Of course, every country has a fundamental right to protect its citizens’
interests and there is an obvious need for some issues relating to national
security to be secret. However, it is the vague definition in the new bill
of what actually constitutes a state secret which potentially gives
officials carte blanche to block the release of information on a vast range
of subjects. In essence, anything which makes a journalist in Japan
even more uncomfortable with exposing wrongdoing, wherever it may exist, is
a worrying development when transparency and openness should be the way
Legal experts note that even asking pointed questions about a state secret, whether you know or don’t know it’s a secret, could be treated as “instigating leaks” and the result in an arrest and a possible jail term up to five years. Of course, the trial would be complicated since the judge would not be allowed to know what secret the accused was suspected of trying to obtain.
Japan’s Ruling Coalition Government Seeks to Pass Controversial Bill As Fast As Possible While Opposition At Home and Abroad Grows and Support For Abe Government Wanes. Japan’s Secrecy Law, Designed by Kafka and inspired by Hitler.
“We’re living in a material world. A radioactive material world, ” jokes the lead singer. “This isn’t the future we hoped for.” They released their second mini-album “Living in a Radioactive Material World” this year. The title song has the punch of early Clash, the vocals on the acoustic song, “アスノメ (the eye of tomorrow) are smoky, poignant and reminiscent of Marianne Faithful–if she had been a protest singer. The live recording of 打ち砕いて (Knock it down) has in the background the enthusiastic cheers from the Fukushima local high school kids, who find their despair voiced in the lyrics of the band.
“What are the criteria of these possible secrets?” “Well…it’s a secret.” Japan’s Kafkaesque Special Secret Protection Bill threatens to destroy freedom of speech
“this bill represents a great threat to journalism.” A person investigating a state secret and revealing it could be prosecuted and jailed to up to 10 years. The criteria for prosecuting an individual are too vague, she added. “If a journalist or a member of an NGO accidentally overhears a state secret, he/she would be prosecuted. At a point where a person accesses what is designated as a state secret, that person will be prosecuted or indicted for holding that secret.” Fukushima explained that if a lawmaker got hold of a state secret and wants to reveal it, he/she could also be prosecuted.
IMA, a Tokyo-based group that welcomes volunteers of all ages, Japanese and international, will sponsor a Fall flea market, bake sale and full day of workshops on 11/17. IMA welcomes everyone, children and adults to join in the fun and festivities and help IMA raise money for a number of projects to support people of Tohoku whose lives were shattered by the Great earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disasters of 3/11. A full description of the day’s events can be found on this Facebook page. The Flea Market venue is in downtown Okachimachi– 2-26-8 Taito, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0016
Moreover, the “Designated Secrets Bill” specifically warns journalists that they must not engage in “inappropriate methods” in conducting investigations of government policy. This appears to be a direct threat aimed at the media profession and is unacceptably open to wide interpretations in individual cases. Such vague language could be, in effect, a license for government officials to prosecute journalists almost as they please.
In other words, it’s as if TEPCO measured the height of Jeremy Lin with only a 12 inch school ruler and proclaimed, “Mr. Lin is the world’s shortest basketball player.” Shunichi Tanaka, the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency said at press conference today stated, “I’m quite baffled by TEPCO’S total lack of any sense of crisis at the site. It’s unfathomable.”
The reason for his desertion is still unclear, did he simply surrender to North Korea as many reported? Or did he intend to sneak into the Russian embassy in North Korea hoping that they would save him from serving out his time in North Korea? In both cases, it was huge risk. What was so intolerable in the U.S Army that pushed Jenkins and three other American soldiers to surrender? We might never get a clear answer as he swore to his army lawyer to never reveal the true reason for his decision.