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2014 May 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Abe Cabinet interferes with magazine’s article on State Secrecy Law

May 15, 2014
The Abe government interfered in a magazine’s plan to take up the State Secrets Protection Law using subterfuge, Akahata revealed on May 15.

The magazine is VERY, a well-known women’s fashion monthly published by Kobunsha. It has a circulation of about 331,000.

In December last year, the monthly’s editorial department came up with a plan to feature the issue of constitutional revision that the Abe administration is aiming at. It selected five people, including learned experts and ordinary citizens, and had them discuss the draft of constitutional amendments presented by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party as well as the secrecy act forcibly enacted by the governing coalition in the same month. After the discussion, one of the five wrote about the magazine’s project on Twitter.

According to the editorial department, a “bookstore worker” called the desk in early January. The caller inquired when the feature article will be published. A staff member replied that it will appear in the March issue due to hit the stand on February 7.

Right after that call, an official of the Cabinet Public Relations Office called the magazine. He said, “I learned about the project from a bookstore. If you feature an article on the secrecy law, I want you to interview Cabinet Office officials as well.” The desk rejected this “request”.

The documents of the PR office Akahata obtained through an information disclosure request stated that an individual posted a message on Twitter on December 12, indicating that the periodical is planning to feature the special secrets law.

In response to Akahata’s inquiry, a Cabinet official said, “We learned of the magazine’s plan on Twitter. As we couldn’t know when the article would appear, we asked a bookstore about it. They then asked the publisher and gave us the information.” This means that the authorities are not only monitoring Social Networking Service, including Twitter, but also having private entities engaged in “spying”.

Lawyer Ota Keiko, also appearing in the VERY’s article, said as follows: It was an epochal event that a women’s fashion magazine featured the constitutional revision issue. After it was published, I received lots of requests for an interview or to speak at study meetings on the topic. The administration probably stuck its nose into our business for fear that public opposition to the secrecy act and changing the pacifist Constitution might spread to a new stratum of the general public. The Cabinet’s move revealed its real nature.

Past related article:
> PM will classify state secrets all by himself: JCP Akamine [February 22, 2014]
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