Protesters shout slogans during a march against the government's planned secrecy law, in Tokyo November 21, 2013. Thousands of protesters gathered and marched in Tokyo on Thursday to protest the passage of the bill. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years. The placards and banners read as "Stop! Secrecy Act". REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)via Russia Today / Thousands of people protested in Tokyo against a bill that would see whistle-blowing civil servants jailed for up to 10 years. Activists claim the law would help the government to cover up scandals, and damage the country’s constitution and democracy.

A 3,000-seat outdoor theater in a park in downtown Tokyo, near the parliament, was not enough to contain everyone who came on Thursday to denounce government plans to considerably broaden the definition of classified information.

For more photos of the Tokyo protests, see RT’s Gallery.

According to organizers’ estimates, about 10,000 people crowded shoulder-to-shoulder in the isles of the theater and outside of it, holding banners that read: “Don’t take away our freedom.”

The adoption of the law, proposed by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, would enable the authorities to put civil servants responsible for information leaks behind bars for up to 10 years.

This would seriously threaten the freedom of the press, as Japanese media would face serious problems gathering information on burning issues, because state employees would be reluctant to share information for fear of prosecution.

That’s why a group of Japanese journalists gathered at the Nagatacho District, close to the country’s parliament, to protest the proposed bill.

Currently, long prison terms for whistle-blowers only apply to those Japanese citizens who leak classified data that came from the US military.

“The definition of what will be designated as secrets is not clear, and bureaucrats will make secrets extremely arbitrarily,” TV journalist Soichiro Tahara told Japan Daily Press.

Protesting journalists have submitted a petition to the Cabinet Office, calling for the bill to be scrapped.

The proposed law is conceived in such broad terms it allows wide interpretation and could be used for many purposes, for example such as hiding information about the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.


Source and photos: Russia Today

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By Broc West| 1 Comment | Featured, News

1 comment

  1. Japan and all countries around the world need to get rid of nuclear fuel and switch to alternative energy such as solar, wind and geo-thermal. These are safe alternatives for all creatures on Earth.
    Germany took the lead and closed up their Nuclear power plants. Then no one has to hide anything from the people because alternative fuel is safe.

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