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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Opposition party leaders post video protesting against Cabinet move to meddle with appointment of prosecutors
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [POLITICS]

Opposition party leaders post video protesting against Cabinet move to meddle with appointment of prosecutors

May 12, 2020
Leaders of four opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, on May 10 uploaded their video on Twitter in opposition to a bill to revise the Public Prosecutors Office Act. The bill, if enacted, will enable the Cabinet to intervene in the personnel affairs of public prosecutors.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on the following day at a Lower House Committee meeting expressed his desire for the bill's enactment during the current Diet session.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo in the video said, "Prosecutors have extensive authority. They can even arrest the Prime Minister," and warned, "Cabinet intervention in the personnel affairs of public prosecutors will mean that Japan is not a country ruled by law." Shii called on the general public to unite to defend the country's democracy by saying, "Just when the nation needs to band together to bring the coronavirus crisis under control, the government is attempting to revise the law for its own interest. It's like a thief taking advantage of a fire. We should not allow this."

Regarding the bill, voices of opposition have been raised from more than 1,500 lawyers in a joint statement. Also, many public figures one after another began voicing their disagreement on Twitter. The number of tweets with "#I oppose the proposed revision of the Public Prosecutors Office Law" has exceeded five million as of May 10.

JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira at a press conference in the Diet building said, "The bill will allow the Prime Minister to install his 'favorite' persons to be top prosecutors at his sole discretion. Japan then will be ruled by a single person, not by law, and the principle of the separation of powers between the administrative, legislative, and judiciary branches of the government will be destroyed."

Asked for a comment by the press on the rapidly-increasing public criticism, Koike said, "On the one hand, the government is asking the public to stay at home and business owners to suspend their businesses, and we the opposition parties are asked to offer maximum cooperation to bring the coronavirus-induced situation under control. On the other hand, the government is attempting to force through a revision which will damage the very foundation of democracy. Many people see this as something that should not be done at this moment and thus the anger of the general public exploded."

Past related article:
> Justice Minister discredits prosecutors [March 14, 2020]
> Gov't uses even prewar law to control prosecutors as it wants [February 27, 2020]
> Abe Cabinet decision supposedly seeks to exert political influence over prosecution officers [February 5, 2020]
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