On December 6 the controversial law, Act on Protection of Specified Secrets, passed the both Houses. Critical voices have been raised from various sectors representing people’s concerns, but the ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito pressed the Houses to approve the law, neglecting opposition. It is a military law in combination with establishment of the National Security Council, which was set up on December 4 with a purpose to carry out the right of collective defense banned by the Constitution. People began to stage struggles to abrogate the law immediately after enactment.
CANCEL LAWS INTENDING TO UNDERMINE CONSTITUTION BEFORE PRESENTED TO THE DIET!
‘What is a secret? It is a secret.’ The so-called secrets protection law has too many defects. It not only deprives people of the right to know and shuts down their eyes, ears and mouths, but also it will lead the society to darkness in which tipping should be encouraged and people should doubt one another and watch others as a spy.
This party organ Shinshakai has warned about illegitimacy of the state control over personal information for long since the days when the Basic Network for Residents’ Registration was implemented and stressed risks in the campaigns to oppose the My Number Act (the nationally-unified code system for individual citizens, whose bill was enacted this year). In the course of developments the party organ anticipated a next step to come from the government; a law to hide state secrets. We had warned readers to stage campaigns so that the bill could not be put on the Diet agenda.
Unfortunately our efforts failed to discourage the worst law. The New Socialist Party (NSP) waged sit-in protest for five days to raise awareness of people in front of the House of Representatives building during the session. In the end of the extraordinary session of the Diet social opinions in favor of abrogating the law rose to a high extent. The NSP has made modest efforts in the campaigns and party members are firmly determined and confident to keep struggling to scrap the law.
State power will not give up
The state power has been tenacious to enact the Act on Protection of Special Secrets. In 1972 the then-Premier Sato Eisaku told ‘it is necessary by any means to have a law to protect confidential information and that is my theory’, referring to the Nishiyama Incident*.
In 1978 the then-Premier Fukuda Takeo emphasized necessity of such a law. Afterwards a social trend has grown noticeably to this initiative. In the following year some proponents of the LDP set up an organization, called People’s Council to enact Espionage Prevention Law. The ruling party announced a third-round of draft text for the bill to prevent espionage, to which a death penalty was inserted in addition.
In 1985 the Nakasone government attempted to submit a bill to the Diet as a Cabinet law, but it gave up because it faced severe reactions from most of mass media. The LDP presented it as legislation from lawmakers to the House of Representatives. However, all the opposition parties, including the Socialist Party, adamantly blocked the bill, and some of the LDP members, including Tanigaki Sadakazu, who is currently Minister of Justice, opposed it. The bill was dismissed in the end of that year.
Later, however, in 2001, in relation with the Special Law on Terrorism, the Self Defense Forces Act employed statutes on defense-related confidential information. The new rules have in part similar effect contained in the abandoned bill on espionage prevention.
In 2011 under the Kan government of Democratic Party of Japan, a controversy again emerged in the name of a bill on secrets preservation. It was a time when a video film leaked from the Coast Guard on the collision of a Chinese fishing boat with a Japanese patrol boat. Now, the Abe government has authorized the law in the military context.
A bill to suspend the Constitution
In July last year the LDP, when it was an opposition party, announced a draft on the Basic Bill for National Security, the party’s pledge in the election campaigns for both of the Houses. The text means practically to amend the Constitution: it specifies establishment of national defense forces and people’s obligations to defend the nation in the same way as in the secrets protection law.
The LDP led by Premier Abe is planned to submit in the coming session of the Diet bills to practically suspend the Constitution. Struggles are urgently needed to prevent Diet presentation. They include one for conspiracy relevant to the Act on Protection of Special Secrets and another to amend the wire-tapping law.
December 17, 2013
＊A journalist, Nishiyama, disclosed secret information held in the Japan-US negotiation over Okinawa through an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.