Japon: The Shibuya mayor and Nike Corporation will convert a public park into a Nike Park that will mean forcibly evicting homeless people.

The Shibuya mayor and Nike Corporation will convert a public park into a Nike Park that will mean forcibly evicting homeless people staying there as well as depriving the general public of the use of the park unless they pay some fees for the use of sports facilities.

34 homeless people livining in tents in Miyashita Park (Tokyo, Shibuya) are faced to be evicted as the below, because the city is currently moving ahead with plans to fully renovate Miyashita Park and make it Nike Park. This is a issu of not only homeless evicition but also of comercialization of public spaces, i.e. the poor people are socially excluded even from public spaces. We organized to establish “The Coalition to Protect Miyashita Park from Becoming Nike Park” from varying backgrounds. Our NOJIREN (Shibuya Free Association for the Right to Housing and Well-being of the HOMELESS) is an organization of this Coalition. Please deliver the following statement of this Coalition to your friends and add your name (organization or personal) to this statement of protest.

With solidarity

Peter Shimokawa.
The Coalition to Protect Miyashita Park from Becoming Nike Park

We, volunteers from varying backgrounds, have come together to protect
Miyashita Park from a plan that would turn it into a Nike park. Currently,
the city is moving ahead with plans to fully renovate Miyashita Park, adding a skateboarding area and a cafe, without even notifying local residents and park frequenters. After the renovation, a fee will be charged for use of the sports facility and, it has been explained, part of this fee will be used to cover maintenance costs. The investor providing all 450 million yen of the project costs is none other than the sports apparel and accessories maker, Nike Corporation. Thus, changing the park’s name to Nike Park has become part of the plan. It is estimated that Shibuya-ku will receive approximately 150 million yen over 5 years for the naming right.

We oppose the plan to make our park Nike Park for the following reasons:

1) According to the renovation plan, Miyashita Park will be converted to a
park expressly for sports enthusiasts. This means that a highly public space which people have been able to freely and actively utilize up until
now will be turned into a commercial space for the profit of one business.
Persons who do not pay for using the park as a service, will be unable to
even rest at the park. This will surely have a negative impact on society
at large and generally the way in which people come together.

2) For many years, Miyashita Park has been known as a space where many citizens’ groups hold gatherings, or as a starting and ending point for local marches and events. Also, it has stood as a life-saving place where many persons forced to live on the streets can stay. This plan would unquestionably deprive groups and individuals of a space for their freedom of expression, and for their daily lives.

3) This project has been forced onto the ward by Shibuya’s mayor and a number of assemblypersons in a top-down manner. Neither the ward assembly nor the city planning council has been consulted, and almost no information can be found in materials that have been made available to the public. Also, we would like to know how Nike came to be involved in this. Nike is a corporation that gave rise to the grave problem of child labor in a number of Asian countries, with reported instances of management beating and/or molesting workers. It is highly doubtful that Shibuya-ku has undergone democratic processes so as to adequately reflect the will of ward residents with regard to this plan.

We ask for as many people as possible to add their names to this statement and raise their voices.

Persons wishing to add their names to our statement should send fax or email (given below) as soon as possible with: your individual name or the name of your organization, and whether you wish to remain anonymous or not.

Please understand that names that are not anonymous may be publicly viewable when the petition is distributed or posted to the internet.
Persons opting for anonymity will be represented in documentation only by their total number.

The Coalition to Protect Miyashita Park from Becoming Nike Park
Fax : +81-3-3406-5254

Email: miyashita@riseup.net

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