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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 6 - 12  > JCP revelation of SDF surveillance of the public receives widespread press coverage
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2007 June 6 - 12 [SDF]

JCP revelation of SDF surveillance of the public receives widespread press coverage

June 9, 2007
The revelation by the Japanese Communist Party of the Self-Defense Forces’ illegal surveillance activity of the public as well as various popular movements received widespread media coverage.

The Asahi Shimbun, a national paper, on June 7 reported JCP Chair Shii Kazuo’s news conference statement that revealed the SDF intelligence security unit’s internal documents on its front page. It also ran an editorial entitled “SDF monitors civilians,” stating, “Before World War II in Japan, military police gradually started to monitor citizens and changed into an organization that suppressed freedom.”

Recalling that “the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is proposing a constitutional revision to change the SDF into “a self-defense military,” the Asahi editorial said, “What we must not forget is the historical lesson that armed organizations have a tendency to transform into a security force to keep an eye on citizens.”

In an unusual move, most local newspapers throughout the country also criticized the Self-Defense Forces for conducting illegal monitoring of citizens.

Critical editorials were run by the nation’s major local papers, including the Hokkaido Shimbun Press, the Kahoku Shimpo, the Niigata Nippo, the Tokyo Shimbun (the Chunichi Shimbun, the Hokuriku Chunichi Shimbun), the Shinano-Mainichi Shimbun, the Kobe Shimbun, the Chugoku Shimbun, the Kochi Shimbun, the Nishinippon Shimbun, the Okinawa Times, and the Ryukyu Shimpo.

The Hokkaido Shimbun editorial said, “It (SDF monitoring of the public) is an act threatening people’s constitutional rights: the freedom of assembly and association, speech, the press, and expression, and the right to privacy.”

The Tokyo Shimbun said, “The SDF, an armed organization, is duty-bound to strictly maintain political neutrality. For the SDF to monitor particular persons or organizations from a biased viewpoint is a major deviation from their mission and authority.”

The Nishinippon Shimbun said, “Those who experienced the Pacific War may have recalled the terms ‘military police’ and the ‘special higher police’ that suppressed the freedom of speech and activities that were deemed to be hamper the prosecution of the war.”

The Ryukyu Shimpo, Okinawa’s local paper, reported citizens’ voices. One said, “It (the SDF monitoring of citizens) is like the ‘special higher police’ reviving,” and another, “I shuddered at the news that suggests a return to the prewar days.”

Criticizing Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio and Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa for taking it for granted that the SDF carries out such monitoring, the Hokkaido Shimbun stated, “It seems that they do not understand how grave the matter is.”

Pointing to the SDF unit monitoring various movements on such issues as medical reform and pension reform as well the labor Spring Struggle, the Kobe Shimbun warned, “We cannot deny the possibility that the SDF unit has been ‘monitoring’ various public movements related to living conditions.”
- Akahata, June 9, 2007
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