Japan’s Designated Secrets Law: All you ever wanted to know but should be afraid to ask. (LOL)

On December 7th, the ruling bloc of the Japanese government passed into law a Secrecy bill which many feel threatens freedom of the speech and the freedom of the press.

For those who are interested in finding more about Japan’s Designated Secrets Law, here are source materials that you may find useful.  These are material distributed to the foreign press by the Cabinet Office last week before the bill became law. The Abe cabinet promised to set up an oversight committee to oversee the use of the ability to classify information a “specially designated secret” but the law itself does not mandate such restraints. The proposed oversight agency or oversight office will have no independence from the government.

When we have a complete Japanese draft of the law, we will post it. Any comments on the materials or suggestions for other reference materials that should be posted are welcome.

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This a summary of the secrecy law. Although the categories for which secrets can be designated are limited to four areas, there is no oversight to determine whether or not the designation is properly applies. Note the + "Requires special need for secrecy" which is a clause so wide that conceivably anything could be fit into that heading.
This a summary of the secrecy law. Although the categories for which secrets can be designated are limited to four areas, there is no oversight to determine whether or not the designation is properly applies. Note the + “Requires special need for secrecy” which is a clause so wide that conceivably anything could be fit into that heading.
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The actual text of the law defines terrorism as also “forcing one’s opinions on others.” This is the basis of Shigeru Ishiba, Secretary General of the LDP (ruling party) stating that those noisily protesting the bill were committing acts tantamount to terrorism.
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The Lawyer’s Federation of Japan points out that if a journalist or citizen were to stubbornly ask about SDS (specially designated secrets) to a government official that this could be construed as “instigation of leakage” and result in him/her being called in for questioning, their laptops and phones seized, possible arrest and conviction. Even when acting in the public interest, and without knowing they were seeking information about a “specially designated secret” an individual would still face up a year in prison or a fine under 300,000 yen.

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