A controversial bill for a law of protection of specific secrets, which might rob people of the right to know and shut up people's eyes, ears and mouth, was submitted October 25 to the Diet. One more bill, too, to establish a national security council, a copy of the US National Security Council, was put under Diet debates on the same day. They represent a series of military laws which may allow Japan to execute the right of collective defense. Let's raise people's awareness without delay to abrogate the controversial laws.
PREVENT JAPAN FROM WAGING A WAR AGAINST OTHER NATIONS - ABOLISH WAR LAWS!
'What is a secret? It is a secret.' A bill for a law to protect state's secrets contains doubts. A sphere of secret is indefinite; when a top-ranked government official designates a piece of information as confidential, it may become a secret. The coming law is too opaque. The right of people to know ensured by the Constitution will be eroded.
Public workers and relevant private sector individuals who may deal with delicate information will be screened by the government authorities, which may violate the right of individual privacy and discriminate those people. Though the controversial bill was amended by ensuring freedoms of news coverage and of press report, the revised clauses simply specifies utmost efforts. News coverage will be, without doubt, affected and threatened with punishment due to conspiracy and instigation.
As for punishment, a 10-year imprisonment will be imposed on a public worker and a private-sector person who deliberately leaks a secret and a two-year imprisonment for a person who erroneously leaks it. The same penalty will be levied on media people and civic activists, a ten-year detention. Punishment will be the same for an attempted leak as that of committed leak, 10-year behind the bars. As for conspiracy, instigation and agitation, 5-year detention will be imposed. If he/she voluntarily admits a crime and tips off, his/her punishment will be lifted off or reduced. It is a law to urge betray. A moratorium clause is absent for a 10-year imprisonment, real punishment.
Government controls Diet
Freedom of press is allegedly protected, but in fact an individual person will be punished if he/she obtains information by an act which may hinder authority's control; acquisition of objects, illegitimate access and intrusion to a controlled area for certain secrets, and etc. Every act which may damage the official control is covered. A journalist may be punished, if he/she persuades a public official who controls specific secrets and gains information from him/her.
Controversial provisions will bind the Diet and lawmakers. Information could be released to the Diet if an administrative office approves, but if a lawmaker leaks such information, he/she will be penalized with a 5-year imprisonment. That means the administrative institutes constitute the supreme authority of the state to control the parliament. This structure will shake the people's sovereignty to its foundation.
The bill stipulates that 'certain information could be shared with a foreign government'. What is defined as confidential to a Japanese lawmaker might be given to a foreign government, or that of the United States of America. It is evident that the coming law suggests incorporating Japan to the US war strategy.
Jurists on the Constitution and on mass media as well as researchers on penal codes warn, pointing out that 'the bill is a martial law'. The government wants to revive the prewar era's penal code, including the spy law and military secret protection law. The submitted bills resemble to warfare legislation to prepare a war allied with the United States.
No boundary for secrets
In a certain sense it is natural to classify military information, but boundary is vague. During the last war the authority prohibited to locate military bases and factories. It suspended weather reports. In the final period of the war news was hidden on an earthquake which occurred in the southeastern region of the country and destroyed military factories.
Democracy should seek more disclosure of information and enrich the right of people to know rather than shrinking the rights of people and weakening the Diet.
Our struggles to abrogate these worst laws mean a battle to prevent the country from staging a war against other countries. The nation's future depends on our struggles.
November 5, 2013