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Greenpeace Action Alert – Protestors In Japan

Greenpeace Action Alert – Protestors Arrested In Japan

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Last Tuesday, four Greenpeace volunteers were put in jail after taking action to end toxic pollution from the world's largest incinerator in Tokyo. In addition on Thursday, the police raided the Greenpeace office in Tokyo and our flagship "The Rainbow Warrior".

You can let Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori of Japan know that you want the four activists released immediately. Not only because they were campaigning for a cleaner environment, but also because the Japanese police are contravening internationally agreed upon human rights by holding the activists for more than 10 days without charge. Following is some background information about the issue and action, and also a letter you can email to the Japanese Prime Minister and Japanese Ambassador to NZ.

BACKGROUND The Rainbow Warrior has been undertaking a 5 month long toxics tour of SE Asia and is currently in Japan. The focus of the tour has primarily been persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxin and PCBs. In Japan, the tour has focussed on incineration - a major source of dioxin emission, especially given that Japan has a higher number of incinerators than any other country. (For more information please have a look at the Toxic Free Asia Tour at: http://www.greenpeace.org )The last day of the tour was to be last Tuesday.

On that Tuesday, 4 Greenpeace volunteers climbed an incinerator and hung a banner from it proclaiming Tokyo the "dioxin capital of the world". The 4 were arrested and have been in jail ever since. The Japanese Greenpeace office and the Rainbow Warrior have been raided by police, and computers, banners, ships log, information leaflets etc have been confiscated. The authorities also confiscated the database of Greenpeace supporters in Japan.

You may remember last year when 3 Greenpeace volunteers, including one from NZ, spent 12 days in jail in Tokyo following a similar protest banner hang highlighting the dangers of PVC toys. On that occasion, the office was raided by 100 police and the homes of the executive director and campaigners were searched as well.

The Japanese system allows for the police to keep suspects for 48hrs with no charges or hearing whatsoever. The so called "substitute prison system" (daiyo kanguko) allows for suspects to be held for a further 10 days without any formal charges being laid. This can sometimes be followed by a further 10 day extension. Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have repeatedly argued that this system is a clear violation of the universal right of each individual to be considered innocent unless proven guilty.

Last year's protest , in the eyes of local Japanese NGO's, advanced the boundaries of public protest. They are generally pretty stifled by the system and these limitations prevent the public from demanding accountability for environmental and social crimes. This most recent protest has been supported by the local community that have fought the construction and operation of this incinerator for years, and by incinerator workers who have been diagnosed with high concentrations of dioxin in their blood but have had no success when asking for the government to address the issue. The real crime here is not the actions of our volunteers, but the continued polluting of the Japanese and global environment.

Greenpeace is trying to free its activists. There is a real danger that they could face some lengthy time in custody. Tuesday 16th is an international day of action with activities happening in at least 25 countries around the world.

Please copy and paste the letter below and send to:

1. the Japanese Prime Minister from the following website.

http://www.iijnet.or.jp/sorifu/kantei/foreign/comment.html

2. the Japanese Ambassador to NZ at the email address below

jpnemb2@ihug.co.nz

Thank you for your help. Malcolm Wren Actions & Communications Co-ordinator - Greenpeace New Zealand

LETTER To: Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori

Dear Prime Minister Mori,

Undoubtedly you have already been informed about the arrest of 4 Greenpeace activists on May 9. It is because of their arrest that I am calling on you to use all means at your disposal to ensure that these non- violent activists are released from custody immediately. In addition to this I call your attention to the 11th of May when, in an unjustifiable action by the police, the Greenpeace flagship "The Rainbow Warrior" and the Greenpeace office in Tokyo were raided.

Greenpeace campaigns on behalf of its supporters and the values of the public all over the world for a cleaner environment. The four Greenpeace activists from China, Belgium, The Netherlands and UK were arrested after climbing the tower of an incinerator complex in Toshima Ward in Tokyo, where they later unfurled a banner proclaiming Tokyo as the world's Dioxin Capital. As you undoubtedly will know as well Japan has the highest levels of dioxin emissions in the world today, primarily a consequence of having the highest number of waste incinerators than any other country on the planet.

You are aware of the substantial environmental problems Japan is already facing from these dioxin emissions especially the ongoing pollution of the environment with toxic chemicals like PCB's and other Persistent Organic Pollutants. I find it very strange to accept that these activists; the people who give all they have to fight pollution of the Japanese environment are now being detained in a Tokyo prison cell.

I am also very concerned as the activists will be held in custody under the so called "substitute prison system" (daiyo kanguko). As you will know, under this system a suspect can be held for 48 hours with a 10 day extension, sometimes even followed by a further 10 day extension. International human rights organisations like Amnesty International have repeatedly argued that this system is a clear violation of the universal right of each individual to be considered innocent unless proven guilty.

I personally believe that the Greenpeace activists did not commit a crime but acted in the best interest possible for both me, and people in Japan, by fighting global environmental pollution from a dirty technology like incineration. I am also shocked to find that in a modern country as Japan the universality of human rights is not respected by still holding prisoners under the "daiyo kanguko" system.

Recalling the universality of human rights, and in light of the global and just cause the arrested activists campaign for, I call upon you to use all possible channels of communication at your disposal to ensure the immediate release of these activists.

Yours Sincerely,

(your name here)


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