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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 21 - 27  > Bill to make betrayal obligatory passes through Lower House
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2007 March 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Bill to make betrayal obligatory passes through Lower House

March 24, 2007
The so-called “gatekeeper” bill passed through the House of Representatives at its plenary session on March 23 by the majority vote of the Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, and People’s New parties. The Japanese Communist and Social Democratic parties voted against the bill.

Dubbed also as the “betrayal” bill, this bill is to require those who run certain types of business to report to government agencies the transactions of clients or customers suspected to be involved in money laundering without informing the other party. The agencies will report the information to the public safety commission as well as the police.

The bill will impose such obligation on about 220,000 business owners in Japan, including judicial scriveners, insurance firms, and jewelers.

At a Cabinet Committee meeting held before the plenary session, Japanese Communist Party representative Yoshii Hidekatsu demanded that the bill be withdrawn, arguing, “This bill will excessively restrict the rights and freedom of the public in the guise of anti-money laundering.”

At the committee meeting, two out of three witnesses pointed to problems with the bill.

Lawyer Tanaka Takashi, secretary general of the Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom, pointed out that since the bill uses such ambiguous categories as “suspected of committing a crime” for transactions that are required to be reported, it will jeopardize business relationships based on freedom and trust. He said, “This bill also enables the police to accumulate information and monitor some 450,000 business establishments,” adding, “This will lead to placing the economic activities of the public under police surveillance.”

Professor Muraoka Keiichi of Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law said, “This bill will virtually shift the law enforcement authority traditionally exercised by ministries and agencies to the police.” He expressed his opposition to the intent to punish with imprisonment business owners for any failure to report.
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