Thousands of people headed to the Diet building on Wednesday to form a human chain and protest against the impending state secrets bill that Japan’s ruling bloc is pushing in the Upper House. The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito are looking at having the bill approved before the House of Councillors as early as Thursday, before the current session ends on December 6.
The protest organizers, citizens group “Himitsu hogoho haian e! Jikko iinkai” (Executive committee for the rejection of the secrets protection bill), said that there were around 6,000 people who participated in Wednesday’s action, with many of them carrying placards saying, “Stop the secrets protection bill!” The mostly peaceful protest was punctuated by cries of “We the people are sovereign!” and “We are not terrorists!” The bill has received much criticism from the press and media people, as well as human rights groups and ordinary citizens as they feel it violates the right of people to know and the freedom of the press. One of the demonstrators feels that this kind of legislation is a form of “government tyranny” while another one, a grandparent of four, says that this bill “must be rejected” for the sake of the future of Japan.
Meanwhile, the ruling bloc came up with last-ditch efforts to get the support of the opposition lawmakers in order for the bill to be passed before Friday. They presented a plan to two opposition parties that will set-up a third-party oversight committee that will monitor which information will be classified and declassified as “state secrets.” However, the main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, says it will not change its stand on the issue. They are also looking at bringing a censure motion against Masako Mori, state minister in charge of the bill, in order to block the passage of the bill.
[ via Mainichi ]