Banri Kaieda, leader of the majority opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), said that they are planning to introduce a bill that will override the recently enacted and highly-protested state secrecy law in the next parliamentary session. The next Diet session will start in January, and the DPJ is planning to coincide their bill behind the raft of protests against the state secrets law, even as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) forced the bill through the Japanese parliament.
“We must submit a bill to scrap the law at some point (during the session),” Kaieda said. “That’s how we’ll respond to the law.” Japan’s opposition party will be hoping to ride the Japanese public’s support as there is a palpable air of negativity among Japan’s public over the law – media practitioners and academics alike are saying that the law has a very high tendency to infringe on the public’s right to know. The secrecy law has also caused the approval rating of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet to rapidly drop, although Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has pushed the blame for this to the media’s coverage and criticism of the state secrecy bill. The DPJ is set to hold the first meeting of its secrecy law task force headed by Kaieda himself on Thursday.
In a recent survey made by the Kyodo News organization, 82.3 percent of respondents said they want a revision or the abolition of the law, while support for the Cabinet dropped 10.3 percentage points to 47.6 percent. This survey was made just after the secrecy law’s enactment on Dec. 6. DPJ leader Kaieda has now called out for the early passage of a bill that revises the information disclosure law, a bill sponsored by the DPJ in the last Diet session, that according to Kaieda would give a measure of protection for the public against the state secrets law. Kaieda said that “parts of these (bills) contradict with the secrecy law,” stressing the need to introduce a bill to scrap the legislation. “We must cooperate with people and groups that opposed (the secrecy law),” he said.
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