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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 21 - 27  > Sign boards opposing freedom of expression removed in Kanagawa
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2018 February 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Sign boards opposing freedom of expression removed in Kanagawa

February 24, 2018
The Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom (JLAF) Kanagawa Branch on February 22 at a press conference announced its achievement in removing warning sign boards which unjustly ban the distribution of leaflets and promotional activities on streets near railway stations in the prefecture.

The lawyers’ group said that they confirmed that the sign boards in question were installed at pedestrian decks near railway stations in Yokohama City (Shin-Yokohama and Yokohama stations), Sagamihara City (Hashimoto Station), and Fujisawa City (Fujisawa and Tsujido stations). The group also said that similar signs were also found on pedestrian passageways at Kawasaki and Musashi-Kosugi stations (Kawasaki City).

These warning boards say, “On pavements here, the following actions are prohibited by law,” and the name of the relevant police station was also posted on the boards. The prohibited actions include leafleting and soapbox speeches.

At the press conference held in the Yokohama City government office building, JLAF Kanagawa Branch head Mori Takuji stressed that to hand out fliers and hold speeches should be fully protected as people’s right to freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Mori pointed out that in response to the JLAF inquiry, city governments that placed the sign boards admitted that there is no legal basis for their act. The lawyer reported that following the inquiry, the warning boards were removed from locations near Shin-Yokohama Station, Yokohama Station, and Hashimoto Station.

Lawyer Okawa Takashi said that with the current move to adversely amend the Constitution, it is necessary to stand up against any attempt to stifle the people’s right to free speech.

JLAF Kanagawa Branch secretary Kawaguchi Ayako said, “The enactment of the anti-conspiracy bill brought concern that people who engage in signature-collection campaigns may be arrested. Under such a circumstance, the use of a warning board obviously discourages civil movements even though it has no legal basis, which is unacceptable.” She expressed her determination to work hard to get rid of these warning boards from streets across Japan.

Past related articles:
> Strengthen public movement to abolish unconstitutional ‘anti-conspiracy law’ [ June 16, 2017]
> Ruling coalition railroads ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill through Lower House [ May 24, 2017]

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