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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 22 - 28  > Conspiracy bill is modern version of oppressive wartime law: human rights lawyer
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2017 March 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

Conspiracy bill is modern version of oppressive wartime law: human rights lawyer

March 23, 2017
The Abe government-sponsored “conspiracy bill” is the modern version of the wartime Public Order Maintenance Law. The following is an Akahata interview with lawyer Masumoto Kazuhiko, the head of a group seeking state compensation for victims of the notoriously oppressive legislation:

I feel that the Abe government is working harder than ever to enact the conspiracy bill after similar measures were proposed and scrapped three times.

Why is the government so adamant? This is because its economic policy dubbed “Abenomics” has turned out to be a complete failure and because the Abe Cabinet feels threatened by the growing alliance between opposition parties and concerned citizens. The Abe administration is frantically attempting to overcome its political crisis.

In 2013, the State Secrecy Act was passed. In 2014, the Abe Cabinet approved the decision to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. In 2015, the unconstitutional national security legislation (the war legislation) was enacted. In this context, this conspiracy bill could be considered to be a step to change the current Constitution. As the war legislation violates the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, the conspiracy bill will lead to infringing upon people’s freedom and human rights which are guaranteed under the supreme law.

JCP oppressed under the wartime law

The main purpose of the Public Order Maintenance Law was to oppress and destroy the Japanese Communist Party which was founded in 1922. The JCP called for building a democracy to replace the then autocratic Emperor (Tenno) system.

Since its foundation, the JCP had advocated popular sovereignty based on the equality of the sexes; universal suffrage for people aged 18 and over; an eight-hour workday system; equal pay for equal work; and the freedom of speech, the press, assembly and association. Using the Public Order Maintenance Law, the Tenno government cracked down on communists as lawless elements who aim to change national policy and overthrow the private ownership system.

These JCP demands actually represented the wishes of the general public at that time. In fact, after the JCP was forced to stop its activities due to the harsh crackdown, the Special Higher Police began to target ordinary citizens seeking peace and the improvement of living conditions.

Determined to fight to scrap the bill

We should remember the fact that the Public Order Maintenance Law opened the way for Japan’s war of aggression in which more than 20 million Asians in neighboring countries and over three million Japanese were killed.

The need now is to apply the lessons learned from the fight against the suppressive act. Our organization has the experience to play a leading role in such efforts. We are determined to do what we can in order to defeat the conspiracy bill.
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