Japan cabinet approves anti-conspiracy bill amid civil rights concerns

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attends a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in Tokyo, Japan
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attends a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in Tokyo, Japan August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

March 21, 2017

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO(Reuters) – Japan’s cabinet on Tuesday approved legislation that would penalize criminal conspiracies, a move critics say threatens civil liberties, but officials say is needed to prevent terrorist targeting events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Proponents say the steps are vital in a security climate where terrorism risks have grown and in order to ratify a U.N. Treaty aimed at battling international organized crime.

“Considering the current situation regarding terrorism and looking ahead to the Olympics and Paraolympics three years hence, it is necessary to fully prepare to prevent organized crimes including terrorism,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

Japanese governments have tried to pass similar legislation three times since 2000, when the United Nations adopted a Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, but the bill stands a better chance of success this time.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition has a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and public worries about terrorism ahead of the Olympics have grown after deadly attacks overseas, although an opinion poll released by Kyodo news agency on March 12 showed 45.5 percent were opposed to the bill while 33 percent favored it.

Suga said the legislation would apply only to groups preparing to commit terrorist acts and other organized crime groups and would not target the “legitimate activities” of civil groups or labor unions.

Opponents, including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, have doubts. They view the proposed change as part of Abe’s agenda to tighten control at the expense of individual rights, chilling grassroots opposition to government policies such as the construction of a U.S. military base on Okinawa island.

“It is very clear that the Japanese public security sector – police and prosecutors – employ an extremely expansive interpretation of any aspect of criminal law so … regardless of the limited list of potential crimes, they will interpret it in an extremely elastic way,” said Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo.

The lawyers’ association has said Japanese law already prohibits preparations to commit certain serious crimes such as murder, arson and counterfeiting or plotting an insurgency or the use of explosives, so additional legislation is unnecessary.

(Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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  • All American

    We need an agency to oversee every aspect of medical pricing and billing fair and customary based on supply and demand.

  • Going to the CBO is a waste of time. They are never right on any of their estimates, and any estimate beyond the current budget is a waste of time.

    Government has proven itself to be incompetent at delivering healthcare or most everything else. The urge for ever increasing programs to buy votes is just too strong.

  • All American

    The States should manage Medicaid. The Fed should manage Medicare. The government should pay back all of the money that they have “borrowed” from Social Security AND “We The People” should manage our own “private” health insurance. The government should stay out of it from that point forward.
    Any Healthcare bill must imclude all government employees🇺🇸MAGA🇺🇸

    • Ty

      Well said!

  • Jay

    Just another dirty scheme by the Herr Trump administration and Ryan the American-people will pay for this pos put forth by the Republican

    • All American

      It is not Trump it is only those that wish they were Trump!

  • Haylan Fraser

    This is why Congress is not to be trusted. Trump should stay away from this Bill if he wants to keep his supporters. We WILL hold this against him.

    • HarryObrian

      Agreed, when a headline says “…aides attack” all I think about is Barry Soetoro, aka 0bama. If President Trump’s solution to reality and honesty of things he doesn’t agree with or understand is to just become a defensive baby then what’s the difference between Barry and he. Don’t President Trump’s dogs have something better to do.
      Healthcare is not a new condo complex where all the condos are exactly the same but different prices.
      The solution to healthcare is not 0bamaCareLite / HillaryCare3 / TrumpCare and if President Trump doesn’t fully understand what’s happening then maybe he should take it away from RINO Ryan and give to someone more competent.

      • Jay

        Like who may I ask?

      • Me

        Very well said and oh so true.
        Nice work Mr. HarryOBrian

    • Jay

      Herr Trump can’t stay away from the replace plan for the ACA he promised he would repeal during the primaries remember

      • All American

        Oh no here you go again!!

    • All American

      YES, this bill is definitely not Trump🇺🇸

  • GunTotingLib

    Move the bill out of commitee at 4:30 am under cover of darkness, Try to get it passed in days before anyone can run the numbers to find out what it will cost, how much it will increase the deficit, how many people it will help or hurt and who gets the huge tax cuts. Is this really the type of “responsible, transparent” government you right wingers want?

    • All American

      Do Not Pass This Bill Under The Guise Of Healthcare!!

  • Edna Mauerman

    We gave Obama a few years to create the messy health plan he put out. President Trump has some time to find the best way to go about this. Again state to state; each state is different with different insurance rules. Healthcare is profitable for many insurance companies out there. Taxpayers need a piece of that especially if the government gets involved.

    • HarryObrian

      State to state is the problem, let all insurance companies operate wherever.

      • All American

        Free trade🇺🇸

    • Jay

      OB created The ACA the Republican tried to 51 times to defund the ACA and had 8 years to come up with a workable plan to replace what we are getting is something that will take health care from millions of low income people while at the same time giving tax breaks to millionaires,great plan guys

      • All American

        Great points Jay! I agree with you. If the Republicans cannot get the hands of DC other than Medicare we are fighting a loosing battle. Allow the States to fund Medicaid. They can make money on a couple cents tax on cigarettes, gas, alcohol. The Fed should manage Medicare and the Government should pay back all that they have borrowed to fund it. People should be in control of their private health insurance and premiums should be according to the lifestyle and health of the individual. Across State lines will in itself will ensure that many are sharing the loss of few🇺🇸MAGA🇺🇸

    • All American

      Yes take “Republican time” and “DO IT RIGHT!!”

      • All American

        I misspoke do it on “Trump Time” we the peoples way. Medicare managed by the Federal Govm’t as originally planned. Medicaid mangage by the States. People managing their own plan, no government involvement.
        Flat across the board pricing with billing fairly and accordingly. There will be plenty of money to be made everyone has coverage and nany share the loss of few. There are more healthy than ill in our country thanks to our culture.
        Narcotic seeking place in State run Methadone Clinics its cheap! Get straight or stay in the program but must be employed to qualify (tax payers).
        Think of it like a pie. Everyone gets a slice. Everyone is happy. Many are healthy and if not have access to care paid for by the healthy’s insurance premium!
        Also insurance premium decrease with great health history.

    • All American

      Keep the government OUT other than a medical billing monitoring agency. This should be performed by doctors offices according to grids.

  • Cearbhal Ross

    “The Trump administration’s criticisms of the CBO are unusual. Prior administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have steered clear of attacking the credibility of the agency,….”
    Really? Take a few minutes to search on Google and you will find that it is NOT unusual at all.