A large crowd of students, workers and "burakumin" - the traditional outcasts of Japan - marched in protest yesterday (23rd August) against a High Court decision not to allow a re-trial in the case of Kazou Ishikawa, a labourer controversially convicted of murder and rape.
GV: Demonstrators with flags along route watched by police in Tokyo (TWO SHOTS)
SV & GV: Police stand by road side watching demonstrators (TWO SHOTS)
SV: Demonstrators with 15 red flags marching along
SV: Police escort marchers (TWO SHOTS)
SV: Demonstrators chant songs and march (TWO SHOTS)
SV: Police push demonstrators into one group in middle of road
SV: More police move in to escort marchers
SV: Police officer watches march from supervision point
TOP GV: Police escorting marchers along road (TWO SHOTS)
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Background: A large crowd of students, workers and "burakumin" - the traditional outcasts of Japan - marched in protest yesterday (23rd August) against a High Court decision not to allow a re-trial in the case of Kazou Ishikawa, a labourer controversially convicted of murder and rape.
SYNOPSIS: Kazou Ishikawa was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of raping and killing a high school girl in 1963. But 38-year-old Ishikawa claims he was improperly treated by the police and judicial authorities because he is a member of the "burakumin" outcast group, which traditionally did work considered unclean in Japan.
The outcast system was outlawed in 1871 after being perpetuated under the Takagawa Shogunate for more than two centuries. But prejudice still remains. There are burakumin ghettos where education and welfare facilities are still bad-especially in Osaka and Kyoto. They still suffer discrimination in employment and marriage-though any policy of official discrimination is illegal. Now the radical left-wing groups, including students and workers' organisations, are backing the burakumin. Police estimated the size of the Ishikawa demonstration as around 60,000 - though others put the figure closer to 100,000 A record 28,000 members of the Burakumin Liberation League, took part in the march.
Earlier in the march several petrol bombs were thrown at the riot police by demonstrators but few of them ignited and no-one was hurt. Twelve students were arrested. The Ishikawa case has a background of violence with a radical group claiming responsibility for fire bombings in the past two weeks. They say there will be more violence unless a re-trial is held.
But the police quickly stepped in when possible clashes looked like erupting. Using walkie-talkie sets to co-ordinate the march, the riot squad escorted the march all along it's route and made sure it passed by peacefully.