Akihabara has seen noisy demonstrations by extreme right-wing groups demanding the expulsion of the Chinese from Japan.
The protests took the form of a small march of flag-waving demonstrators through the main Akihabara thoroughfares, though with a few hundred participants at most the rally was a far cry from earlier demonstrations in Shibuya and at the Chinese embassy.
As is often the case with small right-wing demonstrations in Japan, demonstrators were at times in danger of being outnumbered by their police entourage (although with violence at such demonstrations practically unknown this appears to be more for the look of the thing than as a real precaution) – unusually however, the guard may for once have been more than warranted as there are reports of the group behaving belligerently.
A variety of observers photographed the protest:
The group was much less mainstream than the other recent demonstrations – whereas those demonstrations were organised by “Ganbare Nippon!” with the support of comparatively well known establishment figures espousing only (strongly) nationalist policies, this demonstration was apparently organised by one of the shady extreme right-wing fringe groups known for their black sound trucks and racist xenophobia.
In this case the tone was far more shrill than anything heard at the larger events – placards read “Chinese are the enemies of humanity! The whole world hates them!”, “Chase the Chinese out of Japan!”, and the group massed outside Sofmap, accusing them of being traitors for selling to Chinese tourists.
Some of the demonstration’s literature can be seen below – “Protect Senkaku and Akihabara from Chinese invasion! Hound the traitorous merchants who toady up to the Chinese out of Japan!”
The choice of Akihabara evidently has much to do with it being a major destination for Chinese tourists – shopping is one of the major draws for tourists from China, and naturally Akihabara tends to feature heavily in this kind of travel itinerary, with there being large numbers of stores specialising in hawking duty-free electronic merchandise to largely Chinese shoppers.
Whilst the group in question is clearly less than sensible, their reasoning in targeting such stores is not entirely unsound – two of the major economic interest groups supporting Japanese appeasement of China are manufacturers with big investments in China, and the domestic tourist/retail industry, hungry for more visitors as it is.
Naturally, covering the event was out of the question for the media – reports were largely limited to Akihabara workers grumbling about the real world impinging upon their fantasy realm or the possible loss of business from annoying the Chinese.
With Chinese aggression plain for all to see and a government whose diplomatic policy towards China appears to be that of a vassal to its master, a more ideal breeding ground for resurgent Japanese nationalism could hardly be envisaged.