Photo Credit: SATOKO KAWASAKI, Japan Times
Meanwhile, protests comprising more than 7,000 demonstrators continued around the Diet building, mobilized by civic groups, unions and concerned individuals, following similar scenes Wednesday that saw more than 6,000 anti-secrecy law opponents march around the Diet building hand-in-hand.
And the impassioned pleas of Japanese Senators (via Xinhua):
So outraged was opposition lawmaker Hirokazu Shiba in the committee meeting Thursday, that he rose from his seat and shouted “This is the way the reign of terror begins!” His fervor led to his fellow lawmakers having to physically restrain Shiba, as tensions in the meeting reached fever pitch.
The secrecy bill is headed for passage Friday. Indeed, the bill has likely already passed by the time you read this.
Another Japanese Senator said:
“The path that Japan is taking is the recreation of a fascist state. I strongly believe that this secrecy bill represents a planned coup d’état by a group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he warned.
Just like the U.S. Japan is responding to crises of its own making by banning journalism.
The Guardian notes:
Whistleblowers and journalists in Japan could soon find themselves facing long spells in prison for divulging and reporting state secrets, possibly including sensitive information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster ….
“It is a threat to democracy,” said Keiichi Kiriyama, an editorial writer for the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper ….
“It can be used to hide whatever the government wishes to keep away from public scrutiny,” said Mizuho Fukushima, an opposition MP. ….
[The] justice minister, Sadakazu Tanigaki, refused to rule out police raids of newspapers suspected of breaking the law.
Indeed, the number 2 government official said last week that protest equals terrorism.
Foreign Policy notes that the U.S. is largely behind the bill:
Washington, for its part, has long supported stronger secrecy laws in Japan ….
The proposed measure is part of a larger effort by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to move away from Japan’s pacifist past and establish a stronger military posture that is congenial to, or in line with U.S. preferences, according to Samuels. Among other initiatives, Abe plans to create Japan’s version of the U.S. National Security Council, the coordinating body of American foreign policy, and is pushing to reinterpret Japan’s constitution to expand its military’s limited self-defense role — giving it the authority to aid the United States and other allies, if they’re attacked.
The state secrets bill similarly seems to resemble U.S. policy.
Indeed, the U.S. controls a good deal of Japanese policy.