Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday tasked Justice Minister Jinen Nagase and Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi with ensuring that the contentious bill to make conspiracy a crime is passed during the Diet session convening Jan. 25.
In 2000, Japan signed the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which set guidelines for crime-fighting cooperation. The treaty obliges member countries to enact domestic legislation that establishes conspiracy as a crime.
The conspiracy bill was initially submitted to the Diet in 2003 but was scrapped twice. Deliberations on the latest version submitted last year have gone nowhere amid protests that the legislation would lead to suppression of freedom of thought and expression.
The Justice Ministry claims the legislation is designed to target only organized crimes by groups, including yakuza and fraud rings.