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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 31 - June 6  > Gov’t should sincerely respond to UN expert’s letter on ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill: Lawyer
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2017 May 31 - June 6 [POLITICS]

Gov’t should sincerely respond to UN expert’s letter on ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill: Lawyer

May 31, 2017
Vice head of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association Sasamoto Jun in an Akahata interview on May 31 said that the Japanese government should respond sincerely to an inquiry about the “anti-conspiracy” bill sent from the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

UN Special Rapporteur Joseph Cannataci recently wrote to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo an open letter concerning the bill to criminalize conspiracy which is under Diet discussion. The letter expresses concern that the bill will restrict people’s right to privacy, and calls on the Abe government to provide information or comments on whether his concern is appropriate or not. The letter also requests information on the compatibility of the proposed bill with international human rights standards.

Regarding this letter, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide asserted that Special Rapporteurs investigate human rights issues as independent individuals and that their positions do not represent UN organizations.

Sasamoto pointed out that Special Rapporteurs are officially appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. Currently, these experts are conducting special investigations on 43 themes in 13 countries in order to submit reports to the Council. Thus, Sasamoto explained, Rapporteurs play an essential role in the UN organization. Noting that Special Rapporteurs are chosen to serve as individual experts, he stressed that this is one of the measures to maintain their impartiality and independence from state governments and UN organizations.

The vice head of the lawyers’ association said that Special Rapporteurs have the authority to send letters of inquiry to governments regarding issues that the experts think involve risks of human rights violations. The lawyer stressed that Japan, a member of the UN Human Rights Council, should respond to Cannataci’s information request.

Sasamoto cited the fact that the Japanese government in the past welcomed a report which the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea submitted to the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in March 2016. “On the other hand”, he went on to say, “the Japanese government this time tried to play down the authority of the letter critical of the ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill by claiming that it is from ‘an individual expert’ .” The lawyer criticized the Japanese government for employing double standards.

Past related articles:
> Abe gov’t protests against UN expert’s letter critical of ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill [May 23, 2017]
> UN special rapporteur on privacy expresses concern about ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill [May 20 & 21, 2017]
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