31 May 2017

News Story: Gov't, opposition clash over U.N. expert's letter slamming 'anti-conspiracy' bill

The government and opposition have clashed over a letter by a U.N. special rapporteur criticizing Japan's so-called "anti-conspiracy" bill on the grounds that it could affect fundamental public freedoms.

In his letter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy Joseph Cannataci, stated, "The proposed bill, in its current form and in combination with other legislation, may affect the exercise of the right to privacy as well as other fundamental public freedoms given its potential broad application."

The open letter was addressed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and released on the website of the U.N. Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. The Japanese government, which is pushing to enact the bill, protested that the content of the letter was "clearly inappropriate."

The bill to revise the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds would criminalize preparation for terrorism and other crimes by changing the conditions that constitute conspiracy. The government maintains that the bill is necessary in order to sign the U.N. Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Sohei Nihi criticized the government's stance. "It says a revised bill is indispensable for the convention, but then takes a hostile view of criticism. There's no way that can pass," he said. He added that the government should hold talks with the special rapporteur.

Read the full story at The Mainichi