Back to work ! AITEN Meeting – Sept. 12th (Mon.), AIJ office in Kanda

Hello everyone, we are resuming our activities after a break in summer.

Please join us to learn more about Amnesty and its volunteers worldwide enthusiasm that keeps people free ! Newcomers welcome !


  • discussion around our past activities,

  • plans for this coming year, (movie events, charity fundraising, gigs, etc)

  • Letter-writing to support prisoners of conscience around the world

Note in your agendas: Monday 12th, 19:00

ADDRESS : 7F Seika Bldg. 2-12-14 Kandaogawamachi, chiyoda-ku Tokyo 101-0052
TEL : +81-3-3518-6777  FAX : +81-3-3518-6778
E-mail :

Google maps link

17June Meeting report

On June 17th, we had a well-attended meeting and welcomed four new participants. AIJ staffer  explained AI’s work in documenting human rights abuses in countries like Syria where many asylum seekers and refugees come from.This information supports people applying for recognition as refugees. Japan in particular has stringent rules and proof of abuse is required. Out of 11 people receiving refugee status last year only 3 were Syrian!

We also learned about other organizations supporting applicants in detention centers in Japan. The AI website contains many reports on these issues and some are translated on the AIJ site.

Finally, a film evening has been organized for July 5th in Shimokitazawa on an inspiring environmental & art project in South America which is empowering local people to take action. Watch this space for more details!

Here are some of the current urgent appeals from around the world that need
our support:

  • Elena Milashina, a Russian journalist covering Chechnya
  • Ta Phong Tan, a Vietnamese blogger serving a 10-year prison sentence
  • A 11-yr old Paraguyan girl pregnant as a result of rape, who needs protection for her health and life

This PDF is 266KB in size. Click here to download (EUR4618442015ENGLISH.pdf)

This PDF is 179KB in size. Click here to download (ASA4118272015ENGLISH.pdf)

This PDF is 182KB in size. Click here to download (AMR4518352015ENGLISH.pdf)

AITEN Monthly Meeting April 15th

Our next meeting is on April 15th (please note: TUESDAY) at the Amnesty Japan office in Kanda.

Time 19:00 – 21:00

  • The first point of the meeting will be to give some update about recent developments in death penalty cases in Japan
  • We will have a letter-writing session, especially for Liu Xiao Bo’s wife, Liu Xia and other people who need your help !
  • We will plan our participation to the ISSH Family Festival on the 26th, including Amnesty and Fair Trade sales
  • And a debrief about our last successful event, MARCH 20th – ROCK FOR WOMEN’s RIGHTS!!
  • Finally, there will be an event with the AIJ English Circle on Friday 25th, which we highly encourage you to attend !

Let’s enjoy this meeting, and have dinner together afterwards ! Newcomers welcome !

Please come along! A map to the AIJ Office is below:

ADDRESS : 7F Seika Bldg. 2-12-14 Kandaogawamachi, chiyoda-ku Tokyo 101-0052
TEL : +81-3-3518-6777  FAX : +81-3-3518-6778
E-mail :

Google maps link


May Public Meeting



Amnesty International Tokyo English Network (AITEN) MAY Public Meeting

Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 19:00 – 21:00

Fleeing Danger, Seeking Safety: Refugees and Asylum Seekers Today

All around the world, people are hoping for, looking for, and in some cases dying for, a chance of a better life for themselves and their families. A major part of Amnesty International?s work is in defense of refugees and asylum seekers. Several AITEN members will present short talks on the situation that refugees confront in a range of countries,incl. Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea and Uganda.

Following these informal talks and discussion, we will write postcards on behalf of selected cases. Join us to learn about human rights issues, to take effective action, and to meet new people from different countries.
You don’t need to be a native English speaker – everyday conversation level and up!

Using Our Freedoms to Change the World

Venue: AI Japan office (new location!)     
[Suggested donation: 500 yen] Chiyoda-ku
Ogawamachi 2-12-14 Fl 7
Tel: 3518-6777
For a map to the venue, plus links to news reports, photos & video clips:

Poster here [PDF version(194KB)]


June-July Public Meetings

Tuesday 12 July 2011, 19:30 – 21:30
Rinji AI Japan office (new location!)


Poster here [PDF version(231KB)]


Tuesday 14 June 2011, 19:30 – 21:30  AIJ office

We are very lucky to have found a guest speaker, Mr Yamada Shimon, to talk about the campaign for videotaping police interrogations in Japan, something that is urgently needed, as revealed by the recent release of two innocent men who spent 30 years in prison:

Participation fee: 500 yen

Location: Amnesty International Japan National Office
Email: info[ATmark]

mnesty Film Festival 2011

Amnesty Film Festival 2011

Amnesty International Japan will screen 8 films over two days, covering a wide range of human rights issues in different countries.
NOTE that six of the films are in English, or have English subtitles.
During the second day, two Ainu (Japan’s indigenous people) will play and sing inspiring songs in their language.
Amnesty Film Festival official site:

Date: January 29 (Sat) & 30 (Sun)
Time: Starts from 11:30 (Reception opens at 10:30)
Venue: Yakult Hall (1-1-19, Higashi Shinbashi, Minato-ku, TOKYO)
5 minutes walk from the Ginza Exit or Shiodome Exit of Shinbashi Station

Advance Tickets:
A: Two-day ticket (29 and 30 Jan): 4000 yen
B*: One-day ticket (29 Jan): 2800 yen
C*: One-day ticket (30 Jan): 2800 yen
D: Student two-day ticket (29 and 30 Jan) for: 3500 yen
E: Student one-day ticket (29 Jan): 2800 yen
F: Student one-day ticket (30 Jan): 2800 yen
*(Same-day tickets bought at the door are 3,000 yen; 2,500 for students.)

How to purchase advance tickets:
From any Post Office: Write the type and number of tickets required on a yubin haraikomi-hyo(postal transfer form). Fill out your name, address and telephone number.
We will send your ticket(s) as soon as the money transfer is confirmed.

* Please complete the money transfer from post office by 27th January.
* You can also buy tickets directly at the AI Japan Tokyo Office.

Film Selection and screening schedule:

January 29 (Sat)
11:00 Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land)
2008/ Denmark/ Documentary/ Anders Ostergaard/ 85 mins/ Language:
Burmese, English/
Subtitles: Japanese
Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country. Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests
in Burma by thousands of monks and more than 100,000 people.
IMDb :
Official site :

13:30 Chosen no Ko (Korean Children Living in Japan)
1954/ Japan/ Documentary/ 30 mins/ language: Japanese
Based on essays written by children, the film illustrates the lives and struggles of Korean residents in Japan in the 1950s.
No English subtitles

14:30 The Fortress (La forteresse)
2008/ Switzerland/ Documentary/ Fernand Melgar/ 105 mins/ Language:
French, Others/
Subtitles: Japanese, English
Asylum seekers are temporarily detained in a refugee reception center until the authorities decide whether they should be recognized as refugees or not. The film shows people who have left their home countries for various reasons and arrived in Switzerland seeking a place to live, and the staff who review their cases.
Official site :

17:15 A Step into the Darkness (Buyuk Oyun)
2009/ Iraq, Turkey/ Drama/ Atil Inac/ 110 mins/ Language: Turkish,Turkmen, Kurdish,
Arabic/ Subtitles: Japanese, English
An entire village in northern Iraq is wiped out by misinformed and panicked American soldiers.
Connet, a young Turkmen girl who is the only survivor of the raid, has no choice but to set off on a journey in search of her older brother. A radical Islamist organization helps her reach Istanbul, where she soon loses all hope that her brother is still alive
and finds herself caught in the clutches of a charismatic religious figure who views her as an expendable instrument with which to carry out his devastating plan.
Official site :

January 30 (Sun)
11:00 Boy A
2007/ UK/ Drama/ John Crowley/ 107 mins/ Language: English/ Subtitles:
24-year-old Jack is released from prison after having been institutionalized for most of his life.
He attempts to readjust to the world outside of confinement and restart his life with support of the fatherly mentor-ship of a social worker. But forces from the past are constantly pressing on him.
IMDb :
Official site :

13:50 The Times of Harvey Milk
1984/ USA/ Documentary/ Robert Epstein/ 87 mins/ Language: English/
Subtitles: Japanese
In 1978, San Francisco’s progressive Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk-one of the first openly gay elected officials anywhere-were murdered by Dan White-a former City Supervisor, fireman, and police officer. The community’s response-ranging from silent vigils to violent riots-helped define gay politics as we know it. The Times of Harvey Milk tells an emotional story of communities in conflict, centered on the last year of Harvey Milk’s life.
IMDb :
Official site :

15:45 No Dumb Questions
2001/ USA/ Documentary/ Melissa Regan/ 24 mins/ Language: English/
Subtitles: Japanese
This documentary profiles three sisters, aged 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. With just weeks until Bill’s first visit as Barbara, the sisters navigate the complex territories of anatomy, sexuality, personality, gender and fashion.
Their reactions are funny, touching, and distinctly different.
IMDb :
Official site :

17:10 TOKYO Ainu, a documentary film
2010/ Japan/ Documentary/ Hiroshi Moriya/ 116 mins/ Language: Japanese
This documentary features Ainu (Japan’s indigenous people) people who actively promote their traditional culture in Greater Tokyo, away from their traditional homeland, Hokkaido. Challenging the common assumption that all Ainu live in Hokkaido, the film captures the feelings, thoughts and aspirations of Ainu who try to follow the Ainu ways, no matter where they live.
‘Ainu’ means ‘human’.
No English subtitles
Official site :

For further information, please contact:
Amnesty International Japan
2-2-4F Kandanishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 101-0054
TEL: 03-3518-6777 FAX: 03-3518-6778

Download poster with map at: (Japanese only)

October Public Meeting


AITEN October Public meeting
Wednesday October 27th 19:30-21:30
AIJ Office, Kanda, Tokyo

Refugees in Japan: Safe Haven or Living Hell?

The life of an illegal immigrant is never an easy one, but in Japan it can be lethal. This year alone has seen the death of one man at the hands of Japanese immigration officers, two suicides, and hunger strikes protesting appalling conditions at detention centers.

The government shows no interest in improving the situation, and reports in the Japanese media are few and far between. Is it too much to ask for refugees and illegal immigrants to be treated like human beings?

To understand what is wrong with Japan’s immigration policy, we have invited AI Japan’s Refugee Officer, Hiroka Shoji, and representatives of Tsukuba University’s refugee support group, Clover, to speak to AITEN members and supporters in English. Note that seating is limited.

Location: Amnesty International Japan National Office
Email: info[ATmark]

July Public Meeting

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 from 7 pm to 9 pm

Topic: Burma Today
As AITEN adopts three young Burmese Prisoners of Conscience, sentenced together to more than 100 years in prison for peaceful protest, we want to understand the situation in Burma today, study their cases, and discuss how we can support them and other victims of the military junta. We will also talk about the documentary movie Burma VJ, shot in secret and at great personal risk, and now showing in cinemas in Japan.
Presentation with video, activities, and followed by letter-writing.

All welcome! Bring a friend to introduce to AITEN!
Informal, caf・style atmosphere, refreshments, prize drawing. 500 fee

Action in London for Japan

Action in London outside the Japanese Embassy in support of Mr. Hakamada Iwao

On Wednesday, 10th March, we [AI campaigners] took photos of youth activists in the UK to the Japanese Embassy in the form of a large birthday card for Mr Hakamada Iwao.

Mr Hakamada is the world’s longest serving death row prisoner. Many people in the UK are surprised that Japan still uses the death penalty at all. It is even more shocking that someone can be sentenced to death after an unfair trial and then left waiting to die for over forty years.

We asked people to take photos holding the phrase ‘Free Hakamada’ in Japanese on a piece of paper. The reaction from local groups and youth activists was great – we received over 60 photos in total! The design team at Amnesty made these photos into a giant card demonstrating the concern of people in the UK.

On Mr Hakamada’s 74th birthday, Wednesday, 10th March, we took the card to the Japanese Embassy. I think the Embassy official was impressed at the widespread concern in the UK about this case. We spent over an hour talking to him; he promised to pass on our concerns to the Ambassador.

We plan to keep up the pressure with further action.

Anna Smart
East Asia Regional Coordinator, Amnesty International UK

Greetings from Arudou Debito

Greetings from Arudou Debito pp. NGO FRANCA Japan

On behalf of volunteer internet group THE COMMUNITY IN JAPAN, as well as the NGO FRANCA (Foreign residents and Naturalized Citizens Association) Japan, may I express my congratulations to the latest new group on the block, AITEN.  Having spoken for AI Group 78 on four occasions in the past, the first as far back as 2003, I know personally what good works your members do, and what camaraderie is to be had.

As Howard Zinn said, in his essay on activism, entitled “On Getting Along” (1999):

‘Don’t let those who have power intimidate you.  No matter how much power they have, they cannot prevent you from living your life, speaking your mind, thinking independently, having relationships with people as you like…  Find people who have your values, your commitments, and a sense of humor.  That combination is a necessity…  And even when you don’t ‘win’, there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that you have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile.’

That is in my view what AITEN is doing, in a society which desperately needs more volunteerism, Samaritanism, and a stronger, vital civil society.  You have years of firm roots and precedent in Japan through AI Group 78.  Now let’s network with the others out there, to make Japan a better place for everyone.  And have fun and camaraderie doing it.

I look forward to working with you again in future in any capacity possible.

Arudou Debito, Sapporo, Japan