War laws will control rallies and reports

Freedom of assembly, speech, and press as well as anti-war demonstrations will be restricted under the wartime legislation.

This is what Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo stated at the May 9 Lower House Special Committee on wartime legislation in reply to a Democratic Party Dietmember's question about responses to anti-war rallies and demonstrations in the event of emergency.

The Wartime bills specify that "restrictions may be applied in some cases" to "freedoms and rights to the people" guaranteed by the Constitution. Citing Article 13 of the Constitution (All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.), Fukuda said that the freedom of speech and assembly, if it goes against "public welfare," will be restricted by the wartime legislation.

Fukuda also suggested that newspaper publishers and news agencies that can send information through the Internet in an instant may be included in designated public facilities, and that the government may lay restraint on their activities and request their cooperation in the event of emergency.

Constitutional scholar and professor at Nagoya University Mori Hideki commented that the restriction on people's freedom is as if a prewar ghost were coming back.

Mori stated that nothing can set bounds to basic freedoms, such as the freedoms of expression, thought, and conscience, because these are the fundamental freedoms shoring up democratic society. Fukuda's remark high-handedly violates these freedoms, he said. The War-renouncing Constitution never allows restrictions on people's rights in the first place, the professor stated. (end)