Tokyo, Japan. The United States NSA has been working for years to do for Japan, what it has done to America with hyper surveillance. Now a patriot act like law will leave many feeling as if they are more in an American prison or a Japanese island pretending to be one.
Tokyo saw an estimated 5,000 people demonstrate in front of the parliament building, denouncing the new law as “autocratic” and vowing to prevent Japan from turning into a “surveillance society,” just like the USA.
“Peaceful demonstrations could be prohibited for being viewed as terrorism,” Miyuki Masuyama, a 54-year-old woman, told Kyodo news. “Our freedom of expression will be threatened.”
Japan’s government has passed a controversial law targeting conspiracies to commit terrorism and other serious crimes, despite a warning by the UN that it could be used to crack down on civil liberties.The legislation would criminalise plotting and preparing to commit 277 “serious crimes.”
Voting on the bill, which has been delayed three times amid widespread public opposition, came after a UN expert called the legislation “defective”, eliciting an angry response from Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
The officials in Tokyo insist the law is needed to ratify a 2000 UN treaty targeting global organised crime, and to improve Japan’s anti-terrorism measures as it prepares to host the rugby world cup in 2019 and the Olympics the following year.
Critics include the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations and others who point out that offences covered by the law include those with no obvious connection to terrorism or organised crime, such as sit-ins to protest construction of apartment buildings or copying music. The law’s opponents see the legislation as part of Abe’s broader mission to increase state powers, and fear ordinary citizens could be targeted, despite government assurances to the contrary.
Tags: freedom of expression; freedom of media; freedom of press; freedom of speech; internet freedom; internet privacy; Japan; Japan-US ties; Japanese politics; National Security Agency (NSA); press freedom