The right to demonstrate in Japan is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution (“Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.”). This demonstration has been granted appropriate legal permission based on traffic laws and the metropolitan ordinance: the march will pass through some major public access areas in Shinjuku such as Yasukuni Street and Meiji Street.
* TV stations and media photographers will cover this march. If you want to avoid exposing your faces, please cover them with sunglasses, caps and so on.
* Although we have obtained permission to hold this event and we always demonstrate peacefully, it remains a fact that the police do not like political marches. Even in a case where you were repeatedly harassed by police, try to avoid reacting, especially with violence. Call on the organizers first.
* As we saw with three cases in last year’s march, the police are quite capable of falsely arresting participants, even when there has been no violent contact. If you are unlucky enough to be arrested, please take the following into consideration.
* Your right to silence is guaranteed. You are not required to provide personal information such as your name, address, nationality, or details of your work place. You do not need to provide anything at a police station.
* Your right to a lawyer is legally guaranteed. There is a specialized NGO called Kyuen Renraku Center for such cases, affiliated with the organizer. Just ask the police to call 03-3591-1301, and demand that a lawyer be dispatched. The organizer will work together with the NGO and make all efforts to release you and contacts your family. You can tell the lawyer your concerns about your family, work place etc., after he/she arrives at the police station.
* In arrest cases in Japan the major difference with other countries is the absence of a possibility of deals with the police (there is no concept of plea bargaining in the Japanese law). Even if arrested under a charge of “obstruction of officers’ duties,” the police can detain you for at least 3 and up to 23 days without a formal court procedure. Anything you say to the police or prosecutors could be used in an investigation sheet (this is why keeping silent is best). If you maintain your right to silence you may be released without charge.
* In the case of a 23-day detention, the procedure is as follows:
- Up until day 3, the police have the right to detain you purely on the basis of your original arrest
- From the 3rd day: Decision on suspension or extension of detention (another ten days)
- From the 10th day: Ditto (another ten days)
- The 23rd day: decision on whether to prosecute or release (mostly released)
* The first chance of release comes on the third day, but prosecutors routinely appeal against release in local courts following a demand by the police. In this case, the judge conducts a hearing with the person in charge and the lawyer, but this is almost always just a ritual: 99 % of such prosecution appeals are allowed by the court, which means another ten days detention. In most cases of arrest during political demonstrations, the arrestee is released before or – at worst -- on the 23rd day and the prosecution withdraws its case.