13 June 2017

News Story: Japan's confrontational approach to UN rapporteurs' reports sparks criticism

The Japanese government has been quick to refute criticism by United Nations special rapporteurs over Japan's so-called "anti-conspiracy" bill and the state secrecy law, creating a rift between the country and the world body.

On May 18, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy Joseph Cannataci released a letter stating the anti-conspiracy bill -- which would criminalize preparations for terrorism and other crimes by changing the conditions that constitute conspiracy -- might "lead to undue restrictions to the rights to privacy and to freedom of expression." In response, the Japanese government swiftly filed a protest, saying, "The letter was released unilaterally without the Japanese government or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs having had the opportunity to directly explain the legislation (to Cannataci)."

In a report released on May 30, another U.N. special rapporteur, David Kaye, rapped Japan's controversial Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, calling for legal revision so as not to curtail the activities of journalists. The Japanese government, once again, wasted no time to bite back, claiming the report contained inaccurate statements.

U.N. special rapporteurs are experts appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council and are tasked with investigating human rights situations in countries and regions over such issues as human trafficking and freedom of expression. The special rapporteurs are independent from the United Nations and their reports do not reflect the world body's consensus opinion. The Japanese government is desperate to hit back at special rapporteurs' reports out of concern that they could spread what the government views as "misunderstandings" across the international community.

Read the full story at The Mainichi