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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 20 - 26  > Shiokawa calls for scrapping bill to expand state secret protection law to economic field
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2024 March 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Shiokawa calls for scrapping bill to expand state secret protection law to economic field

March 20, 2024

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shiokawa Tetsuya on March 19 opposed a bill on the protection of important information related to economic security as it runs counter to the Constitution.

At the House of Representatives plenary session which began discussions on the bill, Shiokawa criticized the bill for expanding the scope of the state secret protection law to cover economic information. He pointed out that under the secret protection law, unbeknown to the public, the government designates information in the four categories of defense, foreign affairs, anti-espionage, and terrorism prevention as “state secret” and punish those who leak such information.

Shiokawa said that the bill, if enacted, will fundamentally undermine the constitutional principles of basic human rights, public sovereignty, and pacifism, and thus it should be abolished.

Shiokawa noted that as measures to prevent information leakage, the bill plans to introduce a security clearance system under which the government will investigate individuals, including private sector workers who deal with confidential information, to collect their personal information such as political leanings, medical records, and amount of debt.

Shiokawa pointed out that targeted workers will have to accept the background checks for fear of facing unfair treatment and may be kept under surveillance even after their retirement. He said that the bill not only infringes on people’s right to freedom of thought and conscience but also violates people’s privacy, which goes against the Constitution.

Shiokawa pointed out that the bill will ban reporters from trying to obtain secret information and restrict the provision of free access to available research findings. He said the bill will trample on the people’s right to know as well as on academic freedom.
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