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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 June 16 - 22  > Land control bill to surveil residents living near bases becomes law
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2021 June 16 - 22 [POLITICS]

Land control bill to surveil residents living near bases becomes law

June 17, 2021

A land-restriction bill, which gives the government the authority to surveil residents living in the vicinity of military bases and on border islands, became law at an Upper House plenary session before dawn of June 16 with the majority vote of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, the Nippon Ishin no Kai party, and the Democratic Party for the People. The Japanese Communist Party and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan voted against the bill.

At a debate before the vote, JCP member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku pointed out that the bill will threaten people's property rights as well as privacy rights in violation of the Japanese Constitution and will impose criminal penalties on people despite the ambiguity of the “criminal” definition. He criticized the government for suddenly opening a session on the evening of June 14 for the purpose of taking a rushed vote on the bill and demanded that the bill be scrapped.

The new law designates border islands and zones within one kilometer from military bases and nuclear power plants as "regulated areas", issues a suspension order if an "act that obstructs the function" of these facilities is recognized, and imposes criminal liability against noncompliance with the order. The law designates zones around especially important facilities as "special regulated areas" and obliges landowners to notify in advance of any transaction involving a certain surface area. However, who or what to be investigated, how long an investigation lasts, or who is to be responsible for the enforcement are all undecided. The law gives a carte blanche to the Cabinet Order.

Past related articles:
> JCP Akamine, regarding land-restriction bill, demands holding of hearings of residents living near bases [May 27, 2021]
> Diet debate started on bill to surveil residents living in vicinity of bases [May 12, 2021]
> JCP Koike: Submission of bill that opens path to enable crackdown on antinuclear and anti-base movements unacceptable [March 9, 2021]
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