Japan Times – Abe’s second strike agains

Japan Times – Abe’s second strike against freedoms

The Abe administration has reportedly started preparations for introducing the “crime of conspiracy” by revising the law on the punishment of organized crime and the control of proceeds resulting from crime.

Although it has not been decided when a revision bill will be submitted to the Diet, there is the danger that it will give the government a strong weapon to control civic movements, especially those that oppose government policies.

The recently enacted state secrets law will not only greatly limit people’s access to government information but also punish those who try to get secret information even if they didn’t know it was designated as secret. The introduction of the crime of conspiracy will further weaken freedoms that have already been hollowed out by the secrecy law. So it is important for citizens to start a widely based action to stop this move by the administration.

If the crime of conspiracy is introduced, one could be punished for joining others to plan a crime even if it is not actually carried out or even if no concrete preparations have been made — a huge departure from the current principle that arrests can be made only when a crime has actually been committed or attempted.