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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 May 20 - 26  > JCP Shimizu reveals 85% of police wiretaps have nothing to do with crime
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2015 May 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

JCP Shimizu reveals 85% of police wiretaps have nothing to do with crime

May 22, 2015
Around 85% of wiretapping operations by police authorities contained no conversations related to criminal activities, revealed Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shimizu Tadashi while expressing his opposition to a bill to relax the regulations on police wiretapping.

The bill, now being discussed in the House of Representatives, is to revise the wiretapping law, aiming to allow law enforcement authorities to eavesdrop as a mean to investigate not only specific organized crimes, but also more common crimes such as theft.

JCP Shimizu at a House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee meeting held on May 20 pointed out that after the current wiretapping law went into force in 2000 amid strong public criticism, the police conducted 87,814 wiretaps by 2014. Of them, 74,315 or 85% failed to obtain information related to criminal activities, he stressed. Shimizu criticized the criminal investigation authorities for abusing the wiretapping law.

Justice Minister Kawakami Yoko in response to Shimizu insisted that the use of wiretapping is strictly restricted to the minimum necessary.

Shimizu also asked how many times wiretapping records were used as evidence in court. A Justice Ministry official replied that the ministry has no statistic on that.

The JCP lawmaker stressed that the need now is not to give the police a free hand to wiretap citizens’ private conversations, but to discuss again whether the police should have the right to wiretap without probable cause in the first place.


Past related articles:
> Gov’t approves bill to allow police wiretapping of citizens’ communications [March 14, 2015]
> Justice minister’s panel proposes ‘reform’ enabling police to bug citizens’ communications [October 16, 2014]
> Ogata at anti-wiretapping rally talks about his experience being bugged [April 16, 2014]
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