Videos show dozens-strong assembly in middle of downtown shopping district.

For just about the entire summer, protests have been going on in Hong Kong over a piece of proposed legislation called the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. In simple terms, the bill would allow for the extradition of wanted people to mainland China, and residents who oppose its ratification see it as an erosion of the measure of political autonomy that Hong Kong has retained since the handover of the territory to the Chinese government in 1997, following 156 years of British rule.

On Saturday, Japanese Twitter user @nL3VDM59Y1DAfrl posted a video recorded outside a department store, where an anti-extradition protest was being held. However, a larger contingent of counter-demonstrators, waving Chinese flags while singing, “March of the Volunteers,” the Chinese national anthem, also showed up.

The gathering might not seem so large, as some of the protests in Hong Kong have been so massive that they’ve closed down major downtown streets. However, the scale of the political demonstration in @nL3VDM59Y1DAfrl’s video, and also in the videos below, feels much more significant when you learn that they aren’t taking place in Hong Kong, but in Japan.

The skyscraper seen in the background is the Marui Department store in Namba, a neighborhood right in the center of Osaka. While the entertainment complex boasts a large number of shops and restaurants, plus a move theater, it houses no political institutions, but this was still chosen as the venue for the demonstration with dozens of participants, including at least one elementary-school-age child.

“This is Japan…? I think I’m going to pass out from shock,” tweeted the above video’s uploader, and many other commenters were similarly startled.

“This is happening in Namba? Why?”
“Let’s have our political demonstrations in front of the embassy or consulate.”
“Please don’t have foreign political demonstrations in Japan.”
“Have political demonstrations in your own country!!!”
“This is a noisy nuisance.”
“Isn’t it a visa violation to enter the country to have a political demonstration?”

In regards to the last comment, it’s not apparent whether the demonstrators are in Japan as tourists or as residents, though even in the case of the latter, some schools prohibit participation in political activities by foreign attendees as a condition of their student visa.

While political demonstrations aren’t unheard of Japan, it’s worth noting that most of the time, they’re held in or around political institutions, such as the National Diet Building in Tokyo or prefectural government buildings in prefectural capitals (of which Osaka is one), so it’ a little hard to see how the demonstrators in the videos expect blocking the sidewalks and loudly singing at people on their way to shopping or home from work is going to help them achieve their desired their political outcomes in a dispute between two parts of an entirely different country.

Source: Twitter/@nL3VDM59Y1Dafrl via Jin, Twitter/@suzutaro18
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!