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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 August 27 - September 2  > JCP in Diet demands revocation of ban on access to document on secret arrangement with U.S.
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2008 August 27 - September 2 [US FORCES]

JCP in Diet demands revocation of ban on access to document on secret arrangement with U.S.

August 28, 2008
Japanese Communist Party representative Sasaki Kensho in the Diet demanded that the National Diet Library (NDL) revoke the ban on public access to a document concerning a Japan-U.S. secret arrangement concerning U.S. military crimes in Japan.

On August 27, Sasaki used his question time at the meeting of the subcommittee on library management of the House of Representatives Diet Steering Committee to criticize the NDL for yielding to government pressure to withhold the document.

The Justice Ministry at the end of last May requested the NDL to limit public access to the material, which had been made available to the public. The reason the ministry gave for withholding it from public scrutiny was that keeping it open could damage Japan’s relations of trust with a foreign country.

In late June, the NDL decided to accept the request and banned access to this material.

Sasaki insisted that the NDL must abide by its position as an independent state institution. The NDL must immediately make the document in question available to the public, he added.

He also called for a review of the NDL’s internal regulations allowing it to ban access to documents whenever the government decides to keep the material issued by the state and other public organizations secret.

The NDL got the document in question from a secondhand bookstore and made it available from March 1990.

A Democratic Party lawmaker stated that the relevant internal code should be reviewed to meet the era of information disclosure.

After the discussion, the committee chair promised to discuss whether the bylaw should be reviewed at by the committee in the next Extraordinary Session of the Diet.
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