Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 May 12 - 18  > Diet debate started on bill to surveil residents living in vicinity of bases
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2021 May 12 - 18 [POLITICS]

Diet debate started on bill to surveil residents living in vicinity of bases

May 12, 2021
The House of Representatives in its plenary session on May 11 began discussing a bill to restrict the use of land in the vicinity of military facilities and to surveil the general public living in such areas and in border isolated islands. Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken criticized the bill for trampling on basic human rights in violation of the Japanese Constitution, demanding that the bill be abolished.

The bill designates border islands as well as areas located within a 1-kilometer radius from the bases of U.S. forces and Japan's Self-Defense Forces, Japan Coast Guard facilities, and nuclear power plants as "observed areas". The bill allows authorities to collect information on residents and landowners in these areas, such as their names, addresses, and nationalities. The bill also allows authorities to issue an order to stop "any act that obstructs the function" of those facilities and to lay criminal charges against noncompliance.

Akamine in the plenary session said that residents living near bases suffer every day from various problems caused by the bases, and pointed out that Okinawans, for example, had their land expropriated under the U.S. military occupation and therefore had no choice but to live near the bases. Akamine continued to say, "The bill, if enacted, will surveil these people who have been enduring many burdens due to the national policy. What is this all about?"

He asked, "Does 'any act that obstructs base functions' apply to Okinawans' sit-in protest against the construction of a new U.S. base at Henoko in Okinawa's Nago City?"

Okonogi Hachiro, Minister in charge of Territorial Issues, answered, "It won't apply to any acts that are not considered as obstruction of base functions like continued sit-ins."

Simizu Hayako, a Miyakojima islander, in an Akahata interview said, "On our island, SDF-U.S. joint frontline units are located. The island as a whole is becoming like their fortress," and expressed concern that all islanders could be placed under observation if the bill is enacted.

Past related article:
> JCP Koike: Submission of bill that opens path to enable crackdown on antinuclear and anti-base movements unacceptable [March 9, 2021]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved