Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: Reuters
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Japan protests against U.N. privacy expert's queries on conspiracy bill

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By Linda Sieg

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Bungling old men trying to defend the indefensible. Protesting the expression of legitimate concerns.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Japan on Monday protested against a letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from a U.N. independent expert raising concerns that planned legislation targeting conspiracies to commit terrorism and other crimes could allow police to trample civil liberties.

This is getting orwellian. Japan is now protesting the UN's concerns about its human rights?

The protest by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga drew a stiff rejoinder from Joseph Cannataci, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to privacy, who blasted Suga's comments as "angry words" with "no substance" in an email to Reuters.

See? Its not just the posters on here. The UN High Commissioner is expressing concerns- not only about the bill, but also about the Abe regime's handling of any questions or concerns.  I'm sorry, but this has the making of authoritarianism all over it.

He asked Abe for information on the accuracy of such concerns and the compatibility of the draft law with international human rights norms and standards.

What's so unreasonable about that??

The content of the May 18 letter from Cannataci was "clearly inappropriate and we strongly protested," Suga said.

Who the hell are YOU to tell the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner that their content is inappropriate?! Suga has lost it.

"It is not at all the case that the legislation would be implemented arbitrarily so as to inappropriately restrict the right to privacy and freedom of speech," he added.

Right. We're supposed to take your word for this??

Unless and until corrected on any point of fact, I stand by every single word, fullstop and comma of what I wrote to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," Cannataci wrote in his email.

Good on you! Please do! This regime has lost it.

"There is absolutely no justification for the Japanese Government to behave in this way and push through seriously defective legislation in such a rush."

Exactly.  Unless, of course, its aim is to turn Japan into an absolute authoritarian state.

The lawyers' group has expressed concern that ordinary citizens would be targeted, despite government assurances to the contrary, and that the crimes governed by the law include acts unrelated to organised crime or terrorism.

That's exactly what's going to happen.

A Kyodo news agency survey published on Sunday showed voters are split over the controversial bill, with support at 39.9% and opposition at 41.4%.

Huh? What about the other 20%?

Take note people.  When the UN itself starts to express concerns about the human rights bill in your country that in effect will negate in the future any claim Japan can make publically that it respects human rights.  The UN should pull Japan on this and no longer allow leaders of Japan to proclaim at the UN general assembly that they are a nation that respects human rights. Not after this.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Ah, poor old Japan. Those pesky foreigners are sticking their noses into Japan business again. Japan will never understand that, it is not the center of the earth. It is a little island and only separated by a few hundred kilometers of ocean.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

He asked Abe for information on the accuracy of such concerns and the compatibility of the draft law with international human rights norms and standards.

"Unless and until corrected on any point of fact, I stand by every single word, fullstop and comma of what I wrote to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," Cannataci wrote in his email.

"There is absolutely no justification for the Japanese Government to behave in this way and push through seriously defective legislation in such a rush."

Thank you Mr Joseph Cannataci for monitoring and being a watchdog on international human rights, urging the Japanese govt to explain its position to the world on that matter, this bill is dangerous. Refreshing to NOT see a general apathy for a change.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Someone has got to rein Abe in before he does any real damage. He's beginning to look like Mr Kim up North~

9 ( +13 / -4 )

"It is not at all the case that the legislation would be implemented arbitrarily so as to inappropriately restrict the right to privacy and freedom of speech," he added.

Dixit Mr Suga... this would have more weight if not coming from a govt which does not hesitate stepping on its own constitution, "re-interpreting" any text at will and using their two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament to force bills on the population with the only goal to please military and fascism expansion, time for them to understand that Action implies Reaction.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Welcome to the Nippon Kaigi and cohorts fascist regime.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Dont question us or we will stop paying our UN membership fees as per our newly revised manual for dealing with pesky international bodies.

SIncerely

Shinzo and Yoshi

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Dont question us or we will stop paying our UN membership fees 

Ahahaha! Don't joke about it (sarcasm). They already did that with UNESCO so who knows?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I think we would be better served with anti-conspiracy bills which apply to politicians. In a society were the people are supposed to be the masters, and the politicians the servants, we are slowly moving toward the opposite. Instead of being served, we are increasingly being ruled. This cannot be permitted.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It's funny (actually, not at all) how they can push through bills that erode human rights so fast, when all we can get are 'thinking about forming a panel to think about reducing Japan's slave labor market.

We have very much arrived at a kind of 1920's totalitarian Japan again. The world was too slow to react to it last time... looking like the same thing is happening this time, too.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The problem is the two-thirds majority in both houses the LDP controls. This is much more dangerous than people think in that a bill doesn't really even need to be debated to pass

4 ( +4 / -0 )

unstopable abe's big ego will see him severely telling off the UN. probably at this very moment, he has his clan drawing up a far-reaching list of sanctions against the UN and all its member states.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The self appointed political elite are not used to being questioned, Japan walked out of the League of Nations ( first UN). Because no one understood the complexity (bizarre) way of dealing with (self entitled old grumpy men) Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How many people have bothered to search for the offending letter? Here it is:

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Privacy/OL_JPN.pdf

To be honest, regardless of the merits of the bill, the letter is fairly devoid of merit. For example, the guy's first complaint was:

Concerns were raised that such an important part of the law (referring to the "277 crimes") is part of an attachment to the law since it makes it much harder for citizens and experts to understand the actual scope of the provision.

First, this is hard to rebutt on a "point of fact", because the fact argued is not "It makes it hard to read" but "Someone said it'll be hard to read". As long as one person, anywhere in the world, regardless of his IQ or other qualifications or the merit of his argument, mumbled that concern, this would be unimpeachable.

On the merits, this is an absurd claim. Has he actually checked the readability of real articles that use the "inline method" on large numbers of referenced articles? I have, here is an example:

"3. An enquiry shall be carried out: 1) on the criminal cases on the crimes, pointed out in Articles 112, 115 and 116 and in the first part of Article 117, in Articles 118, 119 and 121 and in the first and the second parts of Article 122, in the first part of Article 123, in Article 125 and in the first part of Article 127, in the first part of Article 150, in the first part of Article 151, 151.1, in Articles 153-157, in the first part of Article 158, in the first part of Article 159, in the first part of Article 160, in the first part of Article 161, in the first part of Article 163, in the first part of Article 165, in the first part of Article 166, in the first part of Article 167, in Articles 168 and 170, in the first part of Article 171, in the first part of Article 171.1, in the first and the second parts of Article 175, in Articles 177 and the first and the second parts of Article 180 , in the first part of Article 181, in Articles 203 and 207, in the first part of Article 213, in Articles 214 and 218, in the first part of Article 219, the first part of Article 220, the first part of Article 221, the first and the fourth parts of Article 222, the first and the fourth parts of Article 223, in Article 224, in the first part of Article 228, 228.2, 228.3, in the first part of Article 230, the first part of Article 231, the first part of Article 232, in Article 233, in the first and the fourth parts of Article 234, the first part of Article 240, in the first part of Article 241, in Articles 242, 243245, in the first part of Article 250, in the first part of Article 251, in first part of Article 252, in Article 253, in the first part of Article 254, in Articles 256-258, in the first part of Article 260, the first part of Article 261, in Article 262, the first part of Article 266, the first part of Article 268, the first part of Article 294, in Article 297, in the first part of Article 311, in Article 312, in the first part of Article 313, in Articles 314, 314.1, 315 and 319, in the first part of Article 322, by the first part of Article 322.1, the first part of Article 323, in Articles 324-326, in the first and the third parts of Article 327, in the first part of Article 327.1, in Articles 329 and the first part of Article 330 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation"

And I'm pretty sure there are not 277 articles in there (the special part of the entire UK RF is only about 260-280 articles) Is this really better than putting it into an Annex?

I can go on, but let's just say, I can really understand the Japanese government's viewpoint and anger at the poor preparation shown by the rapporteur.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

The UN a foreign organisation is questioning, where are the people the said law changes

will affect ? They are nowhere to be seen or heard.

I know , they are busy watching food programs.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Although I can not agree with what is going on in Japan..., how is it really any different from Republicans in the US doing what they do or any other government when they have the majority of the people on the far right in power, but only the minority backing them?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

While I am strongly against the conspiracy bill, I do not think UN has the right to intervene in the law making process of an independent nation.

Joseph Cannataci, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to privacy,

Here he is. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Privacy/SR/Pages/SRPrivacyIndex.aspx

A UN special rapporteur is not a UN official but an "independent expert" who is allowed to submit a report to the UN. His report has not been reviewed by anyone.

His web page shows his mandates, which, of course, does not include intervening in law making process of another country. He is clearly acting on his personal capacity using the pretense of an UN rapporteur.

Here is his letter in question. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Privacy/OL_JPN.pdf

It is based on "according to the information received", without specifying what "the information" was and who provided "the information."

He goes on to say,

While I do not wish to prejudge the accurary of the information

Please provide any additional information and/or comments you may have on the accuracy of the above-mentioned allegations.

to show he is not so confident of "the information." 

Why can he be so arrogant as to say,

"Unless and until corrected on any point of fact, I stand by every single word, fullstop and comma of what I wrote to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," Cannataci wrote in his email.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Disillusioned Today 08:52 am JST

Japan will never understand that, it is not the center of the earth. It is a little island and only separated by a few hundred kilometers of ocean.

It sounds quite like white supremacist, doesn't it?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Can we have a public debate on the matter and all the bill's clauses to be published in a national newspaper?

Then can we have a referendum so that all the Japanese people can vote ?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

kurisupisu Today 01:39 pm JST

Can we have a public debate on the matter and all the bill's clauses to be published in a national newspaper?

The proposed bill is here. http://www.moj.go.jp/keiji1/keiji12_00142.html

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@CH3CHO - Thanks for the link. Not sure why kurisupisu was voted down. This sounds like quite a draconian bill worthy of open debate. It is one thing to take necessary steps to protect the public and the nation but it appears this legislation goes beyond that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The content of the May 18 letter from Cannataci was "clearly inappropriate and we strongly protested," Suga said."

Sorry, Suga, but the "shoganai" attitude to suppression doesn't extend overseas, nor does the desire to silence criticism.

The best part is how much more attention these clowns draw to themselves -- the opposite of what they want -- when they try to protest the reaction by protestors who KNOW the bill and things like it are wrong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Joseph Cannataci, U.N. special rapporteur's one of main points was, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Privacy/OL_JPN.pdf

The principle of legal certainty requires that criminal liability shall be limited to clear and precise provisions in the law, ensuring reasonable notice of what actions the law covers, without unduly broadening the scope of the proscribed conducts. The "anti conspiracy bill" in its current for m does not appear to conform to this principle given that its vague and subjective concepts could be interpreted very broadly and lead to legal uncertainty.

Japanese proposed law

遂行を二人以上で計画した者は、その計画をした者のいずれかによりその計画に基づき資金又は物品の手配、関係場所の下見その他の計画をした犯罪を実行するための準備行為が行われたときは、当該各号に定める刑に処する。

Two or more persons who plans a crime shall be punished according to the following clauses, if one of them prepares for the said crime by procuring money or material for the crime, looking at the venue of the planned crime or other acts.

US law

§371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

I think Japanese proposed law is no more vague and subjective than US one.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Conspiracy law for counterterrorism" is doubtful.

Conspiracy law will be modern version of pre-war crackdown.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@kuri I can't understand why anyone could downvote your comment. @CH3 gave a link to something, but how does a 70 year old farmer find it, read it and understand all the jargon? To change the constitution there has to be a public debate with a wide range of voices, followed by a referendum.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Aly Rustom Today 08:49 am JST

This is getting orwellian. Japan is now protesting the UN's concerns about its human rights?

Yes, and the UN is being hypocritical. Because the origin of all this, the "Convention against Transnational Organised Crime" is a UN instrument. In essence, the UN is telling Japan to implement the conspiracy bill and NOT implement it at the same time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Goodlucktoyou Today 05:00 pm JST

@CH3 gave a link to something, but how does a 70 year old farmer find it, read it and understand all the jargon?

You mean 70 year old Japanese farmers are uneducated? I think they fully understand what is written, if the text were presented. One of the good think about Kanji is that jargon is self-explanatory when written in Kanji.

Remember, 41% of Japanese are against the conspiracy bill and 39% are for the bill.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes, and the UN is being hypocritical. Because the origin of all this, the "Convention against Transnational Organised Crime" is a UN instrument. In essence, the UN is telling Japan to implement the conspiracy bill and NOT implement it at the same time.

No the UN expressed concerns regarding the wording. And not only them.

Critics including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations have also warned the changes, combined with a recent widening of legal wiretapping and courts' reluctance to rein in police surveillance powers, could deter grassroots opposition to government policies.

Its the wording of the bill that allows the LDP to turn Japan into a fascist nation all over again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Aly Rustom Today 12:50 pm JST

No the UN expressed concerns regarding the wording. And not only them

In essence, the only way to satisfy Mr. C's doubts is to not have the conspiracy bill, because no matter how you word it, you are still giving the government the power to get people at an earlier, fluffier, less certain stage than the General Part of the Criminal Law allows.

Its the wording of the bill that allows the LDP to turn Japan into a fascist nation all over again.

The wording of the bill is already conservative and tries to not make the new conspiracy charge an all-encompasser. As CH3CHO already pointed out, the wording is no worse than the US law, and the US law doesn't even try to restrict conspiracy to criminal organizations or terrorist groups.

And as yet, the Criminal Procedure is not having new changes.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In essence, the only way to satisfy Mr. C's doubts is to not have the conspiracy bill, because no matter how you word it, you are still giving the government the power to get people at an earlier, fluffier, less certain stage than the General Part of the Criminal Law allows

that's BS. What he said was the security bill does not to be rushed through, but only the right wing wishes to see it rushed through because then that would give them blank the powers over everyone.

The wording of the bill is already conservative and tries to not make the new conspiracy charge an all-encompasser.

The wording of the bill is very vague and as many Japanese lawyers have stated it is open to abuse by a right-wing fascist government.

As CH3CHO already pointed out, the wording is no worse than the US law, and the US law doesn't even try to restrict conspiracy to criminal organizations or terrorist groups.

if your benchmark of freedom, democracy, and human rights is US law, that's pretty low. The Americans dropped two atomic bombs on you. They are holding human beings illegally in Guantánamo Bay.

Mr. Shimazaki, May I suggest you try to raise your human rights standards a little bit more? The United States is hardly a benchmark.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 blank the powers over everyone.

excuse me. I meant blanket powers

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Aly Rustom May 24 09:37 pm JST

What he said was the security bill does not to be rushed through, but only the right wing wishes to see it rushed through because then that would give them blank the powers over everyone.

First, whatever the merits of this bill, it was not "rushed through". If Mr. C had even so much as bothered to check even frigging Japanese Wikipedia before opening his big mouth, he would have realized the bill has been proposed on and off for over a decade. Japan has signed the darn convention in 2001. Japan is already in year 17 or so of trying to pass a conspiracy bill with the first proposal in 2004. Rushed is not the way I'll be using to describe it.

The wording of the bill is very vague and as many Japanese lawyers have stated it is open to abuse by a right-wing fascist government.

No, it cannot be limited to a terrorist group because that's not the demand of the original convention. Further here is what the proposal says:

その他の組織的犯罪集団(団体のうち,その結合関係の基礎としての共同の目的が別表第3に掲げる罪を実行することにあるものをいう。次項において同じ。

It not only has to be a group of persons whose common purpose is to carry out the crimes enumerated in Appendix 3. It makes an additional attempt to limit by saying it has to said common purpose has to be the "fundamentals" of the association (結合関係).

And no new powers have been granted to the police since the Criminal Procedure Code is not being altered. And what do you think they do NOW to the people they feel should be watched? Well, they watch them!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First, whatever the merits of this bill, it was not "rushed through".

Yes it was. And only a few days ago, Abe refused to even discuss the contents.  This was reported HERE as well, so please don't go there

If Mr. C had even so much as bothered to check even frigging Japanese Wikipedia

I think a UN official has better sources than friggin Japanese Wikipedia

before opening his big mouth, he would have realized the bill has been proposed on and off for over a decade.

Yes.  And it was shot down EVERY time! Gee- I wonder why??

Japan has signed the darn convention in 2001. Japan is already in year 17 or so of trying to pass a conspiracy bill with the first proposal in 2004. Rushed is not the way I'll be using to describe it.

Of course. NONE of Abe's cheerleaders would describe it that way, but that is exactly what it is.  A rushed proposal that Abe knows is not popular. He's taking a page out of the US playbook about how to ram unpopular proposals through. And only the likes of Makoto Sakurai support that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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