If you happened to have been around the west exit of Shinjuku Station last week, you might have seen this poster hanging around. In it we can clearly see a photo of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe done up to look like Charlie Chaplin in the film "The Great Dictator." Around him are the words “Take back Japan” and “Prewar.”
The main body of the poster reads:
National information is unilaterally concealed. What is kept secret is secret. Why it’s kept secret is also secret. It can also remain a secret and be thrown away. The information will be public 60 years later (after the people involved die). The people holding the secret themselves, their family and people close to them are all being watched. Those pursuing the secret will be tossed into prison. Whistle-blowers are sent to 10 years in prison. That is the “State Secret Bill.”
Following it is an image of what appears to be Abe standing in a tank arms akimbo with a speech bubble that reads “To a ‘glorious country!’”
The bill which the poster alludes to was put forth recently as part of a long-running effort by the Japanese government to establish some form of confidentiality protection legislation. Various attempts have been made in the past to grant the government more powers in keeping information secret, but each time have failed for violating “the people’s right to know” which is guaranteed in the constitution under “freedom of expression.”
Nevertheless, certain lawmakers have been looking for ways to boost national security and prevent incidents such as a spy in the Self-Defense Force in 1985 or the leaking of a video in 2010 which showed a collision between a Japanese Coast Guard ship and a Chinese fishing boat in the area of the Senkaku Islands. Japan’s poor record of withholding information has led former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to once remark, “Japan is spy heaven.”
In this latest attempt at legislation, the Abe government is emphasizing that a certain degree of confidentiality is needed for security. However, beyond domestic issues the Ministry of Defense added that Japan’s “information gathering security measures are not solid” and that this is causing other nations such as the United States to refrain from sharing information with Japan for fear of it being easily leaked.
The state secret bill is currently in discussion and the people of Japan appear divided over the issue with some calling for improved security during increasingly provocative actions around East Asia. Others such as the maker of the poster above see the bill itself as an act of provocation and a way for PM Abe to more easily push through his own hawk agenda.
One thing is for certain, however. The toothbrush moustache isn’t any closer to making a comeback.
Sources: Twitter, MSN Sankei News
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