Aki Okuda, Nobukazu Honma & Mana Shibata
Members of SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy)
Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 13:00 - 14:00
On August 30, Tokyo saw its largest ever demonstration, according to NHK News, which showed tens of thousands of people from across the generations condemn the government's new security legislation. Among the strongest presence at the protest were students from SEALDs.
Launched on Constitution Day (May 3rd), Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) has staked out a position as a leading opponent of the security bills. Analysts say the reemergence of Japan's largest student movement since the 1960s is a response to the government's attacks on transparency and accountability.The students say they have been spurred into action by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's disregard for the constitution, and for constitutional democracy itself. They are skilled media communicators, with a clear message aimed at the foreign press – placards and notices in English that proclaim "Give Peace a Chance.”
But what exactly are their long-term aims? Will the movement run out of steam once – as expected – the bills pass into law at the end of this month? And what, exactly, have they achieved after weeks of protests and yelling on Tokyo's streets?
Three of the students have agreed to come to the Club to discuss their movement and answer these questions. Their decision to appear before the media should not be taken lightly. They have already been attacked by the right online and some predict they have jeopardized their chances of employment by their decision to fight the government's stance on this key issue.