Shigeru Ishiba, secretary-general and second-in-command of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has offered an apology for likening those who are protesting against the state secrets protection bill to “terrorists”. The LDP bigwig had posted in a blog published on Nov. 29 that the demonstrations of those who scream at the top of their lungs are no different to “acts of terrorism” by causing excessive noise.
“The tactic of merely screaming is in essence little different from acts of terrorism,” Ishiba wrote on his blog on Friday. “I don’t know who they are, but it will never inspire public sympathy, even if they loudly assert their claims and disturb social peace.” In his latest blog published on Dec. 2, Ishiba still remained critical of the demonstrators who have continually made noise around the Diet, as he says that these protests disturb the public’s tranquility. But he also apologized for failing to behave properly as a person in charge of the LDP. This comment has given the opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and other opposing parties, ammunition to grill him in Diet deliberations.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has already told a meeting of the House of Councillors’ national security special committee that Ishiba has in fact retracted a portion of his earlier blog and explained his intentions. He added that demonstrations are guaranteed by freedom of speech so long as they are conducted within the confines of the law. But criticism against Ishiba is mounting, and most critics are saying that Ishiba has just made his real motives known – to “clamp down” on civic movements such as these demonstrations. They point to the ruling bloc as the “terrorists,” saying that “the politicians who railroad the bill are much more violent.”