Japan’s Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki had suggested in a Diet session on Nov. 12 that news organizations could undergo government sanctioned searches and raids if they are suspected of leaking special state secrets, saying this under the deliberations toward the controversial confidentiality bill that the lawmakers are pursuing. His statements contradict those of Masako Mori, state minister in charge of the bill, who had earlier said that there can be no such possibility.
“Judgments should be made on each specific case, and it’s not appropriate to generally say whether or not news organizations could be raided under the bill,” Tanigaki told a House of Representatives special committee on national security deliberating the special state secrets bill. Mori had specifically told a Nov. 8 lower house session that, “There’s no possibility that news organizations will be raided.”
During the Nov. 12 session, Tanigaki was questioned over his opposition to an earlier version of this bill submitted by Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers to the Diet in 1985. The justice minister said that his support for the current bill stems from the fact that the current bill does not pose a threat to people’s right to know or the freedom of the press. “The situation is slightly different from that time (1985). Various measures have been taken to prevent the bill from having a chilling effect on the press,” he said.
In the session, Masako Mori also tried to dispel concerns that the executive branch could conceal secrets from the Diet. “If the Diet is to take measures to withhold state secrets from the public, the executive branch would then deem that the provision of such information would not threaten national security and provide such information to the legislative branch,” she said.
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