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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 22 - 28  > JCP Koike calls for strengthening collaboration of opposition parties and citizens’ groups to dismiss ‘conspiracy bill’
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2017 March 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

JCP Koike calls for strengthening collaboration of opposition parties and citizens’ groups to dismiss ‘conspiracy bill’

March 22, 2017
Amid growing criticism from lawyers, criminal law experts, constitutional scholars and a wide range of citizens, the Abe Cabinet on March 21 submitted to the Diet a bill to criminalize conspiracy.

Successive governments attempted to introduce an anti-conspiracy law three times in the past and were defeated each time. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister Abe-led government is intending to enact the bill in the current session of the Diet.

Later on the same day, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira at a press conference held in the Diet building expressed his determination to scrap the bill by further strengthening the joint efforts of the opposition party bloc and concerned citizens inside and outside the Diet.

Koike pointed out that under the bill, when two or more people “have a talk” or “make a plan” to commit a crime, they will be charged with conspiracy even before any crime is carried out. He said, “The bill goes against the fundamental principle of the modern Criminal Code that only crimes that have actually been committed should be punished. In addition, it violates Article 19 of the Constitution which guarantees the people the freedom of thought and conscience.”

Referring to the government’s argument that establishing legislation against conspiracy is necessary to counter terrorism, Koike said that a provision stipulating the purpose of the bill does not even mention, “terrorism”. Koike cited the fact that Japan already has created domestic laws in line with 13 anti-terrorism international treaties and said, “The government uses the ‘anti-terrorism’ argument to mislead the general public.”

Koike criticized the bill for providing considerable leeway to interpret provisions while failing to specify targets. He noted that under the bill, it is up to law enforcement authorities to judge whether a group is an organized criminal group or not. He went on to say, “The bill will allow police to conduct wiretapping and surveillance of the general public under the pretext of collecting information related to conspiracy charges, which totally infringes on people’s right to freedom of thought and belief.”

Koike pointed out that with opposition parties’ efforts in the Diet and a growing public movement, more and more people are opposing the government attempt to pass the conspiracy bill. Koike said, “Unlike the last time when a similar bill was proposed to the Diet, opposition parties are now joining forces with a wide range of citizens’ movements. The JCP will work hard to strengthen the joint struggles both inside and outside the Diet in order to kill the bill.”

Past related articles:
> JCP Fujino: ‘Conspiracy bill’ will lead to creation of surveillance society [February 3, 2017]
> ‘Conspiracy bill’ will punish citizens for their thoughts and beliefs [January 13, 2017]
> Large majority of local bar associations oppose ‘conspiracy bill’ [January 12, 2017]
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