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2013 November 13 - 19 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Over 100 NGOs in Japan jointly call for repeal of secrets protection bill

November 14, 2013
In protest against a secrets protection bill, 102 Non-Governmental Organizations in Japan, which engage in international humanitarian aids and other activities, on November 9 jointly submitted a written protest to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

Representatives of the NGOs on November 13 held a news conference at the Diet building. Nagoya NGO Center President Nishii Kazuhiro expressed his concern over the bill, saying that some of their activities would be designated as specified secrets and members would receive intense background checks from the government.

Okutani Atsuyo, secretary general of the Kansai NGO Council, pointed out that NGOs, which should be open to the public, would probably be prohibited to publicize their activities due to the state secrets legislation.

Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation Secretary General Yamaguchi Masashi said that if the secrets protection bill is enacted, they will be unable to obtain information regarding the threat of terrorism, and this will lead to endangering their staff members.

Lawyer Ito Kazuko, secretary general of Human Rights Now, stressed that the enactment of the bill will “wither citizen’s movements, and paralyze their checks-and-balances function which is essential for democracy,” and called for the abandonment of the bill.
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