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Demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Associate Prof. Masaki Shimoji
15 Dec. 2012
On Sunday morning of 9 December 2012, the Osaka prefectural police arrested and charged Masaki Shimoji, Associate Professor of Economy at Hannan University, for three alleged offences, violation of the ‘railway services act’; forcible obstruction of business; and unlawfull trespass.
We believe arrest of Shimoji is unlawful and he should be released immediately. We fear that this is a crude attempt to intimidate those citizens opposed to the nationwide spread of radioactive materials.
Shimoji was targeted because he was involved in the campaign to oppose city plans to incinerate imported earthquake debris throughout the nation, including Osaka, where he resides, and believes the plans will contaminate areas unaffected by last year’s nuclear accident in Fukishima.
The plans are proposed to commence in February 2013. After receiving and incinerating the earthquake debris from the north of Japan, local governments will then landfill the ashes. The central Japanese government
has pushed the program to ‘share the burden by all’ and has asked local governments throughout the nation to accept debris from earthquake zones.
The alleged offences took place on 17 October 2012, nearly two months before the Shimoji’s arrest. On that day at around 3pm, people including Shimoji, gathered on the footpath on the north-eastern corner of the Osaka railway station. In twos and threes, they then headed towards the city office to lodge their opposition to the city’s plan. They walked through the eastern corridor inside the station, from north to south, which is the apparent cause of the offences.
Besides the flimsy nature of the charges, the fact that Shimoji was arrested almost two months after the alleged offence of ‘walking through the station premises’ took place is very unusual. We can only conclude that this is
nothing but a crude attempt to silence us, suppress civil liberties and curb our democratic rights....