In early December of 2013, Japan’s ruling party bosses in the Diet (Japan’s Parliament) rammed through a new law that will give high ranking government officials the power to declare anything to be a state secret by decree and to hide details of that secret for up to 60 years. There are also several ill defined categories, such as “important information to be defined by government ordinances,” that can be kept secret forever, with all records of such secrets being destroyed instead of released.
Under the Kafkaesque law, reporters who encourage or solicit a leak using “grossly inappropriate means” could be locked up for up to 5 years. This is true, despite the fact that a reporter could neither know whether the means they use to encourage a leak would be acceptable, nor whether a leak they encouraged or solicited was related to a secretly declared secret. Why? Well that information is a secret. Further, any citizen who asks about something that was secretly declared a state secret could also be deemed a “reporter” and sent away to pound rocks with chopsticks.
At one point in the midst of the brouhaha over the law, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) Secretary General, Shigeru Ishiba, threatened to have reporters imprisoned under the new law. He also referred to Japanese citizens who were protesting the Stalinist style law as “terrorists.” Of course, we all know what happens to terrorists. Japan’s [sic] Justice Minister (Attorney General), Sadakazu Tanigaki, refused to rule out police raids of newspapers suspected of breaking the law.
The amateur logician inside me insists that I point out something: if a reporter is charged with committing the crime of encouraging a leak of a state secret, the prosecutor filing the charges would have to declare that the leak in question was a secret. Such a declaration itself, logically speaking, would constitute the crime of disclosing a secret, which is punishable by ten years in the hoosegow. Have you ever heard of a politician who was a professional logician prior to taking office? I didn’t think so.
Ostensibly, state secrets would only be declared in cases involving national defense, diplomacy, counter-terrorism, and counter-espionage. In typical tyrannical fashion, the definition of these terms is so loose as to effectively permit the Prime Minister and his stooges to declare anything a state secret. For example, Masako Mori, the state minister in charge of the bill, said the law could be applied to Japan’s nuclear power industry, because it might be a target for terrorists. That would be very convenient for the incompetent bozos at Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency who aided and abetted the building of nuclear power plants on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, an area known for massive tsunamis.
Supporters of this monstrous law tell us not to worry because the Prime Minister is going to appoint a committee to oversee things and make sure that frivolous matters, such as his and his party member’s crimes and dalliances, will not be covered up. In response, those of us who oppose the state secrets law think everyone should laugh in the faces of Prime Minister Abe and his corrupt flunkies. Certainly, Abe will hand pick the committee members and you would have to be insanely naive to believe that the drones he selects would be effective in preventing abuse of the new law.
Why would the Japanese Prime Minister force through this unpopular measure, opposed by 80% of Japanese citizens? One need only take a whiff in the direction of the locus of all the evil in the world, the United States government (USG) and its embassy in Tokyo where the current Ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, resides. “Qualified” because of her family connections and for having raised bribe money campaign contributions for President Obama, she voiced support for the state secrets measure that the USG had been pressuring on its lap dog, Japan. Jailing reporters must be something they teach at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Like criminals everywhere, government boss-type people always want to hide their crimes and you have to wonder what sort of criminal plans the USG and its gang have planned.
Prime Minister Abe’s motivations most likely include his desire to trample Japan’s “Peace Constitution” which prohibits militarism. What better way to violate a constitution than to secretly re-interpret it and then keep the fact of the re-interpretation secret? Further, Article 41 of the constitution says: “The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole lawmaking organ of the State” yet the new law leaves the Diet powerless to know about or control anything that the Prime Minister and his gang deem to be a state secret. To Abe and other control freak politicians, a constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper that can readily be ignored while the rights of the people are violated.
Call me a skeptic, but I don’t believe that the state secrets law is needed so that heavily armed troops can hand out candy bars at disaster relief efforts. Given Japan’s pre WWII history of attacking its neighbors, you can’t blame Chinese and Korean officials for being concerned that Japan is secretly plotting crimes against their countries. According to this expert on international military affairs, Abe’s nefarious motives were revealed as soon as the state secrets law was forced through, as he simultaneously established an American style National Security Council and revised Japan’s military defense strategy. Minutes from this new war council will be kept secret and his new strategy calls for a more aggressive use of the military for non self-defense reasons, probably based on a secret re-interpretation of the constitution.
On the bright side, this new law was very publicly railroaded through in a ham handed way, putting everyone on notice that abuses will occur. People will be expecting and looking for those abuses and the subsequent leaks. Most importantly, everyone will assume that high-ranking government officials are simply lying when they speak, either out of fear that they might disclose a secret or more likely, intentionally covering up some hidden crime or outrage.
In the USA, government bosses testify at public hearings and are presented by the compliant media as if the truth was being told to the gullible booboise. From now on in Japan, there will be no such “kabuki theater” pretense that a Japanese government poo-bah testifying under oath is being honest.
Japan’s ruling party bosses will certainly become much more aggressive in the arrogant belief that they can hide anything they want. I believe that there will be leaks. From my experiences living in Japan, I can say with 100% certainty that normal Japanese people, unlike politicians, are typically very honest and concerned about taking responsibility, even for things they are not necessarily directly responsible for. Given the high-tech nature of modern Japan, the means of privately leaking are available to a tech savvy person who has witnessed a crime or scandal that needs to be made public.
Let’s hope that a heroic Japanese Edward Snowden, E-do-wa-do Su-no-den as we say over here, takes a stand and strikes a blow against the arrogant ruling party elites.
Thanks to Mike “in Tokyo” Rogers for editing my work .