Japanese Parliament passes controversial anti-conspiracy bill amid protests

The upper house of the Japanese parliament passed a controversial bill early on Thursday that authorizes measures aimed at preventing terror plots in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The bill strengthening police powers to crack down on those mulling terror attacks and other serious crime was adopted by senators in Japan’s House of Councillors after almost four hours of deliberations.

A demonstration was held outside the National Diet during the entire session, with protesters calling amendments to anti-terrorism laws undemocratic and disruptive to the nation’s criminal law.

Critics fear that the so-called anti-conspiracy legislation, which criminalizes plotting to commit 277 offenses, could increase state surveillance of labor unions and other civil rights groups. One of the contentious clauses seeks to punish a group of conspirators where only one person tried to raise money or survey the site of a future crime.