The Ecologist

 
More articles about
Related Articles

State Secrets Act to supress Fukushima information

Oliver Tickell

30 October 2013

Japan's new State Secrets Act promises a fearful clampdown on journalist and whistle-blowers. Critics say its main purpose is to lock down information about Fukushima.

The Act is already being referred to by campaigners as the "Fuk-hush-ima Law

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe  is planning a new State Secrets Act that could supress publication and dissemination of information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster and other contentious issues. 

A draft of the new law was approved by his cabinet last week and is likely to be passed in the current Parliamentary session, since Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led bloc enjoys a big majority in both houses of parliament. Moreover the opposition is fragmented and disorganised.

The law would impose harsh penalties on those who leak secrets, or even try to obtain them. Journalists found to be breaking the law could be sent to prison for five years. Government employees rleasing secret information could be imprisoned for a decade.

Media and legal experts also say the law is both broad and vague, giving the Japanese government enormous scope to determine what would actually qualify as a state secret. Furthermore the law makes no provision for any independent review process, leaving wide latitude for abuse.

"Basically, this bill raises the possibility that the kind of information about which the public should be informed is kept secret eternally," Tadaaki Muto, a lawyer and member of a task force on the bill at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, told Reuters. "Under the bill, the administrative branch can set the range of information that is kept secret at its own discretion."

The proposed law names four categories of ‘special secrets’, which would be covered by protection - defense, diplomacy, counter-terrorism and counter-espionage. It would also create a poweful new National Security Agency modelled on the US's NSA.

Critics of the Act believe that one of its main objectives could be to prevent the release of information relating to the ongoing nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima - reported today to have already cost as much as $100 billion. The Act is already being referred to by campaigners as the "Fuk-hush-ima Law".


 

Previous Articles...

Work for The Ecologist as a Contributing Editor

ECOLOGIST COOKIES

Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...

 

FOLLOW
THE ECOLOGIST

 

Help us keep the Ecologist platform going

Since 2012, the Ecologist has been owned and published by a small UK-based charity called the Resurgence Trust. We work hard to support the kind of independent journalism and comment that we know Ecologist readers enjoy but we need your help to keep going. We do all this on a very small budget with a very small editorial team and so joining the Trust or making a donation will show us you value our work and support the platform which is currently offered as a free service.

Join The Resurgence TrustDonate to support the Resurgence Trust