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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 November 27 - December 3  > Secrets bill forcibly passed through Lower House
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2013 November 27 - December 3 [POLITICS]

Secrets bill forcibly passed through Lower House

November 27 & 28, 2013
The Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Your parties on November 26 with their majority vote forcibly passed a controversial state secrets bill through the Lower House plenary session and sent it to the Upper House.

The Japanese Communist, Democratic, People’s Life, and Social Democratic parties voted against the bill. The Japan Restoration Party which agreed upon “amendments” to the bill abstained from voting due to a lack of sufficient Diet deliberations on the bill.

In a Lower House committee meeting held just before the plenary session, the bill promoters railroaded through the bill without discussion. The JCP and the three opposition parties plus the JRP soon made representations to the House of Representatives speaker to send the bill back for committee deliberations. The objection, however, was ignored out of hand and the bill was put before the plenary session for a vote on the same day.

In past committee meetings on the bill, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, who is supposedly the official who has been originally responsible for secrets information, never showed up. Mori Masako, a state minister responsible for childrearing measures, took the rostrum in his stead although she openly stated that she has no command authority in regard to designated secrets.

At a public hearing on the previous day in Fukushima City, all witnesses either opposed or called for more careful discussions. A speaker siding with the LDP also spoke of the need for careful deliberation.

It was on September 3 when the outline of the bill was first presented to the general public. The government-set public comment posting site received as many as 90,000 messages in two weeks alone, of which 90% were opinions in opposition to the bill.

The Abe Cabinet disregarded such opinions and submitted the bill to the Diet after only one month.

The latest Nikkei opinion poll shows that 50% of those surveyed oppose the bill, far exceeding the bill supporters (26%). In other surveys, 70-80% gave an unfavorable response to the bill.

* * *

Baba Tamotsu, mayor of Namie Town in Fukushima, was one of the speakers at the previous day’s hearing. The mayor on November 28 told Akahata that the important thing is to reveal hidden information to the public by various means so that Fukushima residents can have access to accurate information.

He said that nuclear accident victims want the central government to give priority to support for victimized children and voluntary evacuees over secrets protection.

* * *

The JRP, until the day before, praised itself for having the “amendments” added as Secretary General of the JRP Dietmembers’ Corps Matsuno Yorihisa was saying, “The bill has become better. We should be proud of this.”

However, when coming to the vote at the Lower House plenary session, JRP parliamentarians walked out of the chamber, displaying inconsistency with its previous behavior of having submitted the “modified” bill jointly with the LDP, Komei and Your parties.

Amid a mounting pubic call for the bill to be scrapped or be discussed more carefully, the party chose to adopt a “fighting pose” for fear of a backlash from the public.
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