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Japan is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues. Do you believe governments should be able to withhold information in the in

23 Comments

Japan is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues. Do you believe governments should be able to withhold information in the interests of national security?

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Governments are there to represent their people.

How can there be representation if a government conducts its business behind closed walls?

This is just one step towards tyranny.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

No.

Government assets - physical and intellectual - are the property of its citizens.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I voted no, but I strongly believe that the Japanese government already does this anyway, especially regarding Fukushima, TEPCO, radiation, and the nuclear industry in general. Not to mention how exactly all the relief funding has actually been spent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Depends on what the information is and whether it (truly) affects security, welfare, etc.

For example, the public have the right to know what's going on at Fukushima, but they don't need to know classified information used by the defence forces.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is a complex issue, and I think that this survey trivializes a serious issue by trying to present it in black and white.

Police investigations into crimes are "secret" because it is hard to build a case while some reporter is tweeting about every single piece of evidence you have gathered. I don't think that even the most liberal individual would support making police investigations open to the public... yet these are government employees engaged in work we pay for, and they're working towards national security.

On the flip side though we can see governments concealing evidence of their own crimes and wrongdoing, and this is clearly wrong and not how this loophole was intended to be used.

I think the solution should be simple. Any citizen who uncovers evidence of a crime should automatically be exempt from any prosecution for how they obtained the information. Standard whistle-blower protocol.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well I checked no,

but really it depends on the secret. There's a certain amount of stuff that should be left to people who can do it. Like, obviously, our strategy for the war is start here and go there, kind of stuff should be a secret.

But how much money goes to which spy agencies, what they use the money for, of course, how many spy angencies there are in the first place, where they are active and how they are active, should really be in the open. Unlike the US which has layer after layer of secret organizations running things.

Really the more open the better.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In a Utopian world, then "No" there should not be a need for state secrets. But in the REAL world, governments have to have state secrets. The leader of Bismilliah does NOT need to know that the leader of Shananapolis thinks he is a pretentious, preening fop. The Snowdens of the world would have the two countries at each others throats in the interest of "not having state secrets".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As others have pointed out, this is not a valid yes/no, either/or question.

It completely and totally depends on what the information is. If it's that the PM wears Sailor Moon undies and sleeps with a Hello Kitty nightlight, who really cares? That's not a state secret. But if it's the recipe for an antibiotic-resistant strain of the Black Plague, they heck yeah! That needs to be kept under lock and key, hidden away until they need it to figure out how to combat said plague.

There are precious few valid, binary questions. Most (99.99999%) black & white issues are actually a wide variety of grey.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The poll is not a good one. Here's why:

I voted "yes." Because governments should be able to withhold information in the interests of national security. I doubt anyone here doubts that.

What I and all those who doubt is whether the information that governments withhold is really a matter of "national security." We've all seen powerful men use that as an excuse for personal aggrandizement, pig-headed policies, and a blanket for covering up these two.

That is the problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Depends. First, they cant be trusted and second, they are collecting everyones data so it`s out of control.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They've already been doing it in Japan for decades so I can't see the big deal. What is the difference between lying and not disclosing the truth? Government policy?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

YES! governments can and should withhold information in the interests of national security. Stronger government, Stronger Nation.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

purethebetterOct. 29, 2013 - 08:14PM JST YES! governments can and should withhold information in the interests of national security. Stronger government, Stronger Nation.

... says the person who's so attached to his nation that he's living in a different one.

Irony much?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

At first I thought, yes, governments should be able to do this if 'national security' is at stake. But then I realised that national security could just mean some politicians worried about there own arses (but they call it a national security issue!). After all, what does NSA stand for?!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It all comes down to trust.

Friends don't need to spy on each other.

Friends don't need to have secrets from each other.

Governments are supposed to represent their people.

Not lead them.

Or spy on them.

People who demand secrecy have something to hide.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I checked "no".

The problem is that "the interest of national security" is a vague term, and can be used to go well beyond what most reasonable people would consider national security issues.

The government is supposed to be in the service of the people, who are nominally it's masters. As such, the government cannot and should not take any action, overt or covert without the direct knowledge of the people or their direct representives, who are supposed to act in the best interest of their constituents.

For the past few decades we have ceded more power and responsibility to our governments, and the roles have gradually begun to reverse, with the governments becoming the masters, and the people becoming nameless subjects who have an increasingly smaller voice. As a result, the government has become immune to the wishes of the people, and does what it wants.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you are going to build a military, you need a state secrets act. So it sounds like the government is planning to build a full scale military. Considering how bad Japan is at repelling cyber attacks, this too will need to be a secret. So basically the government trying to return to Japan to the late Taisho era. The question is if this will lead to something similar to the early Showa period.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course the question frames the answer.

Under the nebulous rubric of national security - men in black can visit you in the night, put a black hood over your head and render you to a distant land and put electric clamps to your genitals.

Under the vague banner of national security - you can be taken to a black site and be stripped of any rights or privileges.

Under the shallow spectrum of national security you can conduct targeted assassinations, that may include the death of any unfortunate other human happening to be in the same vicinity.

Under the nebulous rubric of national security - there is absolutely no accountability for the state when mistakes get made and the decision making process or whether the actions or truly just or in just are never known.

Under the shallow rubric of national security - the government can lie which we know all governments do to protect themselves. Under the nebulous rubric of national security newspapers simple become amplified speakers from an elite few rather than watch dogs for the public good.

Under the banner of national security a citizens rights merely become a privilege and those who are under the immunity protection of corporations (think Olympus for one) can never be held accountable for their actions.

Under the false banner of national security - corporate strategies and state initiatives are harmonized. The secrets of TEPCO lay buried forever - except for the fate of our children.

Once focused on eradicating dangerous or difficult populations on the fringes of Western power, under the nebulous banner of national security the line between citizen and jihadist gets increasingly blurred.

Freedom of the press once ensured that government were careful to maintain a modicum of responsibility and respect for its people. The lies, corruption and public betrayal that will come of such a law that strives to silence truth will put but another nail in the coffin of our eroding democracies.

Make no mistake Abe is messenger of Japan's dark future. Like Hitler and Mussolini whose initial populist appeal imploded into regimes of oppression, Abe envisions Japan's citizens as Ardent's simple animal laborians, human capital that can be manipulate to serve state/corporate interest.

Without a 'free' press (and even in Japan this concept is rather dubious given the nature of their ties corporate and state interest), politics and corporate accountability will move in ever more surreptitious ways.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Government is tyranny to begin with. One cant provide consent to government when one doesnt have the option to refuse the government. Giving government extra power - in the form of 'secrets' will just make the abuse that government enacts on the average person, even worse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I cannot answer this with a simple yes or no.

The government should be able to keep secrets within reason. That means a few secrets yes, but many, many secrets no. But this privilege will always wind up grossly abused. So much so in fact, I wonder if its better in the end to not let the government keep any secrets at all, and weather the damage of a no secrets policy.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I cannot answer this with a simple yes or no.

ControlFreak, you basically do answer the question as asked with a resounding "Yes". You agree that governments should be allowed to keep secrets in circumstances of national security - you state this in your second sentence.

To all those who answer "no", I would ask whether this means that all state and police security documents should be in the public domain at all times. If you have suspected terrorists under suveillance, should there be a public website detailing exactly who is under surveillance and for what crimes? This would either tip off the suspected or lead to mobs assualting the innocent.

Should governments also publish the names of all spies and and double agents around the world, including in dangerous countries in the Middle East? Of course not - it would lead to a weakening of our security and the deaths of hundreds who put themselves at risk.

The voting seems to be more a popular response to the NSA over-stepping its authority rather than answering the question that was asked. At this time, 60% cannot distinguish the difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As-ho. Under your myopic vision the state has right to suspect everyone of being a potential criminal. The lines between privacy and liberty are delicate but when you reach into the inner sanctum of an individual they are no longer a citizen but simply bare life. No is saying that the government reveal all its police work - if in fact it is truly for the protection of citizens. However, its not about national security its about population control.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Peter Mantello, you have not interpreted this correctly. The question posed is whether the state should have secrets in the national interest. It is a blunt yes or no. It does not have any qualifiers, such as "except under certain circumstances, for a limited period of time."

The question does not ask about "reaching into the inner sanctum of an individual". That is your overlay.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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