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‘Democratic Deficit’ in Japan: The Secrecy Law







Democratic deficit’ is often used to claim that ‘the European Union and its various bodies suffer from a lack of democracy and seem inaccessible to the ordinary citizen because their method of operating is so complex’.

After Tokutei Himitsu Hogo Ho (the secrecy law) was enacted by the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition on 6 December 2013, this concept has currently been used by the Japanese media to denounce the Japanese government.

‘The secrets bill is one of the key components of Abe’s political agenda to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance. The government has argued such a law is needed to protect classified information provided by foreign allies.

Yet the government has apparently failed to ease public suspicion that the bill, in the name of national security, would allow the government to hide information, dispose of it and jail people who leak or illegally seek such information.

The law would classify information related to defense, diplomacy, counterterrorism and counterintelligence, and the government says it is mainly designed to punish government employees who leak state secrets’.

As the Japan Federation of Bar Associations cautions, anything can be classified as ‘state secrets’ intentionally. Information on US Futenma Base in Okinawa and Japan’s self-defence forces deployment can be categorised as state secrets on‘defence’. The latest information on Japan’s nuclear power plants and its related issues on radioactive contamination could be classified under the category of counterterrorism.

The Japanese public is particularly concerned that their rights to know the latest and accurate information on radiation effects in Fukushima and wider area would be breached by this newly enacted law.

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