|Japan Parliament and prime minister Shinzo Abe. Photographer: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg|
Japan’s more powerful lower house of Parliament approved a state secrecy bill late Tuesday [...]
Critics say it might sway authorities to withhold more information about nuclear power plants [...]
The move is welcomed by the United States [...]
lawyer Hiroyasu Maki said the bill’s definition of secrets is so vague and broad that it could easily be expanded to include radiation data [...]
Journalists who obtain information “inappropriately” or “wrongfully” can get up to five years in prison.
Taro Yamamoto [an upper house lawmaker] said the law threatened to recreate a fascist state in Japan.
“This secrecy law represents a coup d’etat by a particular group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he told a press conference in Tokyo.
“I believe the secrecy bill will eventually lead to the repression of the average person.
It will allow those in power to crack down on anyone who is criticising them – the path we are on is the recreation of a fascist state.”
He said the withholding of radiation data after the Fukushima disaster showed the Japanese government was predisposed to hiding information from its citizens and this law would only make things worse. [...]
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper likened the law to “conspiracy” regulations in pre-war Japan and said it could be used to stymie access to facts on nuclear accidents.
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