The governing Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito coalition has rejected demands from opposition parties for revisions of the bill, according to the Asahi Shimbun, which also claims that the ruling coalition is able to pass the bill in the Diet without amendments, even if the opposition parties vote against it. While I understand the need to project information of national security, this bill appears to a means of preventing the Japanese population from being fully informed and of punishing those who try to report important information. I agree with ARTICLE 19 that Japan's National Diet should reject the Special Secret Protection Bill. Japan needs to ensure that information deemed secret is strictly limited and used only to protect a legitimate national security interest. Also, whistleblowers and journalists must not be prevented from reporting information in the public interest that is not proven to put national security at risk. Read more at ARTICLE 19 or the Japan Subculture Research Centre....Considering the huge amount of opposition to this bill, the ruling party inserted a clause, which says that “there will be due consideration given to people’s right to know and journalists’ right to research and seek information.” However the seeking of information will have to be done in an “appropriate manner,” (正当な行為) and it is questionable and unclear by who and how will this “appropriate manner” be determined. As a result of some deliberation within the Diet committee, it was decided that the courts would make the fundamental decisions and the individual targeted could be subject to arrest and interrogation before a case is even brought to court. In effect, the law will work as presumed guilty until proven guilty...
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Japanese Special Secret Protection Bill accused of violating international standards on freedom of expression
Human rights organisation ARTICLE 19 has called for the Japanese National Diet (Japanese Parliament) to reject the pending Special Secret Protection Bill which is currently being debated. ARTICLE 19 claims that under the Special Secret Protection Bill,whistleblowers face up to ten years imprisonment with no possibility of any public interest defence and that journalists can be prosecuted for revealing classified information even if they are able demonstrate that it is in the public interest. The human rights organisation also claims that the safeguards in the bill are unsatisfactory, and that the definition of protected information is too vague. According to the Japan Subculture Research Centre, people will not know what is classified as a "special secret".