International Preparation Meeting about the Lake Toyako G8 Summit
8 March, 2008 in Tokyo
Kurihara Yasushi from the Executive Office asked everyone to give their views and opinions regarding the G8.
The G8 Action Network is an open network composed of individuals and organizations who are questioning the G8 Summit itself. The Network is constructing a framework for exchange of information, designed to support many events and activities against the Summit.
Nations joining the G8 account for only 14% of the world’s population. Also, the G8 Summit is an informal meeting that does not comply with the procedures as requested by international laws. However, what is agreed there defines the movement of the world. For these reasons, we consider the G8 Summit undemocratic.
It was also pointed out that the policies carried out by the G8 are based on neo-liberalism. This is a world view holding that free trade or market liberalization could maximize profits and benefits for people. Neo-liberal proposals by the G8 have brought about many problems around the world to date.
Ogura Toshimaru from People’s Plan Study Group made a presentation about Japan’s government and its G8 activities at Lake Toyako in Hokkaido. He noted that Japan has selected global climate change and environmental problems as principal subjects for the meeting. At the same time, the government has been pushing hard to maintain the road taxes, a revenue source that continues the usual destruction of the environment. In this way, it is clearly putting forward a deceptive proposition for the G8 Summit.
Shimozawa Takashi from JANIC made a presentation about the G8 Summit NGO Forum. Even though environmental issues are at the center, he pointed out that so far, 114 NGOs are participating in the NGO Forum, which was started in January 2007. They have divided their activities into three groups: environment, poverty and human rights. It is their goal to respond to each official communique and have regular meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also intend to participate in the April, 2008 Sherpa meeting to explain the opinions of the NGOs. There will also be a Tanabata Campaign from April to July, as well as an alternative summit in Hokkaido immediately before the G8 Summit.
Yamaura Yasuaki from Consumers Union of Japan discussed the following points:
1) The G8 has deteriorated problems such as poverty and debt through international institutions including IMF, World Bank, or WTO, in addition to FTA and EPA agreements.
2) The G8 has consistently favoured big agribusiness firms. This is not only breaking the very foundation of small-scale farmers life around the world, but also expanding production of genetically modified crops or animals.
3) The G8 has pushed ahead with deregulations, such as the privatization of public services of rail, mail or medical care. In addition, liberalization of capital investment or finance has led to chaos such as the currency crisis in Asia or the subprime loan scandal.
4) The G8 has produced instability of labour, by relaxing the standards of labour laws.
5) The G8 has put priority on corporate activities and paid no attention to environmental destruction. The G8 policy on climate change will inevitably raise new problems including acceleration of more risky or speculative carbon trading or promotion of nuclear energy.
6) The G8 countries, who formerly built colonies in many regions, bear the responsibility for numerous wars or armed conflicts, and they are major weapons exporting states as well as nuclear-weapon states.
7) In the name of terrorism, the G8 has deprived life and freedom of people and violated human rights by mobilizing domestic or overseas police and military forces, such as in Afghanistan and and Iraq.
8) The G8 never discusses gender issues, ethnic minorities, indigenous people, or socially excluded people.
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