Thursday, June 15, 2017

Japan's New Anti-Conspiracy Bill Passes, Generates Criticism/Controversy and Echoes State Secrets Politics

It looks like Japan’s new anti-conspiracy law will go into effect. The Asahi Shimbun describes how debate and voting on the bill were impacted by an “interim report,” described in the article as “a procedure stipulated under the Diet Law to omit voting at conventional committees”:
UPDATE: Diet enacts anti-conspiracy legislation after hastening vote. June 15, 2017, The Asahi Shimbun,

Despite objections at home and from abroad, the Diet on June 15 enacted anti-conspiracy legislation that allows law enforcement authorities to arrest and punish people even in the planning stages of a crime.

With the support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, junior coalition partner Komeito and opposition party Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), the bills, which revise the law on punishment of organized crimes, received 165 votes in favor, versus 70 against, in the Upper House plenary session in the morning. The Lower House passed the legislation on May 23.

But to pass the bills in the Upper House, the LDP and Komeito used an “interim report,” a procedure stipulated under the Diet Law to omit voting at conventional committees.

Four opposition parties criticized the ruling parties for using this procedure that ended discussions at the Upper House Judicial Affairs Committee.
I don’t fully understand the mechanics of the interim report but the net effect was to allow the bill to move forward, effectively changing the way crime is defined in Japanese law, at least, according to the Asahi account cited above:
Japanese law enforcement authorities have been able to arrest and punish people only after they have committed crimes. The anti-conspiracy legislation enables them to do so even if a crime has not been committed. Opponents have said current laws already have stipulations that can punish the act of preparing such crimes as terrorist acts, and warned that the new legislation could lead to a surveillance state and trample on human rights. (source )
See also:
Protesters fight to the bitter end against Abe’s conspiracy bills. (June 15, 2017) The Asahi Shimbun.
The procedures used to pass the controversial bill were singled out for criticism by a UN Special Rapporteur, as reported by Reuters:
Linda Sieg (June 14, 2017). Japan ruling bloc pushes through anti-conspiracy bill despite privacy concerns. Reuters, 
Japan's ruling bloc enacted a law targeting conspiracies to commit terrorism and other serious crimes on Thursday, pushing it through parliament's upper house despite concerns over civil liberties. The vote followed opposition party delaying tactics, protests and concerns raised by a United Nations expert - who called the legislation "defective" - and came days before the current session of parliament was set to end on June 18.
I’ve noted previously that the entire conspiracy bill scenario reminds me sharply of the controversy and method of passing of the state secrets bill:
Majia's Blog: Japan's Proposed Anti-Conspiracy Bill Echoes Politics of ...
Majia's Blog: Japan's State Secrets Law Goes into Effect
Majia's Blog: Snowden Alleges Japan's State Secrets Law Was ...
Majia's Blog: Japan on Way Down Slippery Slope of Fascism
The consolidation of executive power and the dis-assembling of liberal rights is not restricted to Japan as we can see these operations in the US, Europe, and other regions that claim status as liberal democracies.


  1. Nuclear Leaks: The Back Story the NRC Doesn’t Want You to Know about Palo Verde

  2. THANKS for the link. here is an excerpt
    As described in a recent All Things Nuclear commentary, one of two emergency diesel generators (EDGs) for the Unit 3 reactor at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station in Arizona was severely damaged during a test run on December 15, 2016. The operating license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allowed the reactor to continue running for up to 10 days with one EDG out of service. Because the extensive damage required far longer than 10 days to repair, the owner asked the NRC for permission to continue operating Unit 3 for up to 62 days with only one EDG available. The NRC approved that request.

    Around May 18, 2017, I received an envelope in the mail containing internal NRC documents with the back story for this EDG saga. I submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for these materials, but the NRC informed me that they could not release the documents because the matter was still under review by the agency. I asked the NRC’s Office of Public Affairs for a rough estimate of when the agency would conclude its review and release the documents. I was told that their review of the safety issues raised in the documents wasn’t a priority for the NRC and they’d get to it when they got to it.


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