Right to Protest
The occupy Kasumigasaki anti-nuclear camp outside the offices of the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is facing a tough future. Just a few day after they returned to power in November 2012 the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), erected barriers around the camp and installed surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the activists. On March 29th they served Taichi Shosei and Taro Fuchigami with a court order that effectivley bankrupts the protest. As tent ‘owners’ these two protester have been charged with the illegal occupation of government land and have to pay rent for its use. The rent has been calculated at around 20,000 Yen a day and has also been backdated to the beginning of the protest in September 2011. After 581 days of protest (as of Sunday) this intimidating charge now stands at over 11 million Yen.
The first court hearing in this case, which is being fought in a civil court, will take place on May 23rd. Meanwhile the protester continue to fight for the existence of the camp understanding it significance as a focus for the wider, and now widely ignored, anti-nuclear power movement. Taro Fuchigami, (pictured in the baseball cap above) he has just returned from a meeting with METI officials in an effort to get the barriers around the camp removed in increase safer access.