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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 27 - April 2  > Bill on economic secrets would abuse corporate employees’ privacy
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2024 March 27 - April 2 [POLITICS]

Bill on economic secrets would abuse corporate employees’ privacy

March 28, 2024
Japanese Communist Party lawmakers and many other Dietmembers on March 27 participated in a rally that the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) held in the Diet building in opposition to a bill to protect the secrecy of economic information, reaffirming that the bill is extremely likely to infringe upon human rights.

JCP member of the House of Representatives Shiokawa Tetsuya, along with JCP members of House of Councilors Inoue Satoshi, Nihi Sohei, and Yamazoe Taku attended the rally.

The bill would expand the scope of the 2013 state secret protection law to cover economic information. Under the bill, the government designates information that it deems important for economic security as confidential, and conducts a “security clearance assessment” in order to select those who may have access to that information. Information leaks are punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, according to the bill.

Lawyer Miyake Hiroshi of the JFBA said, "If the Public Security Intelligence Agency and the Cabinet Intelligence Office follow the examples of other countries (in carrying out background checks on prospective confidential information handlers), they will compile hundreds of thousands of people’s information.” The lawyer warned that personal privacy could be violated in the name of security, leading to a surveillance society.

JCP Chair Tamura Tomoko later on the same day at a press conference in the Diet building said, “In order to scrap the bill, our party is determined to increase cooperation with a wide range of people.”

Tamura said that the bill would include the economic and private sectors in the scope of the security clearance assessment which is currently applied in the fields of defense, diplomacy, anti-spying, and anti-terrorism.

She pointed out that the security clearance assessment would aim at investigating the medical history, debts, friendships, and nationalities of friends and acquaintances of the corporate employees dealing with secrets, and that the government would continue to retain that information. She also pointed out that no legal measures exist at present to prevent corporate employees from being discriminated against due to the information found in their background checks.

The government gave a pretext for the bill’s submission, which is Japan needs to respond to international standards for economic activities. Regarding this pretext, Tamura noted that the JFBA at a symposium held on the same day was pointing out that “it is sophistry to call a law without human rights guarantees an international standard.”

Past related article:
> Shiokawa calls for scrapping bill to expand state secret protection law to economic field [March 20, 2024]
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