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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 4 - 10  > Lawyers oppose Abe's anti-corona steps for limiting people's freedom and human rights
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2020 March 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

Lawyers oppose Abe's anti-corona steps for limiting people's freedom and human rights

March 10, 2020

A group of lawyers and constitutional researchers are opposed to the Abe government's attempt to revise the existing special measures law on new infectious diseases under the pretext of countering the negative effects of the new coronavirus. The lawyers say that the law revision will restrict people's freedom and human rights.

The government explained that it will revise the special measures law and will add COVID-19 to the diseases listed on the law by March 13.

The lawyers on March 9 held a press conference in Tokyo and released a statement. The statement points out that the law makes it possible for the prime minister to proclaim a state of emergency, and thus "all of the power will be concentrated on the central government, and people's freedom and human rights will be widely restricted". The statement expresses concern over the revision, saying, "It could threaten the foundation of constitutionalism that supports the Japanese Constitution".

The statement claims that the Abe government has not taken necessary countermeasures up until now and is now seeking to introduce emergency legislation. It poses a question on "what specific effects the declaration of a state of emergency would bring about in the effort to prevent new coronavirus infections and its spread". The statement calls for "a retraction of the law revision" and "a fundamental review" of the law itself.

At the press conference, Usaki Masahiro, professor emeritus of Dokkyo University, criticized the Abe government by saying, "The Abe government is seeking to go directly into the declaration of a state of emergency. The problem is that the government hasn't fulfilled its proper accountability to the general public."

Lawyer Azusawa Kazuyuki said that the government "should work on what is really needed" such as providing financial aid for small business owners who will most likely suffer a serious blow due to the new coronavirus outbreak.
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