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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 August 27 - September 2  > Japan’s psychiatrists criticize state secrets protection law
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2014 August 27 - September 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan’s psychiatrists criticize state secrets protection law

August 28, 2014
A psychiatrists’ organization in Japan sent to the government public comment system an opinion in protest against drafts of operational guidelines and an enforcement order for the State Secrets Protection Law, Akahata learned on August 27.

The law was bulldozed through the Diet at the end of last year and will go into effect by the end of this year.

Under the law, persons with access to designated secrets will be examined regarding their qualification for handling the secrets. Medical institutions, where persons who have access to state secrets go to, have an obligation to provide those persons’ medical information when receiving an inquiry from administrative authorities.

The Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN) in March released a statement stating that such an obligation is unacceptable as it will undermine the confidentiality of medical information, the essential foundation for the doctor-patient relationship.

In its opinion submitted in response to the invitation for public comments on the drafts by the government, the JSPN stated that the qualification examination will lead to disclosure of very personal information of individuals and may seriously affect their self-esteem and lives. It also expressed its concern that persons targeted for the examination will refrain from visiting psychiatrists.

The JSPN added that from a psychiatric point of view, the qualification checkup would become all but meaningless because psychiatric symptoms and treatments bear no relation to the possible leakage of state secrets.

The organization criticized the drafts as violating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Japanese government ratified last December, as well as promoting discriminatory sentiments among the public.
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