The Committee of the November 20, 2016 Anti-Emperor system Demonstration
On November 20, 2016, around the Kichijoji Station in Tokyo, we took to the streets, calling for the abolition of the Japanese Emperor system? this peaceful demonstration was permitted by the Police Department. It was our answer to the Emperor
Akihito’s announcement on August 8, 2016 in which he told his will to abdicate, hoping for a continuation of the emperor system. We have been arguing that the Japanese emperor system should be abolished on the grounds that it represents this repressive regime.
Our meeting started at 12:45 in Inokashira Park, which was already disrupted right-wing activists using amplified sound. We started marching at 14:00 and then they began physically attacking us. They took away and destroyed our placards, banners, flags, megaphones, and car. They beat, kicked, and dragged us down. More than 6 of us were injured. Some were left bleeding, or bruised, or having the front teeth broken. Please note that they targeted especially those who were physically weak, including women. Please note that their verbal attack was unbearably hateful, xenophobic, and racist.
Although the march was originally planned to last 40 minutes, it apparently took more than 90 minutes due to the attack. The police officers with the Riot Police Unit allowed the right-wing activists to do illegal acts, such as assaults, inflicting injuries, thefts, and property damages. The officers even pushed and dragged us, forcing us to walk on when we could not move physically. They were supposed to be protecting us. Instead, they turned a blind eye to the right-wing violence. We doubted that they neglected us on purpose and that thus was a crackdown on peaceful protesters in disguise.
We have the right to engage in peaceful protest activities in public parks and streets. We have seen many protest activities everywhere, but the crackdown we experienced was we believe exceptional. Our freedom of speech was thus violated.
For us, it was the moment the Japanese Emperor system revealed its true violent nature. The Emperor, “the symbol of the State and of the unity of the People, deriving his position from the will of the people (the Constitution of Japan, the Article 1)” was indeed imposed on us.
Additionally, the power tried to silence us by separating us from the public.
A city congressman revealed the route of our march on the Internet without our consent. The local government, using the cell broadcast messaging, alerted the citizens that confusion would be caused by our demonstration?it treated our action as if it was a natural disaster or an unruly incident. We thought it was unfair, and then complained to the local government?it answered that such things would not happen again. Still, we have learned that the local elementary schools told the students not to go to Kichijoji on the day because it would be dangerous. We must say that the crackdown was thus institutional.
Finally, some of the liberals who are supposed to be a defender of the human rights are regrettably reluctant to defend those who oppose the Japanese Emperor system. The fact that the Emperor has been the most successful ideological state apparatus is evident here?and that was the reason why we rallied against it in the first place. We denounce the violence against us. We will continue to oppose this regime that maintains the Japanese Emperor system.
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★The Committee of the November 20, 2016 Anti-Emperor system Demonstration★