JCP calls for wider collaboration to scrap secrets protection bill
October 19, 2013
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo issued a statement on October 18, calling for collaboration among people to block the passage of a secrets protection bill intended to deprive the general public of their right to information.
The statement points out that the bill endangers the public's right to know and the freedom of speech and expression, thus undermining fundamental principles of the Japanese Constitution. It also points to the bill's aim to turn Japan into a war-fighting country by controlling information with the use of state power.
At a press conference in the Diet building, Shii listed some problems about the bill: the administration arbitrarily determines the scope of state secrets and the public cannot even know what kind of matters are kept secret; by giving offenders a heavy punishment up to 10 years in jail, it threatens the right to know and press freedom; and it restricts the Diet's legislative power and administrative investigation rights which are guaranteed under the Constitution.
"Under the law, if someone at a rally or in a street speech calls for the disclosure of information about the secret Japan-U.S. agreement allowing the bringing-in of nuclear weapons to Japan, the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, or internal data of nuclear power plants, he/she may be punished for the 'incitement' or 'instigation' of information leaks," he said.
The party leader also noted that the Abe government intends to pass the secrets protection bill and a draft law to set up a National Security Council during the extraordinary Diet session. "The passage of these bills will be a first step toward changing Japan into a nation that can wage wars overseas together with the United States," he stressed.
In conclusion, Shii said, "The JCP will devote its every effort to blocking the enactment of such anti-democratic bills by cooperating across party lines."