We protest the arrest of 6 students at the entrance examination of Hosei University and demand their immediate release.
February 9, 2010
An outrageous repression on students took place once again at Hosei University. Around 10:00 in the morning on February 5, the first day of the entrance exam of Hosei University, the Public safety Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested six students including students of Hosei on charge of “forcible obstruction of business” and “interference with a government official in the exercise of his duties” in front of the university main gate and in the Sotobori Park, adjoining park.
The arrest is a mean attempt of one hundred percent frame-up. There was evidently no activity of “forcible obstruction of business”. What were these six students actually doing there on that day? One of them was making a speech with a loudspeaker in the Sotobori Park just in front of the main gate of University; the other three students were distributing flyers near the main gate; another student was holding a banner; the last one student was taking video pictures of the scene. These activities are legitimate activities of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution. These activities of the students apparently did not “disturb” the business of the entrance exam in any way and the students were distributing flyers quite peacefully and “in order”. And all these activities were taking place BEFORE the entrance exam started.
The arrest was made quite suddenly without any advance warning. Nearly hundred men of Public Safety Bureau and riot police abruptly assaulted and arrested the students. This is a flagrant violation of freedom of speech and a naked political repression. As for the alleged “interference with a policeman in the exercise of his duties”, let’s take a look at what the police did for the fabrication of the charge: a security police detective intentionally fell to the ground just in front of one of the students and insisted that he, the student, violently pushed him down (It is an usual trick of police for making frame-up and is called “self-made comedy of stumbling”). We do not overlook frequent practice of unlawful police activities like this.
We vehemently denounce the arrest of the students, conducted with a sole intention to prevent distribution of flyers by those students who expose and criticize the corrupt administration of Hosei University. It is quite outrageous to arrest students for only distributing leaflets on a public road.
On January 29, prior to the beginning of the entrance exam of Hosei University, Tokyo District Court granted a provisional injunction proposed by Hosei University management to prohibit “distributing flyers and making speech. within a radius of 200 meters from Ichigaya Campus during the entrance exam of Hosei University”. This decision was made without necessary inquiry into the matter or consultation with the parties named in the injunction, namely, Zengakuren (All Japan Federation of Students’ Autonomous Bodies) and 12 students.
This injunction intends to put the campus of Hosei University and its surrounding areas under de facto martial law, targeting a very association, Zengakuren, under the dubious notion of “defending the business interests of the University”. It is an unprecedented escalation of repression. The Tokyo District Court together with Hosei University management openly declared that the entrance exam is a part of the “business of university” for moneymaking and it is justified to violate the Constitution and to deliver students to police for the profit of university business. At today’s Hosei University, students are punished for distributing flyers on campus and arrested or fined one million yen for distributing flyers outside the campus. Thus Hosei University overtly confessed that it is no longer an “educational institution”.
Since March 2006, 118 students were arrested at Hosei campus and 33 out of them were indicted.
The whole story began on March 14, 2006. Twenty nine students were arrested on “trespassing” for their protest action on campus against the university decision to prohibit distributing of flyers and putting signboards on campus. The university management meticulously prepared for a crackdown on anticipated protest action of students in a close cooperation with the Public Safety Bureau of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Two hundred security policemen rushed into the campus and assaulted on the students who defied the ban of independent activities of students. A series of repressive measures on dissident students followed after that: suspension or exclusion from university; arrest and indictment. All independent activities of students were forbidden and the campus was shamelessly trampled by university staff and hired guards with physical violence.
In 2009, eight students of Zengakuren and Federation of Cultural Clubs of Hosei University were indicted on charge of violating “Law Concerning the Punishment of Physical Violence and Others of 1926”, one of the repressive laws parallel to the notorious Maintenance of Public Order Law legislated in the pre-war time for the destruction of labor movement and student movement as well. At the end of last December, we have got all of those eight students bailed out, fighting back against criminalization of association. They are all very well out of prison.
However, Hosei University management, far from showing remorse, has gone into deeper complicity with Public Safety Bureau of TMPD in repression on students and dared to seek the provisional injunction and to conduct the arrest on February 5th.
Now workers and students as well are confronted with mounting attack of mass unemployment. Under the aggravating global economic crisis, unemployment rate is keeping high and workers are threatened by dismissal, wage cut, irregularization and intensified labor. The situation is quite the same for students. The rate of “informal job offer” for student applicants is declining and “one out of four” of them cannot find job. Now university should make effort to change the situation.
Taking opportunity of job shortage, however, Hosei University is deeply engaged in “education business” guided by the neo-liberal policy and demands expensive university fees as well as examination fees (Hosei students must pay for the first year over 1.26 million yen [$ 14 thousand] in 2010).
The corruption and degeneration of Hosei University, a typical neo-liberal university, is fully exposed by the prohibition of independent students’ activities on occasion of the entrance exam with the help of the provisional injunction of Tokyo District Court in defense of “the business interests of university” and the unjust arrest of the six students on charge of “disturbing the business of university”. Privatization of education, in other words, reducing education into a tool of money making, is a serious matter not only for students but also for working people as a whole.
Now university is at the stake. Alarmed by this situation, a large number of students in the world are now raising their angry voices together with education workers to take back education into the hands of students. On March 4 in California, US, a large-scale education strike is going to be organized. Fighting students of Hosei University are joining this struggle. We are aware that the struggle at Hosei University is making an essential part of the worldwide revolt of workers and students against the neo-liberal offensive and privatization of education and attention is focused upon its militancy and unyielding spirit based on widening unity.
The six students in detention are keeping complete silence in front of police interrogation and refusing every attack to force conversion. The Public Safety Bureau of TMPD is putting the six students in separate substitute prisons and trying to intimidate them into conversion through long time interrogation. Quite unlawfully, no visitor excepting the defendants is allowed. Wanted goods are refused to be sent in to the arrested students.
Let’s surround Hosei University and the police with angry students and workers across the country in protest against the unjust arrest on February 5th!
Let’s expand indignation against the neo-liberal offensive and privatization of education!
Abolish all repressive measures on independent student movement!
Take back university! Take back education!
We urgently demand the following three points:
Free 6 students immediately!
We demand Hosei University management stop repression on student movement, apologize all crackdowns and withdraw all punishments on students!
Stop all repressive measures of students in detention!
Signed by (as of February 9):
IRIE Shiro (President, Independent Union of Standard Vacuum Petroleum)
NISHIKAWA Shigenori (Chair of National Coordinating Committee of Associations of Peace Loving War Bereaved)
TANAKA Yasuhiro (President, National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba)
TSUJIKAWA Shinichi (Secretary General, National Coordination Center of Labor Unions)
TAKAYAMA Shunkichi (Attorney at Law, Chair of Movement Against Lay Judge System)
HAYAMA Takeo (Attorney at Law, Chair of Contact Center for Political Arrestees)
SUZUKI Tatsuo (Chief Attorney of Defendants of the Case of Repression Against the Struggle at NRU Extraordinary Convention and Head of Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
NISHIMURA Shoji (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
MORIKAWA Fumito (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
FUJITA Masato (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
TAKASHIMA Akira (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
KAWAMURA Takeo (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
IBORI Akira (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
FUJITA Joji (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
KINOSHITA Tetsuro (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
HANAZAWA Toshiyuki (Defense Counsel for the Hosei Students)
TAKEUCHI Koichi (Secretary General, Society for Constitution and Human Rights in Japan Federation of Bar Associations)
ODA Yosuke (President, Zengakuren)
SAITO Ikuma (President, Federation of Cultural Clubs in Hosei University)