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Proposed anti-conspiracy law stirs civil rights concerns in Japan

14 Comments
By Linda Sieg

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Legal experts, however, say the vague phrasing suggests that civic groups opposed to government policies could be considered “organised crime groups” if they are found to be preparing for illegal actions, such as plans by activists opposed to U.S. military bases blocking roads to construction sites.

THis is being used as an example to portray the anti-base folks as being criminals. However , it should be used on groups like the guys who drive around in the black vans "fighting" to restore the Emperor to power, or groups like Adelph, and any and all hate groups, are better example of conspriacy.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

A Chinese traveller to Japan when asked what he thinks is the best thing about Japan, he answered instantly it is a freedom of speech. We take it for granted but not everywhere in the world.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is a dangerous law, as far as I have read and seen, this might actually give LDP the right to arrest opposing government groups. Said in another way, they are allowed to arrest you if you are not voting for LDP.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

To me... legislation such as this needs to have an expiration date. Try it for 3 to 5 years.... if the Govt uses it to suppress normal anti-govt activities such as anti-taxes, anti-war, anti-whatever.... then it should not be renewed. Also, I do not believe the Govt should use this law outside of terrorist related activity.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Just lock everybody up, and wiretap them to find out which people have sufficiently correct viewpoints to be released. Meanwhile, staffing the prisons would provide employment.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's easy (especially in times of crisis) to give up rights we shouldn't take for granted but it's extremely difficult to get those same rights returned to us.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan seems to be moving into the same direction of North Korea with some of it's law proposals

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If the Supreme Court is okay with government surveillance of a religious group, this law is superfluous; it's already happening and no matter how many 'lefties' complain, LDP opposition will be targeted. Of course, 'rightfies' should complain too because, technically, 'righties' want less government and less government interference in their lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is a known lefty

You say that like its a bad thing! I'll take a "lefty" over a radical, rightwing, revisionist hack like PM Abe any day.

Who cares about nutty laws in America? This is Japan, and if you think similar laws elsewhere are wrong, one would think Japan would want to not do what the rest of the world is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

More than a decade after an initial attempt failed, Japan wants to enact legislation to penalise conspiracies to commit crimes such as terrorism but critics say such changes would give police power to trample civil liberties.

No. It is the US that wants Japan to enact a law to punish conspiracy.

Liberal Democratic Party-led governments have tried three times to enact such legislation since the United Nations adopted a Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime in 2000. But outcries from lawyers, activists and media scuppered the bills.

The UN convention in the article has been pushed almost solely by the US.

A crime goes through the stages of idea, preparation, attempt, accomplishment. Japanese criminal law punishes preparation stage and thereafter. US wants Japan to punish idea stage. I am not sure if Americans are aware of what their country is demanding. Are they comfortable with thought-crime?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

This is just Japan following master's orders like they did for My Number. The faux threat of terrorism justifies every removal of what little freedom we have left.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Chinese traveller to Japan when asked what he thinks is the best thing about Japan, he answered instantly it is a freedom of speech. We take it for granted but not everywhere in the world.

And you never know, if they pass this vague anti-conspiracy law, then that Chinese traveler might just instantly become a suspect.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

On the right track to have the "crime of thought". Fascinating how Japan, a country which consider the Yakuza an association of criminals not illegal and entitled to have their office registered, is now using that one time Olympic event to push all their security agendas, almost like it is the whole purpose to host the games..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Meiji University law professor Lawrence Repeta

Is a known lefty who can be counted on for sound bytes of the type appearing in this article. That's OK, but how about a counter opinion from legal specialists who can compare the proposed conspiracy law with what North American and European countries have? Also, since a UN convention is mentioned, how about something about how the proposed law is or is not in conformity with the UN convention?

Japan is frequently criticized for being slow to adopt domestic legislation that supports UN conventions. Typically lefties cite UN conventions as something of a gold standard for what Japan should be doing. Why not in this case?

Further, it is perhaps worth noting that most of the infamous Class A "war criminals" were charged with "conspiracy to wage aggressive war" and that the US has now and frequently uses a whole range of laws based on a very vague notion of conspiracy. It will be interesting to see if supporters of this law point to US examples in order to justify a Japanese conspiracy law.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

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