Japan passes controversial anti-terror law despite protests

Thousands protested outside the legislature after a full night of debate by sleepy parliamentarians and unsuccessful efforts by Japan's weak opposition to block the law's passage.

Japan passes controversial anti-terror law despite protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

Japan passed a controversial anti-terror law Thursday that critics warned would stomp on privacy rights and lead to over-the-top police surveillance.

The government said the law, which criminalises the planning of serious offenses, is necessary to prevent terrorism ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

It doesn't give police new powers, but critics say the legislation could be abused to allow wiretapping of innocent citizens and threaten privacy and freedom of expression guarantees in the constitution.

Terrorism "won't disappear because of this law," said 29-year-old demonstrator Yohei Sakano outside parliament.

"It's mostly designed to crack down on citizens' movements, not terrorism."

Retired government worker Toshiaki Noguchi added: "We're turning into a society of censorship."

US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden and Joseph Cannataci, UN special rapporteur on the right to privacy, have both criticised the law, and polls show the public is divided on its merits.

The bill's passage overcame a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet and a censure bid aimed at Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda.

Tokyo insists the law -- which calls for a prison term of up to five years for planning serious crimes -- is a prerequisite for implementing a UN treaty against transnational organised crime which Japan signed in 2000.

"We will uphold the law in an appropriate and effective way to protect people's lives," Abe told reporters after the legislation passed.

"Three years ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, we hope to cooperate with the international community to prevent terror," he added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Haziran 2017, 10:57
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