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Human rights demo? Thanks but no thanks, says Kurdish residents' association

18 Comments

One of the topics raised together with the recent demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in Japan was a fairly recent example of alleged police brutality, when video of a Kurdish man being forcibly pulled from his car was posted online last month. 

As was reported in several major daily newspapers, on the afternoon of May 22, while driving a car the Kurdish man had been stopped by a patrol car.

Some Japanese were upset enough over the issue to organize demonstrations. But as J-Cast News (June 15) reports, a Kurdish human rights organization based in Saitama Prefecture did not welcome their intervention. 

On its Japanese-language Facebook page, the Japan Kurdish Cultural Association issued a complaint regarding a 33-year-old Kurdish man who claimed to have been subjected to "intimidating" questioning at the hands of police. 

Here is how the association's post began: 

To: The Government of Japan, National Diet, National Police Agency and the people of Japan 

From: The Japan Kurdish Cultural Association 

Date: June 13, 2020 

Re: The demonstration that took place on May 30 in front of the Shibuya Police Station, 

The Kurdish people in Japan abide strictly by the laws and customs of Japan. This association will continue in the future to instruct its members to refrain from causing friction in Japanese society. Following the recent incident some people have been spreading incorrect information about Kurdish people. It is requested that you disregard this. 

According to one version of the incident, the police indicated they wanted to inspect the interior of the car, but the man refused, saying he was rushing to go to the dentist. The two policemen began shouting and physically held down the man by his neck, causing injuries. A friend riding in the man's car recorded a video with his smart phone and later posted it on Twitter in protest. 

Subsequent to this, on May 27, a criminal complaint was submitted to the Tokyo Prosecutor's Office. According to news reports, the police allege that after the driver had passed their patrol car he changed lanes without signaling. He also refused to show his driver's license. To prevent him from driving away, the police, concerned over the heavy volume of traffic moving along the road, physically forced the man to sit down. Questioning him, they claimed, was appropriate in such a case. 

On May 30, some 200 people who had viewed the video staged a protest demonstration in front of the Metropolitan Police Department in Chiyoda Ward, shouting out slogans against discrimination against foreigners there, and afterwards in front of the Shibuya Police Station. Some of the participants were opposition party Diet members. Some of the demonstrators were arrested. 

Then on Saturday, June 6, yet another protest demonstration involving some 500 people was organized. It happened concurrently with another rally protesting the slaying of a black man by police in the United States. 

On June 10, threatening emails, claiming to be from ANTIFA, threatened that on June 12, hand grenades would explode at the Shibuya Police Station and Tokyo Immigration Office. The latter, as a precaution, suspended its services for the entire day. 

The next day, the Kurdish Association posted its views concerning the May 30 demonstrations in Shibuya on its Facebook page. The association clarified that it "Was neither supporting the demonstrations and had no involvement in it whatsoever." Regarding the Kurdish man whose alleged mistreatment spurred the demonstrations, it stated, "There is no excuse for violating Japan's laws and customs. The point has been raised that if he had abided by traffic regulations and complied with the policemen's request, the police would not have responded the way they did."

The Facebook post also noted that while many Japanese people turned out for the demonstration, "none of them have any previous involvement in activities supporting Kurdish people."   

"It is difficult to say the demonstrations this time were warranted... [and] it can be supposed that they may have exacerbated biases towards Kurdish people in Japan," the statement said, going on to complain that, "Regrettably, none of the media, academic organizations or other groups had approached the Kurdish community to ask their opinions." 

In response to a query from J-Cast's reporter Hiroyuki Noguchi, Vakkas Colak, secretary of the association, issued a statement on June 15 that read: 

With regard to the bomb threat against the Immigration office that was broadcast on TV news, the names of some Kurdish people were raised several times, so I thought I would have to issue a message. That's because if I don't, it will reflect poorly on the image of the Kurdish people and their community. The demonstrations on this occasion were conducted without any consultation with our association, and are an annoyance to the sincere and hardworking majority of Kurdish people. They will, I believe, bring about no benefit or advantage for us.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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The point has been raised that if he had abided by traffic regulations and complied with the policemen's request, the police would not have responded the way they did

BLM need to take this view sometimes I believe, rather than just constantly crying victim.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

I have a lot of respect for the Kurds. I think they've been shafted in the Middle East by the US (and pretty much everyone else). They have a strong mindset of taking responsibility. In this case, I agree with this association's stance on the Kurdish/J police incidents.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The point has been raised that if he had abided by traffic regulations and complied with the policemen's request, the police would not have responded the way they did.

A number of people on this site were quick to judge the situation through their tinted lenses. There is definitely a lack of nuanced thinking these days whatever the topic.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Police pull me over, I comply as common sense. I understand why they do not want a political rally as that can be grounds to deny a visa in Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Kurds from Turkey have been pitching for refugee status, but their efforts have been futile so they are sort of in a limbo. To be deported would be disastrous for them and their situation here is unenviable, to say the least. They are known to have a saying that goes to the effect that "The Kurds' only friends are the mountains." I think it was CNN several months back that showed beautiful Kurdish girls in camo uniforms fighting alongside their men in Syria.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Why on earth would any refugee pick Japan as their first destination?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

KniknaknokkaerToday  09:50 am JST

The point has been raised that if he had abided by traffic regulations and complied with the policemen's request, the police would not have responded the way they did

BLM need to take this view sometimes I believe, rather than just constantly crying victim.

When did you see BLM ' constantly crying victim?' Did the cops break in and riddle him and his home with bullets while he was inside relaxing ? No. Did the cops put their foot on his neck for 8 minutes and even when he said he couldn't breathe, didn't let up and he died? No. Was he was jogging down the street and accosted by 2 men with shotguns and shot to death and the two men weren't even charged until there was an uproar from some of the public? No. First, people like YOU need to see a different view.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Japan is a nation of a diminishing populous. It’s rural communities will disappear absent government intervention. Japan can help itself by being a beacon of hope for the oppressed and the abandoned in the world community. The Kurds are the most deserving of help and a safe refuge. They have been oppressed for decades and recently backstabbed by Donald Trump after they fought side-by-side with American troops Japan should extend a welcoming hand to a most deserving group of refugees. The Kurds will help build Japan’s future

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The Kurds, the Palestinians and the Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland have been the most persecuted groups for many years by bullying neighbours. These groups have been systematically bullied, ridiculed , made fun of, discriminated against, imprisoned for many years on made-up charges or shot dead but no Isreali, British or Turkish celebrities have ever apologised or cried guilty crocodile tears on Facebook for historical abuse and persecution of them. There is a very obvious and unsatisfactory discrimination in who gets support and sympathy in "discrimination" debates. Lets be honest. There is no consistency. Some groups are in and some are apparently not cool to show solidarity with. WHY? ? In this instance the Kurds have once again proven they are a rightious "nation".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Kurds will help build Japan’s future.

Good luck with that. The prospect of Kurds repopulating and taking over Japan's rural villages would strike fear and dread in the hearts of about 95% of Japan's population. The Japanese have long made it clear they would prefer to see the old communities disappear than have foreigners take them over.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

An excellent response from the Kurdish association

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan can help itself by being a beacon of hope for the oppressed and the abandoned in the world community. 

Aside from whether that's a good idea or not, it's a wild pipe dream. The provincial and slightly xenophobic nature of most Japanese will never allow that. Not in my lifetime, anyway. I love this country, but it will take a massive transformation before they can truly become open to the world.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Kurdish association did the sensible thing here, I think. I saw people sharing the video and jumping to conclusions so I asked if anyone had a video of what happened to make the police arrest him - nothing.

If the association had said "F*ck the police!" they'd just be targeted more. They know the police can be a hassle, but they generally follow the rules and are infinitely better than Turkish police. It is much better to engage and participate in wider society than just marching round with signs.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

i kind of support what Tokyo police department did because the guy broke many traffic regulations and didnt comply with police and try to speed away to avoid taking responsibility.....the police may suspected hes on drugs or something or hiding something if hes pass by patrol car and didnt signal to change lanes and try to run when police stopped him ...what kind of dumbass would think its alright as to not show your drivers license if your caught speeding down a road especially when patrol car is nearby watching....... also those damn protesters have nothing better to do..... if the guy listen to police officers then nobody would gotten hurt....im not trying to boot lick the police, i rather follow the laws instead of doing stupid stunts that cause me to be lowlife criminal.......

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Regarding the statement about how Trump stabbed Kurds in the back in the Middle East, I wholeheartedly agree. By and large, they appear to be a very admirable people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

About five years ago during elections in Turkey a lot of people showed up to vote absentee at the Turkish Embassy near Harajuku, and a melee ensued between Turks and ethnic Kurds. Several Japanese policemen were also hurt trying to break up the fight, which was filmed and broadcast on TV. I think since then Kurds have been more circumspect as they don't want to wear out their non-welcome.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/turks-kurds-clash-japan-turkey-elections-151025194639100.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 the guy broke many traffic regulations and didnt comply with police and try to speed away to avoid taking responsibility....

Police said he did, but did he? Did the police show evidence of his unlawful actions? I do not see that in the article... Every patrol car is equipped with a drive recorder. Did they give this recording to the newspapers? No, why not? Maybee it does not show what they say and you're prepared to trust their word without any evidence? I wouldn't!!!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Why on earth would any refugee pick Japan as their first destination?

You think refugees are given a choice like when you book your honeymoon at JTB ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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