politics

Thousands protest against tough new official secrets law

49 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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49 Comments
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Well said superbird1. I'm amazed how quickly people jump to completely baseless conclusions. I won't say speculation is all bad, but in the hands of the paranoid, it's an ugly thing indeed.

Japan has every right to defend itself, and as a resident, I'm glad that the government is adamant about doing so.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Ron BarnesNov. 22, 2013 - 07:48PM JST

There is a Question I would like to ask is Japan preparing for war again as that is what countries do when tightening up their security of secrets act. The people living in Japan are entitled to be told the Truth on everyday matters, With the exception of items of national security.

The first person on this thread that actually makes sense. You do not need to know everything people! And chances are you wont. It's no different in any other country. Also, if you wish to place blame on anyone, then place it where it belongs. On Japans neighbors! All the hate mongering. Expressions of dissatisfaction at everything Japan does, not to mention the constant incursions in it's territories, and military buildup. Say what you want, but at some point you have to start protecting your own interest's.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Based on speculation and interpretation of trends... activities enjoyed by people who like to think for themselves.

Speculation and trends? You say "thinking for yourself". I say "Baaa baaa", Speculation without facts is only enough to convince the weak minded. Like saying the Jews were responsible for Germany's problems? Ring any bells? Look what happened when that convinced enough of the population. Congratulations on being ripe for propaganda and the exact opposite of what you claim to be.

Fingerprinting foreigners after 9/11? It was done well before that, and to Japanese citizens too. I'm not that comfortable either but it's not racist if it applies to everybody.

And you're going to call the practice ludicrous after how the US reacted?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese Skull and Bones version coming 2 decades after American version.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

looks like all old people protesting. I guess younger people are too busy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@reformedbasher

Based on?

Based on speculation and interpretation of trends... activities enjoyed by people who like to think for themselves.

Scaremongers and wearers of tin foil hats...

If I had to choose between being a 'tin foil hat wearer' or being a 'bend-over', it would really be a no-brainer.

On a more serious note... Japan used 9/11 as a (ludicrous) excuse for fingerprinting foreigners. So it's not surprising that it's using the the current world situation as an excuse for keeping its incompetent (or worse) activities secret from its citizens.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is a Question I would like to ask is Japan preparing for war again as that is what countries do when tightening up their security of secrets act. The people living in Japan are entitled to be told the Truth on everyday matters, With the exception of items of national security.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some people in Japan are more equal than others.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

We can thank blabbermouths like Snowden and Manning for laws like this. No country wants their dirty laundry aired in public ... and if you think there's a country on this planet without dirty laundry you are dreaming. The solution then (in the minds of government) is to make it illegal to air the dirty laundry. Much easier to prosecute blabbermouths.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hey I'm wondering if there is some culturally blindness here. Japanese politicians don't act as politicians in west and I think that the same goes for much of the people compared to peoples in the west. Heck not even the politicians in the west act the same. Just compare italy and germany. The difference could indicate a different political space. Thus demonstrations with riots and police brutality may not be necessary in Japan. However a stronger habit to debate politics and a few degrees stronger political engagement may be needed for the population in general, at least if they are to reflect the democracy in the US. These kinds of statements from the government and and following debates is exactly what the opposition needs to revise themselves and become a serious contender again.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Unfortunately, protects here will not make a slightest difference as long as protesters obediently and quietly stay where the cops tell them to. As mentioned above unless people get fired up, politicians will just utter a phrase or two about " careful consideration of the issue" and do just what they want anyway. If protests couldn't get really fired up here after the Dai ichi reactor debacle what chance do they stand this time...they will just quietly fizzle out without any effect. Sad but true and completely predictable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This attempt at legislation may very well be a blind, while other even more insidious legislation takes place under a screen of double speak. The U.S. is dealing with the potential repercussions of a law that allows the U.S. government to shut down all Internet activity if it considers a threat deadly enough. Better hang onto your CB radios, people.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I guess my country screwed up in a sense when we gave them a democracy without anyone overseeing their progress. They never knew what was a democracy. They have always been told what to do by their government In everything. Even now, there isn't any real leadership. Yeah, they have always looked to the U.S.,(mainly white people here) on what to do and how things should be, but i think that is changing, which is why they are somewhat going back to their past ways. Or maybe they always had that in mind. But I think its going to start to repeat again. Someone should have come here after writing their constitution and give them clear guidance and instruction. But that being said, democracies have their flaws to when you get idiots and corruption in power, not only governmental power, but media power also. It just controls the people to do crazy things. and crazy people are going to do their best to do crazy things.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Satirists say the three monkeys at Nikko betray the Tokugawa Shogunate's dictatorial policy line that ordinary people must be prohibited from seeing, saying and hearing the truths about the powers that be.

Secret protections law may work in the democratic, citizen-centered U.S. (or does it?) but certainly not in Japan with a streak and history of authoritarianism. Any Japanese who experienced the Second World War knows how harshly the government silenced antiwar voices and made all the nation to toe the policy to go to war against the U.S.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is the stuff I like to see. It confirms that Japan is maturing as a democracy. Unfortunately a lot of people has strong daily regimes of routines that is not easy to break. But it is a start. This may attract attention and then engage more and more people in to discussions on policy and politics. Indeed Tokyo could rally massive demonstrations over time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Of COURSE the people need to be lied to more and spied on in order to be protected!

This is just sick. In any case, the government will no doubt promise to be 'transparent', promise that no one need worry and should feel safe, and ultimately when the truth is revealed anyway they'll bow and ask for 'cooperation and understanding'"

the J-govt wants to keep what secret? If they are refereeing to Fukushima, the radiation condition, they can forget about that one its all over youtube that Japan is headed for a serious catastrophe...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It seems with every step this government takes it reduces the rights of the citizens. The simple freedom of speech freedom of press is going to be stretched to it's limits or for better sake of words abolished.

The Constitution of Japan does give the freedom of press the freedom of speech this law, the way I see it, goes completely against the Japanese Constitution.

This is a sad day but it's really sadder day will be the day it passes....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In government, it is transparency that matters more than secrecy. It prevents internal corruption which is more dangerous than external threats.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"1984" author George Orwell will roll in his grave if this secrecy law gets passed.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Zichi, Good to see you back. You are one of the most informative commenters here, and your comments tell me more than the main article in many cases!

Anyway good to see Japanese people protesting something important...just wish the number were 10 times higher.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sh................................. Japan did not invade Southeast Asia. The Nanjing Massacre never happened. Anyone who says otherwise will be prosecuted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scaremongers and wearers of tin foil hats...

Re-education camps? Seriously?

Fingerprinting Japanese nationals will only be a matter of time along with body searches,x-rays,iris recognition and as much biometric data that can be captured,will be.

Based on? Some official has actually come out and stated this as upcoming policy?

(Oh, fingerprinting! Well, you wanted equal treatment, why are you complaining?)

Come on, you guys are hilarious.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Sad that they may never know what real democracy is like.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The truth and freedom of the press needs to come out

Freedom, yes, but never look to the news if you want the unvarnished truth. The news services do not exist to provide you with information, they exist to earn a profit. They don't hesitate to color or bend, or even lie outright to make stories more sensational, so as to increase readership and viewers, which in turn leads to more advertisers and more money. "If it bleeds, it leads" as they say. And those orgsnizations who work for profit are less bad than those non-profits who are run by ideologues, and who bend the truth or lie outright to promote their idiotologies, be they left or right.

One of the news organizations' greatest concerns about the new secrecy laws are these laws will affect their bottom line.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"A nation of well-informed men, who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them, cannot be enslaved." -Henry Stuber

"They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Shhh be careful a stream like this could be seen as decent and a way of compromiseing state security. What is needed is a system of re-education centres that both promote love of country and install a healthy love for ones leaders. I was just told Mr Abe got 18 holes in one! That is amazing he must be special.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Most of you are overreacting. Changing from 1 year imprisonment to 5 years is nothing compared to death sentence in China. I am sure countries of those who are critisizing here have also tougher punishments. Do you know Japan has long been called "Spy Paradise" because of lack of this law? Abe is simply trying to make Japan like other countries but still a long way to go.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I don't like the way Abe is leading this country. Most people in this country just don't care until it's too late. Gestapo anyone?

I just had to say this, because, who knows, tomorrow I might get into trouble for doing so.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Democracy the Japanese way. It seems that every agreement or pact either international or domestic comes with its own Japanese clauses and adjustments. It's not democracy. It's socialism.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

So so so wrong, means Abe can lie to people and now get away with it. The truth and freedom of the press needs to come out

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Protests won't make a blind bit of difference with regard this issue.

Control the media, control information, control education. Have a tighter grasp of these things and you control people. As I said before, the LDP don't want to lose power again.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I oppose any new secrecy law, there should be no domestic policies or plans which should be kept secret. On the other hand, some secrecy is necessary in the fields of defense, research, and technology.

What is ironic is that getting news or information in Japan on many issues is difficult, because the press itself seems to be strongly influenced by business and government. When the Olympus scandal broke out, those in Japan had to get the news about it from the BBC and US news services because the Japanese press would not report about it.

Japan is a strange place,

7 ( +8 / -1 )

SCARY!

With a questionable arbitrary judicial system and an already weak media counter power, this open the door to any kind of abuses from the politic power.

As some already mentioned, it is shocking not to see all students on strike and in the street to protest. Poor herbivores!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

People dont need to know about everything.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

"Protests won't make a blind bit of difference."

Placid protests certainly don't make a difference. They need to get more fired up, which the Japanese used to do until the 1970s on a regular basis. That would make Abe and others take notice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Protests won't make a blind bit of difference.

Abe's lot are going to do pretty much what they want now. Losing power to the DPJ was a wake up call for them and they won't want that to happen again. (See the report about the last election being unconstitutional but not illegal etc.)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Of COURSE the people need to be lied to more and spied on in order to be protected!

This is just sick. In any case, the government will no doubt promise to be 'transparent', promise that no one need worry and should feel safe, and ultimately when the truth is revealed anyway they'll bow and ask for 'cooperation and understanding';.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Welcome to the next chapter of 1984 now in Japan. Prepare for re-education camps to come next.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

He only has to look at the USA where rights and freedoms have eroded to the point of disappearance.

While that is true, America does have the Freedom of Information Act?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

“This law is absolutely unacceptable. We have a right to know everything,” said Akio Hirose, a 54-year-old transport worker. “After all, we are the voters.”

If only Mr Hirose were correct and it was the that the system really allowed the will of the people to influence our social fabric but it is not.....

He only has to look at the USA where rights and freedoms have eroded to the point of disappearance.

Abe seeks the same path-Japan has already adopted the 'war on terror' where fingerprinting foreign nationals has been in effect for 6 years without a single case of terrorism being brought before the Japanese courts!

Fingerprinting Japanese nationals will only be a matter of time along with body searches,x-rays,iris recognition and as much biometric data that can be captured,will be.

If the law is passed it will apply to all those in Japan. It has been said that only journalists and civil servants will be subject to this law but this is nonsense.

Since the nuclear disaster the current Japanese administration has sought to quash 'baseless rumors' yet have not had a draconian law to do so.Imagine a world where talking about cancer will be subjected to the the provisions of a law on 'national security' and 'official secrets' In effect the state will own your life-it will be impossible to share private information with others as the state will sanction it!

The other side of this is the current economic situation. The so called Abenomics is having the effect of making the cost of living higher without raising the standard of living. The Japanese are becoming poorer. How poor will they become? Who knows but there will be dissatisfaction and rebellion-who knows what form that will take?

However, draconian laws are certainly one way of quelling dissent.

In a democracy the rights of the people are upheld. In a totalitarian state they are not.

Where the state seeks to govern and repress the people by secreting and suppressing information then the future looks bleak.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The Iron Heel is upon us.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This is another example that shows how subservient the Japanese government is to the U.S. Tokyo is merely acting according as Washington dictates what do do.

This is another example that shows how subservient the Japanese population is to the Govt. They are merely acting according as the elite power players dictate what do do.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

This is another example that shows how subservient the Japanese government is to the U.S. Tokyo is merely acting according as Washington dictates what do do.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Some of my Japanese friends have posted about this on Facebook for the past month or so, and they usually garner no likes and maybe one or two comments. Then they'll post a photo of their cat and get 100 likes and 50 comments. I don't know if Japanese people are indifferent towards this or just prefer to keep it all bottled up inside, but I'm happy to see some people attending the protest. Given tokyo's population I wish the number was more like a million though. What Abe is doing is down right scary.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

As tension with China and North Korea increases the Abe cabinet is strenghtening the US-Japan military alliance. Under the current framework of the Japanese system, sensitive information has leaked in the past. (Aegis Combat System). A framework to prevent leakage is being sought. I can understand that they are trying to tighten the management of information relating to foreign security but to pass the secrets act now is rough-and-ready.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"Do the Japanese care? Do they even know?"

Did you even read the article? That is why there are protests That is why it is in the news

because

people care

9 ( +10 / -1 )

A massive scaling back of democracy and increase in the power of the state over the individual and only a few thousand turn out?

Do the Japanese care? Do they even know?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Demonstrations won't work.

The American masters have spoken.

If you thought the USSR was bad, the totalitarian regime is just around the corner.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If I am reading the summary of that piece of legislation correctly, and I'd like to think I am, it would probably imply journalists could be tried for subversion of state should they report anything that is uncomfortable in the slightest to the Japanese/Abe government. That it will be abused is not a question of "If", but "When" and "How much".

20 ( +20 / -0 )

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