping Mall across from Tsukuba`s TX Terminal (6:30 pm to 7:30 pm)

Friday June 26th at Kenkyu Gakuen Station

and Friday July 3rd in front of the Banpaku Kinen Koen Station.

I have no idea how many people will be there, dozens or hundreds, but I am curious to see how it goes.

If you`ve got the time (or even if you don`t- you might want to make some) check it out tomorrow.

If you agree with what the demonstrators have to say, join in or cheer them on

If you disagree, look on disapprovingly or shout them down

You can also just stand there and take it all in while you can.

Its STILL is a free country.

 

Demonstrations in Tokyo (Photo by Reina Kitamura)

Demonstrations in Tokyo
(Photo by Reina Kitamura)

 

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