Japan. Tokyo Social Forum

2 February 2010 by Yoko Akimoto

How many participants found that the venue was a historical site where the first declaration of Independence of Korea contributing to March 1 Independence Movement was announced in 1919? Possibly, some, but exactly, the Korean YMCA in JAPAN situated in central Tokyo, also turned out to be a meaningful and significant place to alter-globalization movements in Japan.

Participants came in groups of twos or threes from early morning on, finally amounting to approximately 300. The fourteen workshops covered biodiversity, food security, financial crisis, currency transaction tax, public services, public contract ordinances, food sovereignty, agriculture, free trade, climate change, gender, Middle-East, capitalism, poverty, have-nots, labor, union movements, migrants, Security Treaty and Okinawa, peace and media. Following music performance of folk songs in Amani Island near Okinawa by MABURI (standing for soul locally) in the evening, the plenary session with the theme “Ten-years WSF - Twenty-years neo-liberalism: Our response to crisis” had three keynote presentations by Kenji Ago, Professor of global economy & illegitimate debts at Seinan Gakuin University, on “Thinking neo-liberalism from a perspective of developing countries”, Mami Nakano, Attorney at Law and Representative of the Network for Addressing Issues of Dispatch Work, on “Deepening employment instability and neo-liberalism” and Yoko Akimoto, Secretariat of the Organizing Committee of Tokyo Social Forum and ATTAC Japan, on “Ten-years WSF continuing to challenge for another world”, and discussion with intervention from the floor.

There would be no denying that participants talked, discussed, mulled and enjoyed a lot with various opinions uttered or sometimes clashed at each session. The Tokyo Social Forum with a main slogan of “Get together, Talk, and Go! - Another World is Possible!” ended successfully in spite of quite much lower attendance than in Porte Alegre. To be honest, there was no clear conclusion on our alternatives to crisis, however, all of us were convinced that we grasped a sense of Another World is Possible!, its way, and its process.

The process of Social Forum or method of struggle through Social Forum is still on in Japan. The Tokyo Social Forum will be followed by the Osaka Social Forum in March this year, with much expectation.



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