Japan’s Lower House is set to pass today the bill establishing a U.S-style National Security Council which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees as essential for the country to keep up with the dynamic security environment in the region. This will enable his office to be the lead in creating foreign and defense policies with the aid of different ministers and agencies.
Once it has passed the lower house or the House of Representatives, it will then move on to get the approval of the House of Councillors, with the government pushing for its passage before the end of the extraordinary Diet session by December 6. The new framework will require the Prime Minister, the Chief Cabinet Secretary and the foreign and defense ministers to meet twice a month and discuss the various security issues concerning Japan domestically and in other countries. The council’s head office will be within the Cabinet Secretariat so as to streamline policy planning and also to get different government entities to work together when it comes to security issues.
To bolster the NSC, the administration is also looking to have the more controversial bill or “new secrecy law” passed, which will toughen up the penalties for those caught leaking “special secrets” or any information deemed to be too sensitive for public consumption, including diplomacy, defense, terrorism, and espionage. This proposed bill has received a lot of criticism as it might violate the public’s right to know and also curtail press freedom as well. The lower house will also be deliberating on this bill today.
[ via The Mainichi ]