Four months since the Diet passed the controversial state secrets protection law, many Japanese citizens continue to call for its abolition. Around 108 local assemblies have tendered written opinions addressing the issue and urging the central government and the Diet to junk the new law.
On March 12, the municipal assembly of Senboku in the prefecture of Akita submitted a written opinion with the whole council united in calling for the revocation of the law. It described the deliberation process on the approval of the law as “handled in an undemocratic and heavy-handed manner,” and resulting in “the anger and concern of the people” which has continued to this day. 67-year old Shoji Takaku, who chairs the assembly and is one of the opinion’s proponents noted that the vote was still forced through even though the Diet has many conservative members. He also added that both the government and the Diet should listen to the municipalities, which shows a huge number of people who are still highly critical of the law and how it was enacted.
The Toride municipal assembly in Ibaraki Prefecture believes that with many calling for the abolition of the law, “it shows that a huge energy seeking democracy and peace has been deeply implanted within the Japanese people.” Meanwhile, the Koumi and Toyooka municipalities in Nagano described the law as “destroying the foundation of democracy by violating the spirit of the Constitution through infringement of the people’s right to know and freedom of expression.” The Kameyama assembly from Mie Prefecture said it “it covers up the eyes, ears and mouths of the people.”
While the law states that a third-party organization will administer the designation of state secrets, the Okushiri and Biei assemblies from Hokkaido remain skeptical if such a procedure will actually be implemented. The Nagai assembly in Yamagata noted that the law changed nothing with the dangers inherent in Japanese society. The Upper House secretariat received all the opinions submitted to the office and has confirmed that around 170 have already been submitted since December 6 last year. Forty opinions were sent to the office prior to the passage of the law.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]