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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 3 - 9  > Police collect private info of local residents objecting to power plant project in Gifu Pref.
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2015 June 3 - 9 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Police collect private info of local residents objecting to power plant project in Gifu Pref.

May 27 & June 5, 2015

It came to light that local police secretly collected information on local residents who are concerned about a wind power project by C-Tech Corporation, a Chubu Electric Power Company subsidiary, and provided the information to C-Tech.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Yamashita Yoshiki on June 4 took up this issue in the House of Councilors Committee on Cabinet where revisions of the Private Information Protection Law are under discussion.

He said, “It’s not out of the ordinary for local residents to hold study meetings or make representations when a new facility plan emerges in their community,” and criticized the police for labeling these residents as radical opponents and infringing on their human rights.

Yamashita asked if the regular duties of police include collecting private information on specific individuals and sharing it with a business establishment whose interests are conflicting with theirs.

An official of the National Police Agency answered that they gather and provide information, and added, “Information provision to a third party without permission (from those who were stealthily surveilled) is not excluded.”

Yamashita angrily responded, “What makes you think that would be accepted under the present Constitution!”

C-Tech is planning to construct a wind power plant in Ogaki City (Gifu Pref.). Learning of this plan, residents living in the vicinity of the construction site have organized several meetings to learn more about wind power generation and submitted a petition to C-Tech in order to express their objection to the plant construction.

The Ogaki Police, however, kept an eye on these residents and collected information on their past activities, academic backgrounds, and medical histories. The police then passed all the information, even the information about a pro-Constitution rally one of those residents participated in, to C-Tech.

These police actions may constitute an abuse of power in violation of individual human rights and freedom as guaranteed in the Constitution, Yamashita pointed out.

Lawyer Yamada Hideki commented, “Collecting and sharing information in this case is undoubtedly aimed at intimidating the civic movement. This violates Article 2 Paragraph 2 of the Police Act which stipulates the need for political neutrality.”
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