TOKYO (AP) — A proposed state secrecy law in Japan that imposes stiffer penalties on bureaucrats who leak information — and journalists who seek it — is spurring a public outcry, with opponents blasting it as a heavy-handed effort to hide what the government is doing and restrict press freedom.
The public’s top concern is that the government won’t say exactly what it wants to make secret. Critics say the law could allow the government to withhold information about whatever it wants and ultimately undermine Japan’s democracy.
The ruling party says the “secrecy protection” law, which the lower house of parliament could vote on as soon as Tuesday, is needed to allow the United States and other allies to share national security information with Japan. Along with the creation of a U.S.-style National Security Council in his office, it’s part of an effort by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to beef up Japan’s role in global security, and make a more authoritarian government at home.
The moves are welcomed by the United States, which wants a stronger Japan to counter China’s military rise, but they raise fears in Japan that the country could be edging back toward its militaristic past, when authorities severely restrained free speech.
“My biggest concern is that it would be more difficult for the people to see the government’s decision-making process,” said Kyouji Yanagisawa, a former top defense official who was in charge of national security at the Prime Minister’s Office from 2004-2009. “That means we can’t check how or where the government made mistakes, or help the government make a wise decision.”
The bill allows heads of government ministries and agencies to classify information related to defense, diplomacy, counterintelligence and counterterrorism, almost indefinitely.
Japan’s secrecy law: Blacking out Fukushima nuclear information?
On November 5, 2013 Taro Yamamoto, an opposition MP, expressed his concern that the proposed secrecy law would limit access to information such as one regarding nuclear power plants.
Also, he revealed that the Japanese government has recently disclosed information regarding Japan’s nuclear exports to Vietnam in response to his request – almost all of them blacked out.
Above is an excerpt from the video below:
H25.11.05 参議院 内閣委員会(山本太郎の質疑あり)
Banners read “Don’t take away our freedom”…
Dozens of Texas drivers were stopped randomly, forced to surrender blood, saliva and breath samples….
Source/posting credit: RT.com
Photo credit: Reuters/Issei Kato
Article link: http://rt.com/news/japan-secrets-bill…
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