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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 6 - 12  > 'SDF monitored civil movement,' JCP Shii reveals
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2007 June 6 - 12 TOP3 [SDF]

'SDF monitored civil movement,' JCP Shii reveals

June 7, 2007
The JCP obtained copies of GSDF internal documents showing that a GSDF unit has illegally gathered information on the activities of citizens as well as popular movements and opposition parties.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said the JCP obtained copies of Ground Self-Defense Force’s internal documents showing that a GSDF unit has illegally gathered information on the activities of ordinary citizens as well as popular movements and opposition parties, including the JCP.

At a news conference in the Diet on June 6, Shii demanded that the government make public all details of the unit’s activities and immediately order a stop to such surveillance, stating, “It is indisputable that the SDF unit has been monitoring the activities of the public on a daily basis and systematically gathering information. Such an activity is illegal and unconstitutional.”

JCP Shii on the same day visited the Cabinet Office and demanded that the government thoroughly investigate the case. He also visited the Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties and explained the revelation.

Shii brought up two documents (166 pages in A4 size) compiled by the GSDF information security unit between December 2003 and March 2004.

The documents cover a wide range of individuals and organizations involved in the movement against the SDF dispatch to Iraq and various other popular movements. The documents cite the names of many individuals. Some documents carry photographs of anti-war demonstrations and rallies.

One document is a notice entitled “On intelligence material,” compiled by the GSDF Northeastern Army’s information security unit. Pieces of information collected by the unit on a weekly basis are listed with comments.

This document covers not only the movement against the SDF dispatch to Iraq but also the movements against raising the public burden for the costs of medical services, the adverse pension reform, and a consumption tax rate increase, as well as the annual Spring Struggle by trade unions.

The other document is entitled “The domestic situation of opposition movement against the SDF dispatch to Iraq.” It was compiled by the GSDF intelligence security headquarters based on information collected from across the nation. In the section about “the situation of opposition movements in cities,” the names of 289 organizations and individuals are cited. This document suggests that these SDF units were assigned to monitor the anti-Iraq war movement.

Shii quoted SDF sources as stating that the GSDF intelligence security units were “tasked chiefly to cover the anti-SDF Iraq dispatch movement and give greater importance to reporting the gathered information than any other kinds of information.”

Regarding how the SDF intelligence security unit was monitoring the public, Shii cited journalists’ coverage of GSDF activities at Samawah in Iraq and media reports in Japan, remarks by Yamada Yoji (film director) and other public figures, local governments’ actions, Dietmembers’ statements, activities by people of faith, and the movement of Muslim groups. “This is a serious breach of democracy.”

Shii specifically pointed out that the SDF’s surveillance of the general public goes against the constitutional freedom of assembly, association and expression, including the freedom of speech and the press (Article 21) and that “citing the names of individual persons or taking photos of participants in rallies are clear violations of Article 13 that guarantees the right to privacy. “These activities not only go against the Constitution. They are not justifiable even under the Self-Defense Force Law,” Shii added.

The SDF units violated not only the Constitution, but also the SDF Law that provides no legal basis for such spying activities.

Shii said that surveillance of the general public by the SDF, which is a military force, is an unconscionable act that brings back the repression of the prewar days when military police suppressed the general public before and during World War II.”

Shii said the JCP will take up this issue in the Diet, stressing that the task now is to prevent the truth about the surveillance from being covered up and to have such illegal act discontinued.”

Later in the day, Deputy Minister of Defense Moriya Takemasa told reporters that he acknowledges that the SDF carried out the research and compiled them in reports.

The “intelligence security unit,” set up in each of the ground, maritime, and air self-defense forces under the direct jurisdiction of the Defense Minister, was reorganized in March 2003 from the former “research unit.” Chiefly composed of Ground SDF members, the unit reportedly has about 900 personnel.
- Akahata, June 7, 2007
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