Fukushima – Japan Parliament Approves Contentious Secrets Law

Fu45On Friday Japan’s parliament approved a state secrets law that stiffens penalties for leaks by government officials and for journalists who seek such information, overriding criticism that it could be used to cover up government abuses and suppress civil liberties.

The ruling coalition forced a vote on the bill in an upper house committee on Thursday. Despite stalling tactics by opposition parties, the full upper house approved the bill on Friday by 130 to 82.

The more powerful lower house had approved the bill last week.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is seeking to increase Japan’s global security role and create a more authoritarian government at home, says the law is needed to protect national security and assuage U.S. concerns over the risks of sharing strategically sensitive information with Tokyo.

Critics worry the law could be used to hinder public disclosures, punish whistleblowers or muzzle the media since journalists could be jailed for seeking information they do not know is classified as secret.

The bill allows heads of ministries and agencies to classify 23 vaguely worded types of information related to defense, diplomacy, counterintelligence and counterterrorism, almost indefinitely.

Even some members of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party complained that the government rushed too quickly to get the bill approved before the end of the current parliamentary session.

„I think there needs to be more explanation,“ party member Takashi Uto said during the committee debate. „Naturally people are concerned because they don’t know what will be a secret.“

Most objections to the legislation were over human rights implications and over the lack of a guarantee of independent or parliamentary oversight over secrecy decisions. However, during the final debate, lawmakers also questioned how the law might affect civilian employees doing business with government agencies.

„People will be living in a society where they could be punished for not knowing what’s secret and what’s not,“ Japan Communist Party lawmaker Sohei Nihi said in arguing against the bill before its passage. „Arrests, court judgments, all could be secret. This would violate the constitution.“

Foreign businesses engaged in defense contracting, or even companies dealing in „dual-use“ technologies and products that have military applications could be affected, said Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo.

„If you’re in contact with the government, you’re at risk of crossing a line even if you don’t know there’s a line there,“ Repeta said. „You could be in the position of trying to sell a product that might involve designated secrets. It’s something companies have to think about. It’s an entirely new area.“

Steve Vickers, CEO of Steve Vickers Associates, a risk mitigation and political risk company operating throughout Asia, said he doubted the bill would have much impact on most businesses.

But there are greater potential pitfalls for China-related business, said Vickers, who sees the legislation as mainly aimed at concerns over leaks of sensitive information to China.

„Mainland (China) firms in certain specific technical areas might come under greater scrutiny,“ Vickers said. „The greater risk is to Japanese firms with exposure in the mainland currently.“

The government says details of the legislation can be worked out after its passage and has appealed to the public for „understanding.“

The government was eager to pass the secrets bill because it is needed for an associated measure that established a National Security Council that made the prime minister the top of the chain of command, thus giving him more power.

Older Japanese, intellectuals, lawyers and activists fear the country could be edging toward the sort of suppression of free press and free speech seen before and during World War II which resulted in the arrests of tens of thousands of people. Thousands of protesters turned out to beat drums and rally against the legislation, which surveys show is not popular with the general public.

The law mandates prison terms of up to 10 years for government officials who leak secrets. Journalists who get information in an „inappropriate“ or „wrong“ way could be jailed for up to five years. It bans attempted leaks, „inappropriate“ reporting, complicity and solicitation.

The ruling coalition forced a vote on the bill in an upper house committee on Thursday. Despite stalling tactics by opposition parties, the full upper house approved the bill on Friday by 130 to 82.

Japan’s opposition Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers leave the upper house in their protest against a state secrets law before voting at Parliament in Tokyo Friday night, Dec. 6, 2013. Japan’s parliament has approved a state secrets law that stiffens penalties for leaks by government officials and for journalists who seek such information, overriding criticism that it could be used to cover up government abuses and suppress civil liberties. Despite stalling tactics by opposition parties, the full upper house approved the bill on Friday by 130 to 82. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Japan Official: “This is the way the reign of terror begins!” — Lawmaker is “physically restrained”; Outrage as secrets bill rammed through.

Two months after the fukushima Dai ichi meltdown, a French newspaper published an article co-authored by a French engineer and an economist. They both argued that the risk of a nuclear accident in Europe in the next thirty years is not unlikely but on the contrary, it is a certainty. They claimed that in France the risk is near to 50% and more than 100% in Europe.

Read the full study here.

Japan enacts state secrets law late Friday night amid revolt — “It criminalizes investigative journalism” — Terrorism defined as “imposing one’s opinions on others”

The passing of the law coincides with a worldwide debate on secrecy after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents and a U.S. Army private leaked information to anti-secrecy group Wikileaks.

Japan moving to label nuclear power as „important“ in energy policy

Members of a government panel broadly agreed Friday to draft a long-term national energy plan stating that nuclear power is an „important“ source of electricity in resource-poor Japan, even as the country struggles to recover from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

„Nuclear power should continue to be used on the condition that its safety is ensured, and it is an important and basic power source that supports the stability of Japan’s energy supply and demand structure,“ a preliminary draft summarizing the opinions of the panel said.

Akio Mimura, the head of the panel and senior adviser to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., told reporters after the meeting that he felt there was „no strong opposition“ to the draft. The panel members will meet again next Friday to wrap up their discussion.

A photographer’s journey to Fukushima two years after the incident

Two years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima a Singaporean visited the area and took numerous photos – have a look to abandoned houses, how decontamination work is carried out, deserted streets and read a report which makes you think – especially when you imagine that dog being so happy that someone shows up and pets him – no wonder that he cries when the person leaves again.

The first steps towards Olympia

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is looking at moving its base for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis operations from a soccer training center so the facility can revert to its original function around 2018, company sources said on Monday.

With the cooperation of the Japan Football Association and local governments, TEPCO expects the so-called „J Village“ — located about 20 kilometers away from the crippled plant — to be used by soccer teams that will visit Japan for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the
sources said.

Deceit, Lies and Death from Cesium 137

A short film made after I visited the NOAA website. Both the Japanese and U.S government have been well aware of the damage being done to the Pacific and the entire planet by Cesium 137. They have decided to ignore it and not to inform the public of the dangers. The complete lack of action on this will surely result in an incredible amount of deaths and unimaginable damage to our planet.

These documents have been hidden away deeply in the NOAA archives. They contain the CGI that Dr Steven Starr used in his recent lecture. I have used the lecture as the soundtrack for this film and also enhanced the CGI to make this video suitable for YouTube and more understandable. Steven Starr is the Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Missouri and he is an Associate member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His work has been published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

His writings appear on the websites of PSR, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, Scientists for Global Responsibility, and the International Network of Scientists Against Proliferation. Since 2007, he has been working together with the governments of Switzerland, Chile, and New Zealand, in support of their efforts at the United Nations to eliminate thousands of high-alert, launch-ready nuclear weapons. Fukushima is far worse than we have been told, Mr Starr describes the impact of the dispersal of radioactive poison cesium 137 throughout the food chain, and he reveals that any intake from food or air will result in death….

Mr. Starr is also an expert at the environmental consequences of a nuclear war. In 2011, he gave an address to the U.N. General Assembly describing the dangers that nuclear weapons and nuclear war poses to all nations and peoples. He has given presentations to Ministry Officials, Parliamentarians, Universities, citizens and students from around the world, and specializes in making technical scientific information understandable to all audiences. Have a look at the model here as well.

Netzfrau Lisa Natterer

more information: Fukushima 

1,000 days after Fukushima: Der Brief einer japanischen Mutter – Letter from a Fukushima mother

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