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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 27 - July 3  > JCP in Shinjuku: ban on use of public parks as demonstration gathering points violates freedom of expression
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2018 June 27 - July 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP in Shinjuku: ban on use of public parks as demonstration gathering points violates freedom of expression

June 28, 2018

It has come to light that the government of Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo changed its rules to prohibit three city-owned parks from being used as gathering points preceding demonstrations.

In Shinjuku, until recently, the local government had permitted the use of four public parks such as Shinjuku Central Park as demonstration gathering points. It, however, recently tightened restrictions on the use of the four parks under the pretext of local residents’ complaints and decided to allow only Shinjuku Central Park to be designated as a place to legally assemble before a march begins. This decision was reported on June 26 in a ward assembly committee meeting.

In the meeting, Japanese Communist Party assembly person Azami Tamie stressed that it is hate-speech demonstrations that must be regulated. She said that the city government’s decision makes no distinction between hate-speech marches and others. Restricting all demonstrations violates the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, she added.

Another JCP member of the assembly Amemiya Takehiko criticized the local authorities for unilaterally tightening the restrictions and for neglecting its responsibility to conduct a survey on the actual situation of demonstration gathering venues before proposing any revision to the assembly.

A union activist, who observed the meeting from his gallery seat, said, “When we organized a demonstration for higher minimum wages, we always gathered at one of the four parks. However, we never received complaints from residents living around the park. The Shinjuku Ward government should withdraw the new restrictions that undermine democracy.”
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