politics

Tempers flare in Diet over state secrets bill

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This has to be the biggest step backwards of any advanced country in the world.

With this law in place, ANYTHING they want to cover up, they can.

There will be no way to object to any government action or decision.

Abe wants to take Japan back to the totalitarian regime of the 1930's.

34 ( +37 / -3 )

And this is Japan that likes to present itself as a shining beacon of democracy in Asia ? Shame on LDP.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

Following the Snowden and Manning revelations nations around the world are forcing their governments to rein in the special powers they were afforded during the knee-jerk days following 9/11. Meanwhile, Japan gleefully marches in the opposite direction.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

@MiuraAnjinDec. 06, 2013 - 08:14AM JST

Following the Snowden and Manning revelations nations around the world are forcing their governments to rein in the special powers they were afforded during the knee-jerk days following 9/11.

Really? News to me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Come come, The US has a 30 year time limit as opposed to the proposed 25 year limit for Japan. Nothing new here!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Abe has argued that the measure is necessary to plug a notoriously leaky government machine, which prevents chief ally the United States sharing intelligence.

America won't share its intelligence, even after this Bill becomes Law?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

This has to be the biggest step backwards of any advanced country in the world.

While this law is very discouraging, the 'patriot act' easily takes the dubious distinction you mention.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Good to see the Opposition finally wake up, but all too little and too late unfortunately.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

A protest is set for 6PM tonight outside the Diet. If you live in this country and care about the future please show up.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Abe should step down.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Just an outsider looking in, but I think a large part of the problem in Japan, is that the media is not actively going after the politicans in regards to presenting the news. They are too worried about falling out of favor with the politicans and missing out on some type of subsidy that they will not report on anything that makes them look bad. The USA used to have a media that held politicians at bay, not not really anymore.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

You have to love Abe's completely vague attempt to calm the masses. "I'll form two new groups to decide what state secrets are" means absolutely NOTHING. It's going to be anything the government doesn't like, plain and simple, and now we're going to have to pay through taxes yet two more unnecessary groups to steal our rights. Japan is becoming more and more like China every day, ironically. All of these people protesting will after today face potential charges thanks to this new bill. My guess is protesting what the government wants will fall under 'national security threat'.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

This will hark Japan back to the dark age.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Come come, The US has a 30 year time limit as opposed to the proposed 25 year limit for Japan. Nothing new here!

Due to the vagaries of the bill, "secrets" can in fact be kept indefinitely

1 ( +4 / -3 )

In the papers a few days ago. Secrecy law protests ‘act of terrorism’: LDP secretary-general Citizens demonstrating against the controversial state secrets bill are committing “an act terrorism,” according to Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba.

In a blog post Friday, he wrote: “If you want to realize your ideas and principles, you should follow the democratic principles, by gaining as much support as you can. I think the strategy of merely shouting one’s opinions at the top of one’s lungs is not so fundamentally different from an act of terrorism.”

Japan becoming like china indeed, yet they could be so much much more. Unfortuately the general apathy of the bulk of the population will sit by and let it happen. Power corrupts. Gambare nippon!!!!! These guys are having a laugh.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Alphaape - Japans press club system of journalism is designed to keep the people in the dark about anything that really matters. A supposedly, free and democratic country, it ranks an abysmal 53 in terms of press freedom according to Reporters without Borders. After this secrecy law is rammed through youll be able to collect your morning newspaper in the fantasy section of the bookstore.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The Japanese people all need to stand up in protest right now? The Government knows this is impossible as they are all too busy with their noses to the grindstone and impossible for individuals to stand up and lead others out. It is indeed a sad day for Japan. Unfortunately the whole world is heading this way towards total Government control of everyone and everthing, which in the end will be its own destruction as people will eventually revolt en mass only for the cycle to eventually repeat.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

not just in Japan but the US - the suppression by the govt of journalists is setting democracy in both countries back

5 ( +7 / -2 )

papers please

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A quick slide towards totalitarianism. Disgusting. Abe should get the same treatment as Guy Fawkes for ramming this abomination through.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

It's been pushed to today!?! Oh how I wish I didn't have appointments booked all day. I hope there are loads more protesters today, encouraging the opposition to keep fighting the good fight.

What the hell is wrong with the Komeito? We expect crap like this from the LDP, but shouldn't they be all alone on this?

Anyone who is free, please get over to the Diet Buildings and join the protests. Swell the ranks.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Kudos to the politicians who got stuck in. Do all that you can to stop this proposed draconian disaster in the making.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ha ha!! Haven't seen a good old 'scream and scratch' session in Japanese politics for quite a while. That's your leaders in action Japan. Obviously they are highly educated and emotionally mature individuals - NOT!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

South Korea has more democracy then Japan right now.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Will the opposition pledge to repeal this law in the unlikely event that they regain power, or is their outrage nothing but posturing for dramatic effect?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yokohamaridesDEC. 06, 2013 - 08:48AM JST A protest is set for 6PM tonight outside the Diet. If you live in this country and care about the future please show up.

Yokohamarides - thanks for the information. Where should we assemble? Im feeling it's my duty to attend.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Oh I thought Japan is a democrsy

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At least they are doing something. I sometimes feel so powerless - this is going on all around the globe right now. God, I am praying (and I am atheist) that the next generation of politicians worldwide will be of a smarter, more human breed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This law is tantamount to giving a shady character all your security codes, including bank pass codes and full credit card data, because he promises not to spend "too much" of your money.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

We need to go out onto the streets and protest! Down with Abe! Remove the Government and restore power to the people!

As Biden said: "CHALLENGE THE GOVERNMENT!"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Politicians don't care about the people. They're having a right good laugh at the apathy. This disgrace will continue until the people go down there and forcably rip those old, arrogant, elitists from their chairs and give them public lashings for their corrupt and incompetent leadership. Sorry, but this type of totalitarian shift scare the c%#p out of me and basically says the media is useless. Oh, Japan ... for shame.

Anyone overseas hiring?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How are people suppose to make informed decisions without information?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ozymandiaskingofkings - right in front of the National Diet Building at main entrance. If they try to block access, just look for other demonstrators and ask/follow them to back-up assembly point. Thanks - hope to see you..

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Would be a good time for the population to start revolting... but this probably won't happen unfortunately...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Oh dear, what's next, the Patriot Act?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is about time the masses to awaken to the risks Shinzo Abe is putting their lives to. His policies both military and economic are endangering both the country and its people. To allow the passage of this bill is as good as giving Shinzo Abe totalitarian rule and his power to ' get away with murder '. Now is the time to show him and his associates that they will not be allowed to do whatever they want at the expense of the people and country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You guys need to do everything to stop this bad bill if you want to save democracy. Freedom is not free. You need to earn it!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

About time folks wake up but I fear it is too little, too late. Where are the riots? Where are people demanding an election and Abe's head?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

good to c protesters in front of the Diet building, hope they are not being called terrorist like the previous case.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The opposition parties have to show which part of the bill is problematic They have to be more specific.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@yokohamrides: Thanks for the feed back on the J=press. Back in 2011 during the tsunami/Fukashima incident I was listening to a podcast of a US radio show and they were doing an interview with an NHK reporter that was based in LA. When the radio hosts started to ask questions about what was being put out by the J-gov, the NHK reporter pretty much said that he couldn't answer that without consulting his superiors. So I get the point and it is a shame.

In GBR, their official secrets acts sets up a 100 year time limit on secrets. Now they are scrambling to extend some secrets from 1914 since they detail the feeling in the British government were willing to let France fall and pull out of WW1, and thar would have reprocussions with some diplomacy in Europe today. Japan should just put a time limit, and redifne what is a secret (interal politics and poiicy making are probably not, but military related items are) and put a date and pass it. If they are supposedly doing so much for the public, they should not be afraid to let their work be known.

Just another smoke and mirrors from the government.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This bill is an abomination. An absolute farce. To quote Natalie Portman in "Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith". "“So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.”

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Any news? Did it pass today? What time will the Diet session end today? EVERY single Diet Member should have trouble leaving work today for the swarms of angry (but entirely non-violent) protesters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This has to be the biggest step backwards of any advanced country in the world. With this law in place, ANYTHING they want to cover up, they can. There will be no way to object to any government action or decision.

False. The article mentions only that information related to "defense, diplomacy, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism" may be designated as state secret information. That is in no way akin to "giving a shady character all your security codes, including bank pass codes and full credit card data", as you hysterically suggest. Nor is it "ANYTHING", or "any government action or decision" .... its just the top secret stuff that average schleps like us never get to know anyway. The private business of a government going about its business. Nothing to get paranoid about.

The law allows government ministers to designate as a state secret information related to defense, diplomacy, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism.

See? There it is. I bolded it up for you. I suggest if you don't like this trend toward protecting state secrets (cause all countries have them and all countries want to protect them) that you blame idiots like Snowden and Manning for blabbing what they knew and forcing governments to close loopholes with laws like these.

Abe wants to take Japan back to the totalitarian regime of the 1930's.

Ridiculous. But if you really think that, isn't it about time for the clever among us to start the exodus?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Ridiculous. But if you really think that, isn't it about time for the clever among us to start the exodus?

Aaaaand there it is. As constant as the Northern star. "If you don't like it, leave". What a most predictable non-argument.

Unfortunately, Masako Mori herself has admitted that matters concerning nuclear power would be covered by this bill. Guess what that means? 1) No more embarrassing news about the horrific shambles in Fukushima, and b) all the other power stations up and running quick sharp, following "Safety Reviews" which we, the people are no longer permitted to scrutinise. If the Party tells you 2+2=5, Winston...

This is a one-way ticket down a very steep hill.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

hidingout,

Can't see the problem? I "bolded it up" for you.

Abe said the government intends to set up panels to provide checks and balances in the process of defining a secret. But opponents say nothing is written into the legislation and government-appointed panels are in any case unlikely to rule against their paymaster.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Another Singapore!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Aaaaand there it is. As constant as the Northern star. "If you don't like it, leave". What a most predictable non-argument.

Not what I said. I merely made an observation that if this legislation does = a return to fascism, as Wooster keeps on saying, then the prudent among us would take that under advisement. We all know what happened to the gaijin under the regimes of the 30's.

nothing is written into the legislation

Except that it does relate only to items of national security and not to the contents of Wooster's bank account. C'mon you people are making it sound like the governments all over the world don't have things they need to keep confidential for various reasons. Imagine a rogue JSDF officer disclosing a bunch of information to the communists. There has to be a way to investigate that kind of conduct and clear laws to present against the accused in court.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

it does relate only to items of national security

If it's secret, how does anyone know what it refers to? If Abe decides that something detrimental to his re-election is an item of national security, how is anyone going to say Nay?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

cleo,

If it's secret, how does anyone know what it refers to? If Abe decides that something detrimental to his re-election is an item of national security, how is anyone going to say Nay?

EXACTLY!

Whatever dirty dealings Abe and his crew want to do, bribery, corruption, kowtowing to the American overlord, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING comes under this unbelievably repressive "law."

Anti-Henoko = "Terrorist!"

Not in agreement with TPP = "Subversive!"

"What's this HUGE entry in your bank book?"

"State Secret, terribly sorry!"

This is WORSE than the Patriot Act.

At least the PA is kind of specific.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If Abe decides that something detrimental to his re-election is an item of national security, how is anyone going to say Nay?

Of course the possibility exists for the legislation to be misused. But is it really so different from the kinds of laws that already exist in other countries?

For example the UK has an Official Secrets Act and at one time most of the Commonwealth adopted the same law. Canada for example opted out of the Official Secrets Act and replaced it with the more politically correct sounding Security of Information Act. End result of the legislation is still the same. The Security of Information act covers such vaguely worded "crimes" as "wrongful communication of information" and "receiving a code word". I suspect you would not be happy with that law either.

Still I take your point. We cannot depend on the government to act ethically at all times. I'm sure you will agree though, that those concerns are a long way off from people saying we need to storm the Diet.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Do a google and see what is it like when this type of bill is pass.

Singapore has it ISD, Mr Chia has been in Prison for 32 years without trial.

SINGAPORE: Chia Thye Poh long time prisoner of conscience is honored ...

Mr. Chia Thye Poh, a recipient of this year's LLG Spiritual Award, will be going to receive the award which will take place on Sunday 18 December 2011 at 10am at the ... www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-205-2011

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Just got back from the demo. There are thousands of people there, young and old, businessmen, housewives, students, pensioners. An entirely peaceful, albeit quite noisy protest. It's probably going to be on for a good few hours yet, so if you're in the area please go and make your voice heard.

It may be your last chance. If this law gets passed, protestors are automatically classified as terrorists, aren't they, Mr Ishiba?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

We will not be able to talk about political problem. We can't criticise the ruling party. We can bash it within some hours.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Face TowelDec. 06, 2013 - 10:36PM JST

We will not be able to talk about political problem.

With this, all who challenge the government on JT will be treated as terrorists. Sad Japan is filled with incompetent politicians.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This bill - that I totally disagree with - is unfortunately still peanut with regard to Big Brother's agency NSA for the US and the world (I try to keep focus on so-called democracies).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It passed. A dark day for Japan and democracy.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well it looks like we can look forward to good news from Fukushima from now on.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Another brick in the wall"

-1 ( +1 / -3 )

NOTHING But a bunch paranoid readers here and posters. I totally agree with this post!!!

The article mentions only that information related to "defense, diplomacy, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism" may be designated as state secret information.

Again as hiding out posted this well it has nothing to do with having access to a persons shady character security codes, bank pass codes and full credit card data", most of the paranoid here suggest.

Well Said hiding out " Nor is it "ANYTHING", or "any government action or decision" .... its just the top secret stuff that average schleps like us never get to know anyway". The law allows government ministers to designate as a state secret information related to defense, diplomacy, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism.

Well said Hiding out!!! "All countries have them and all countries want to protect them"

TOTALLY AGREE! It is the very same people that blame idiots like Snowden and Manning for blabbing what they knew and forcing governments to close loopholes with laws like these.

Japan need to protect their secrecy from lessons learned in the past. I wouldn't be surprised if half of the posters here are moles themselves spreading this disinformation. I say this because technology has changed over the years electronic media is the fast way to disseminate misinformation. The Japanese Red Army is still alive and well and if anyone of the posters don't have one clue about their history then I suggest they go read about them and then they will get a clear understanding.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The prospect of harsh penalties for Snowden-style whistleblowers and their reporter associates has prompted concern outside Japan. Reporters Without Borders accused Japan of "making investigative journalism illegal".

It said in a statement: "How can the government respond to growing demands for transparency from a public outraged by the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident if it enacts a law that gives it a free hand to classify any information considered too sensitive as a state secret?"

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, accused Japan's government of imposing the legislation with little public debate. "They should not rush through the law without first putting in proper safeguards for access of information and freedom of expression as guaranteed in Japan's constitution and international human rights law," she said.

The law reflects a decline in Japan's standing as a protector of the free press. In the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index for 2013, it dropped 31 places from 2012 to a new low of 53rd out of 179 countries.

-1 ( +0 / -2 )

Absolutely. If it gets Abe kicked ignominously out of power, great. If it loses the LDP power again next election, even better. The DP now have the opportunity to return to power by promising to repeal the bill

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dictator state are on the way, no different from communist state. Japantime.

On the eve of the contentious state secrets law getting the official nod, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba waded into the fray Wednesday by saying journalists could be punished for reporting state-designated classified information, only to backpedal slightly.

“It is legal to obtain the information. But if reporting state secrets threatens our national security, common sense tells me reporting will be somehow restricted,” Ishiba said at the Japan National Press Club.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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