May Public Meeting

Archive for May 2009



Tuesday 12 May, 2009

Attendees: Abigail, Allison, Christoria, Susanne, Yuki, Nick, Chris, Takashi, Forrest, Hiro, Jasmine, Takemi (Minutes taker)
Venue: AIJ Office
Day/Time: May 12th, Tuesday, 19:30-21:00

1        Guest speaker: Abigail O’Hanlon (AI IS). Asia Pacific Youth Network (APYN)
Abigail is currently in Japan to promote the APYN here before moving to Hong Kong. APYN is supported by AI, but is an autonomous, broad group organized and led by youth in the region (no membership fee). Launched in Aug 2008, from a core of 30 people, uses networking sites (Facebook, Mixi, etc.) to organize and publicize. Now claims 8,000(!) members. Produces material in multiple Asian languages. Already done a photo-petition against DP, and made a DVD about the UDHR. Next action is a postcard drive aimed at the Burma (Myanmar) govt. protesting human rights abuses by the military against the people, especially ethnic groups.
When we meet young people, we should introduce them to not only AITEN but also APYN.

2        Board of Patrons – The Next Step
–        Making a list of companies: David already contacted “Chambers of commerce.” If anyone knows any business owners, let Chris, David and Yuki know. (Your own employers, business already support other NGOs, etc.)
–        Will polish the package of materials.
3        Next gig: June 14th, Sunday @What the Dickens.
3.1  Theme: Burma
3.2  Bands: Forest Nelson+”The Sign”(from Tasmania)+”CHILLAX”
3.3  Raffle: Yuki will organize Raffle. Region-free DVD player for the first prize, Abigail will send us some items.
3.4  Publicity: Title will be “AITEN Benefit Concert”. Chris will help Nick to prepare materials. \1,000 admission. Yuki will prepare Poster, upload it on our web and send the data to APYN.
3.5  Letter-writing: Use postcards prepared by the APYN. Need to prepare basic facts + one individual case with a photo, (case of comedian from Wire is good). Takemi will prepare materials and organize the session.
3.6  Short speech: Nick.
4        Gaijin card meeting+rally
4.1  AIJ is sponsoring in conjunction with other NGOs.
4.2  Changes in the proposal: To find foreigners illegally living in Japan.
–        IC chip with more personal information will be imbedded in the Gaijin card. Detectable from a distance. Identity may be stolen by criminals/hackers.
–        Every foreigner must carry it, up-to-date, all the time. If not, detained and/or fined up to 200,000 yen.
–        Rally details are still under discussion. Interpretation into English will be available.
5        Upcoming Movie Nights:
–        May 31st:Documentary about the conflict in Sudan: “The Devil Came on Horseback”.
–        June 28th: Documentary on Uganda: “War/Dance”.
6.  Good News: A POC, Iranian-American Roxana Saberi” has been released today.
7.     Next ATIEN Meeting: June 9th, Tuesday. 19:30- @ AIJ Office. Finishing touches to the next gig.

April Public Meeting


Meeting Minutes
April 14th Tuesday, 2009

Date/Time: April 14th Tuesday, 19:30-21:30
Venue: AIJ Office
Attendee: Hisako, Yoko, Christoria, Takashi, Midori, Allison, Nick, Elena, Susanne, Chris, Takemi (Minutes taker)


(1)Movie night: The Seige, good audience, discussion followed. Some stayed for the Oxfam Pub Quiz event.
(2)AGM: April 4th & 5th. Chris commentsà Not enough YOUNG PEOPLE. Felt the importance of FUND RAISING. AIJ loosing core members, but as a result of Direct Dialogue activity (recruiting members on the street), the number of membership increased slightly. However, these people may not be active members. AITEN can show how to raise fund and recruit young people.
(3)Freedom Toast Café: April 12th, Sunday. The theme was “Girls’ Education”. University/High School students participated. Made 3 groups for deep discussion. Midori, who attended the event, commented: “Didn’t understand the movie, but did understand the reading material.” One participant has become a volunteer at AIJ. AITEN members are highly encouraged to come and help this event. Next Café date: May 10th, Sunday about “Palestinian”. Any idea or cases, please contact Yoko or Chris


2.Upcoming Events:
(1)Letter-writing Party: Open to anybody, but specially to young people. Write letters on 2-3 cases. Human rights quiz with prizes for winners. Informal party will follow. Tom Holliday will perform from 20:00.
– Preparation for Cases: Allison, Christoria and Hisako will choose cases and prepare materials. Each will outline the cases they chose. Elena will talk about AI’s letter-writing policy.
– Prize: Box of cookies, AI Goods (T-shirts, chocolates, key rings, etc. also to sell) Prize: Box of cookies, AI Goods (T-shirts, chocolates, key rings, etc. also to sell)
– Allison’s idea: Prepare a big piece of paper and let participants write “What human rights to them.”
– Pub Quiz: Chris will prepare quizzes.
– Chris is taking car of publicity.
(2)  Movie night: April 26th, Sunday @Heaven’s Door (Oxfam quiz event follows). “Beyond the Call”. Please see for details.
Ideas for a bigger audience? à Need more publicity, such as Metropolis. Can do it online. Yuki will look into it.
(3) Next gig: June 14th, Sunday.

3. Letter-Writing
Attendees all wrote a letter on a case from Nepal.
4. Discussion:
(1) Board of Patrons
Yuki explained the background. Chris added further and detailed information. We have a presentation with detailed information on what AI does that Yuki has prepared.
The idea is that for companies donate (let’s say) \100,000/year, we offer invitation to selected AI events, etc. àWe are ready to go. àShould prepare a presentation package.
To everyone: Please identify suitable companies for this program.
5. AOB:
April 14th, Tuesday @AIJ Tokyo Office
6. Next meeting:
May 12th, Tuesday. 19:30- @ AIJ Office Need to make planning for the gig in June. The band is “The Sign” from Tasmania confirmed.

Directions to Amnesty International Japan Office

April Party


Letter Writing Fair

Learn about Human Rights and speak out for those who have been silenced.
Meet our friendly volunteers, enjoy the great food and drinks, with live music later in the evening!

Date: Sunday, April 19th, 2009
Where: What the Dickens, Roob Building, 4F, Ebisu-Nishi 1-13-3, Shibuya-Ku
When: Doors open at 4 pm
Free Admission

(click on ‘Read More’ below for map)

Directions to What the Dickens!

Past Film


Beyond the Call (2006) (English, with Japanese subtitles)

Time: 16:30 doors open, 17:00 film starts.  Stay behind after to discuss the movie – optional.
Venue: Heaven’s Door, Shimokitazawa (Click on ‘Read more’ below for map and directions)
Admission free

n an Indiana Jones meets Mother Teresa adventure, three middle-aged men, former soldiers and modern-day knights, travel the world delivering life saving humanitarian aid directly into the hands of civilians and doctors in some of the most dangerous yet beautiful places on Earth, the front lines of war.

Their personal convictions and courage drive them to places such as Afghanistan, Albania, Chechnya, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Rwanda and the southern Philippines, often when few if any other humanitarian aid organizations are around. The camera follows Artis, Laws and Ratterman as they take us on a journey into the heart of humanity and the soul of courage.

For further information, please visit the official page

(Click on ‘Read more’ below for map and directions)

Map to Heaven’s Door

From Shimokitazawa Station (Inogashira and Odakyu Lines) South Exit, walk down the hill leaving MacDonalds on your left. Just before Mr. Donut, turn right, then left onto a street of shops, bars and restaurants. A short distance down this street, you will see Heaven’s Door on your left on the 2nd floor (See map).

Takimoto Bldg 2F
Kitazawa 2-17-10
Setagaya-ku 155-0031
Tel: 03-3411-6774

Past Film

The Seige

Sunday 29th March 2009

The Siege (1998) (English, with Japanese subtitles)

After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City.

For further information, please visit The Siege page at IMDB

Past Film

Punishment Park

Sunday 22nd February 2009

Punishment Park (1971) (English, no Japanese subtitles)

A rare chance to see this 1971 pseudo-documentary-style feature film, never released in Japan, that carries echoes of the social psychology experiments of Millgram and Zimbardo.

“Punishment Park” is a pseudo-documentary purporting to be a film crews’s news coverage of the team of soldiers escorting a group of hippies, draft dodgers, and anti-establishment types across the desert in a type of capture the flag game. The soldiers vow not to interfere with the rebels’ progress and merely shepherd them along to their destination. At that point, having obtained their goal, they will be released. The film crew’s coverage is meant to insure that the military’s intentions are honorable. As the representatives of the 60’s counter-culture get nearer to passing this arbitrary test, the soldiers become increasingly hostile, attempting to force the hippies out of their pacifist behavior. A lot of this film appears improvised and in several scene real tempers seem to flare as some of the “acting” got overaggressive. An interesting exercise in situational ethics.

For further information, please visit Punishment Park page at IMDB

Past Film

Standard Operating Procedure

Sunday 25th January 2009

Standard Operating Procedure
(English, no Japanese subtitles)

Is it possible for a photograph to change the world? Photographs taken by soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison changed the war in Iraq and changed Americas image of itself. Yet, a central mystery remains. Did the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs constitute evidence of systematic abuse by the American military, or were they documenting the aberrant behavior of a few bad apples? We set out to examine the context of these photographs. Why were they taken? What was happening outside the frame? We talked directly to the soldiers who took the photographs and who were in the photographs. Who are these people? What were they thinking? Over two years of investigation, we amassed a million and a half words of interview transcript, thousands of pages of unredacted reports, and hundreds of photographs. The story of Abu Ghraib is still shrouded in moral ambiguity, but it is clear what happened there. The Abu Ghraib photographs serve as both an expose and a coverup. An expose, because the photographs offer us a glimpse of the horror of Abu Ghraib; and a coverup because they convinced journalists and readers they had seen everything, that there was no need to look further. In recent news reports, we have learned about the destruction of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation tapes. A coverup. It has been front page news. But the coverup at Abu Ghraib involved thousands of prisoners and hundreds of soldiers. We are still learning about the extent of it. Many journalists have asked about the smoking gun of Abu Ghraib. It is the wrong question. As Philip Gourevitch has commented, Abu Ghraib is the smoking gun. The underlying question that we still have not resolved, four years after the scandal: how could American values become so compromised that Abu Ghraiband the subsequent coverupcould happen?

For further information please visit Standard Operating Procedure page at IMDB



You can make a difference now – Use Your Freedom and write a letter to shine a light on human rights violations. Get involved in current Amnesty International Appeals and Campaigns. See the following links to go to Amnesty campaign information:

Latest Appeals

Current Amnesty International Campaigns

Urgent Action Network

Do you buy music online? Then “Make Some Noise” for human rights.


March Public Meeting


Meeting Minutes
March 10th Tuesday, 2009

Date/Time: March 10th Tuesday, 19:30-21:00
Venue: AIJ Office
Attendee: Elena, Hisako, Christoria, Susanne, Thea, Nick, Takashi, Will, Yuki, Chris, Takemi (Minutes taker)


(1)AGM : April 4th & 5th, Sunday; Chris spoke briefly about resolutions.
①No resolutions seem to raise arguments.
②Volunteers are welcome to represent AITEN at AGM. àAppeal will be sent out.
(2)Human Dignity Campaign: It will be launched in May 2009. It is going to be a major campaign worldwide. Fairly new approach compared to traditional AI approach. Focus on poverty. à Brainstormed on what poverty is, what poor people don’t have. For details about the campaign, refer to the attachment “AI’s Goal: Campaigning for Human Dignity: End human rights abuses that keep people poor”.
(3)Letter-writing session: All participants wrote letters on cases from “Wire” etc. An appeal prepared by AIUK for Mr. Hakamada, 44th year of imprisonment, whose 73rd birthday coincidentally falls on today, was introduced. Nick wrote a letter for Yuyu, a Nigerian running a bar in Yokohama, arrested after a false claim of rape. It can be seen as a typical case of how badly black people could be treated in Japan. Please visit the website Nick prepared for him for details. “”.


2.Upcoming Events:
(1)A documentary “Sour Strawberries” with English/Japanese subtitles (working/living conditions of immigrant workers in Japan) will be shown, with Arudo Debito’s talk followed by a discussion session. Tuesday March 24th @Ben’s Café. \500 donation will be collected at the door. Christoria will prepare an appeal for card signing.
(2)Movie night: Sunday March 26th, “The Siege”. Details are on our website. We will ask Heaven’s Door to provide “2 glasses of wine with cheese and crackers for \1,000” as it was popular last time. April movie to be decided.
(3)“Freedom Toast Café”: Sunday, April 12th: Theme to be decided.
(4)Letter-writing marathon: Sunday April 19th @Dickens. From 16:00- 18:00(18:30) Take recent cases from Wire. Invite young people, international school group members (Yokohama, St.Mary, etc.). No entry charge. HR Trivia Quiz. Bring anything to make it fun.
3.Next meeting:
April 14th, Tuesday @AIJ Tokyo Office

Other Amnesty Supporters in Japan

Other Amnesty Groups in Japan

There are four other English-speaking or bilingual groups (other than school groups) in Japan:
In Kamakura, Group 103.
In Osaka, Group 95: Email, Facebook group.
In Tsukuba, Group 131.
In Fukuoka:

For further details please visit the Amnesty International Japan English page.

Amnesty Campaign Information

You can make a difference now! Use Your Freedom and write a letter to shine a light on human rights violations. Get involved in current Amnesty International Appeals and Campaigns. See the following links to go to Amnesty campaign information:

– Updated Appeals
– Current Campaigns
Urgent Action Network

Other Human Rights Sites

United Nations Human Rights Page

Other NGOs and Resources in Japan


Tokyo Community News
The best website listing events of interest to progressive thinkers. The work of dynamic academic and campaigner, Sarajean Rossito of People for Social Change.
The best site for up-to-the-minute comment and news on the struggle for human rights in Japan. The blog of academic, journalist and campaigner, Arudo Debito.

Japan Institute for the Study of Wrongful Arrests and Convictions
An excellent source of information on miscarriages of justice in Japan.

Japan Death Penalty Information Center
A great source of information on the death penalty in Japan.

Bands that have supported AI in Tokyo

The Infinite Happiness Orchestra
The Beautiful Losers
the Clockwork Flowers
Eden Rogue
Forrest Nelson
– Hitmen (email)
Max Blues