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2013 December 11 - 17 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

column  Anti-conspiracy law will allow emergence of increase in police surveillance

December 15, 2013
Akahata ‘current’ column

Many newspapers are criticizing the state secrecy law as unprecedentedly bad. The Hokkaido Shimbun in its Kushiro, Nemuro edition on November 29 ran an interesting column.

The column looks back on the year 2005 when the then Liberal Democratic Party government was taking up an anti-conspiracy statute before the Diet. A reporter with this local paper was gathering news materials about a “surveillance society” and happened to interview a former employee of a hearing aid company who had unknowingly got involved in unlawful police activities.

The ex-employee said that the police had asked the company to make hidden voice recorders in order to catch drug smugglers. However, he later discovered that the police had used the recording device to wiretap a Japanese Communist Party executive. He told the reporter that this experience had made him cautious about abuses in police investigations.

In 1986, it came to light that security police officers of the Kanagawa Police Department had tapped into the home phone of Ogata Yasuo, chief of the JCP International Bureau at that time. Although this act was found to be an organized crime action under the leadership of an illegal organization called “Sakura” which the National Police Agency had established, prosecutors did not indict anyone.

Today, legislation on conspiracy crimes has once again emerged, following the recent enactment of the state secrets protection law. The legislation, if enacted, would allow the police to arrest anyone who “discussed” a crime even though the person did not commit a crime. The police could abuse wiretapping practices in investigations to identify crimes of conspiracy. The government is now reportedly considering revising the wiretapping authorization law and the conspiracy law together.

The police used to monitor conversations sneakily by circumventing the law. What will happen if the government gives legal “endorsement” to extreme surveillance, including wiretapping? It is obvious as shown in the past that security police will go to extremes targeting various organizations and individuals.
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