22 May 2017

News Story: Railroaded 'anti-conspiracy' bill fails to balance public safety and individual rights

The so-called anti-conspiracy bill passed the House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee on May 19, bringing the bill one big step closer to going into effect.

The bill is a revision to the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds that would criminalize "acts of preparations to commit crimes such as terrorism." The government and ruling coalition argue that the legislation is necessary for Japan to become a signatory of the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (TOC), and is an anti-terrorism measures for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Meanwhile, opposition parties such as the Democratic Party (DP) and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) maintain concerns that "ordinary people" would become subject to anti-conspiracy charges under such legislation, leaving the two camps unable to reach an agreement. The bill is expected to pass through the House of Representatives plenary session in the coming days, effectively leaving the debate on how to strike a balance between public safety and human rights to the House of Councillors.

In deliberations in the lower house, opposition parties argued that the TOC was not a counterterrorism measure and that Japan could sign the treaty without new legislation. The government, meanwhile, argued that without passing the so-called anti-conspiracy bill, Japan would be unable fulfill the obligations of the treaty's signatories.

Read the full story at The Mainichi