Friday, December 6, 2013

(UPDATED) (OT) Japan's State Secrecy Protection Law Passes Upper House Anyway


(UPDATE) Do you want to know what else was passed along with the State Secrecy Protection Law? Two laws to limit the welfare payment for the poor. Unlike the US, Japan's public welfare system pays monthly lump-sum money directly to the recipients. Citing "fraud" (if I remember right, 0.2% of the total payment), the lawmakers in the Upper House voted to practically force family members to take care of the welfare recipients in their families. They increased the fine for fraud from 300,000 yen (US$3,000) or less to 1 million yen (US$10,000) or less. All these to reduce the welfare cost that the national government pays out, to save money.

These are on top of the intimidation and scolding that are dished out to the applicants by the municipal officials in charge of welfare.

Who voted for these two laws? Everyone except for members of Communist Party (11), Social Democrats (3) and two independents (including Taro Yamamoto).

Japan's "right-wing" administration curtails personal freedom and privacy citing the national security, benefits large corporations at the expense of the weakest in the society by cutting their benefits. In other words, they are doing exactly the same as the US's "left-wing" administration.

But that point is completely lost on net citizens of Japan on Twitter. It is also almost completely lost on them (and the media that expresses outrage over the law) that the passage of the State Secrecy Protection Law is the logical result from the two preceding laws that were voted in with overwhelming approval both from the ruling coalition and the opposition (except Communist Party and Social Democrats) - national ID number law and the law to create the national security council copied from the United States.

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The opposition was in disarray, with Democratic Party of Japan walking out at one time, only to come back 10 minutes later to cast votes.

LDP's Minister in charge of consumer affairs and women and children issues, Ms. Masako Mori, has been for some reason in charge of answering questions on the law, to the great frustration of both the opposition and Japanese citizens because of her very flimsy grasp of what the law is about (it is probably because she doesn't have a clue either).

Her statement on the passage, according to Jiji Tsushin (12/7/2013; part):

「政府としてあらゆる手段を使って国民に法律の必要性と、懸念に対する説明を丁寧にしていきたい」と述べた。「緊張する国際情勢の中、国民の命と国家の存立を守るため、喫緊に成立させる必要があった」

[Mori said] "The national government will carefully explain to the citizens using all means available the necessity of this law, and address citizens' concerns." "We needed to pass this law urgently in order to protect the lives of the citizens and the existence of the nation in the tense international situation."


That's "women's power" for you, as touted by the Abe administration (with Ms. Mori as an great example) and by, most recently, the US Vice President Biden on his brief visit in Tokyo on the way to the more important visit to Beijing (where he practically approved China's newly declared Air Defense Identification Zone).

The "tense international situation" Ms. Mori is referring to must be the one that exists with China, which is more manufactured by all parties involved (Japan, China, and the US) than actual.

As an aside, the incompleteness of this headline over at Zero Hedge struck me:

"Japan Secures Final Passage Of Secrecy Bill - Designed by Kafka & Inspired By Hitler?!!"

The most direct design inspiration (or lack of design so that more can be added later - hmmm that sounds quite familiar in the US...) is the US's Patriot Act and what the US NSA and NSC have been doing under the two administrations. Just like the Japanese politicians and industrialists who badly wanted to have their own atomic power after they saw the destruction that the atomic bombs caused in their own country, LDP politicians (for that matter, DPJ politicians too) wanted to have a sweeping power over citizens in the name of national security. It probably makes them feel like they are actually doing something important.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

She and Harry Reid have a lot in common.....Reid on Obamacare (not a lie), and she on the Secret law...

Anonymous said...

Oh, how familiar this all sounds to what we hear in the US already for years: be afraid of .... (fill in the blank: China, terrorists ... whatever works), but don't worry: your government will protect you; it just has to operate with more secrecy. I'd say, indeed, be afraid!
*mscharisma*

Vyse Legendaire said...

It appears the abyss is staring back at the LDP.

Scott said...

I can't believe they actually rammed it through last night. Well that sucks.

Anonymous said...

I'd expect most citizens to be unaware or misinformed of their own country's corruption. That seems to be the norm everywhere. I bet most of the people who voted for the bill didn't know what it was about, either.

Then you have people like my mother who believe that protesting anything is flat out wrong, and that everyone must obey the law no matter what.

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