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Secrecy law protests ‘act of terrorism’: LDP secretary-general

by Ayako Mie

Staff Writer

Citizens demonstrating against the controversial state secrets bill are committing “an act terrorism,” according to Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba.

In a blog post Friday, he wrote: “If you want to realize your ideas and principles, you should follow the democratic principles, by gaining as much support as you can. I think the strategy of merely shouting one’s opinions at the top of one’s lungs is not so fundamentally different from an act of terrorism.”

In a speech Sunday in Toyama Prefecture, Ishiba maintained his criticism of the rallies being held outside the prime minister’s office. More than 1,000 people gathered there last Tuesday when the ruling coalition rammed the state secrets bill through the Lower House.

“It is doubtful if it is in line with democracy to appeal in a threatening manner that ‘We will never accept it,’ ” Ishiba said in his speech.

But he backtracked on likening the demonstrations to terrorism.

“I retract that part as the demonstration does not fulfill all of the conditions necessary to constitute terrorism,” Ishiba told reporters after the speech. “I see the loud noise as a problem. . . . Demonstrations in general should be welcomed as long as they follow democratic rules, regardless of how many people they draw.”

With the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to pass the bill into law by Friday, when the extraordinary Diet is scheduled to close, the demonstrations outside the prime minister’s office have continued and similar rallies are being held around the country.

Because the bill stipulates that coercing information out of someone with knowledge of state secrets is punishable by up to five years in prison, activists worry it could be used to prosecute people seeking public disclosure of sensitive information. The government has repeatedly denied this is the case and that Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, including public demonstrations.

Ishiba’s comments appear to contradict the government’s stance and have given ammunition to the opposition camp, which has already been critical of the various interpretations of the bill expressed by Cabinet ministers.

Akihiro Ohata, secretary-general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said Sunday during a street speech in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, “It is guaranteed under the Constitution to stage demonstrations,” urging Ishiba “to change his mindset.”

Tadayoshi Ichida, head of the Japanese Communist Party secretariat, told reporters, “It is an unacceptable remark as it declares the people’s voice as terrorism.”

Mizuho Fukushima, deputy chief of the Social Democratic Party, said, “I cannot trust the ruling party, whose member makes such a comment, even if it says it will respect the right to know.”

Information from Kyodo added

  • pchane

    It is still japan or north korea we are talking about here? what a shame… now we should protest outside of japan about local topics lol

  • Al_Martinez

    Dark times are acomin’ to Japan.

  • goatonastick

    He calls protesters for the bill terrorists, yet the bill probably will still pass. What does that say?

  • phu

    The only way his denial could have been any more pathetically predictable is if it had included the phrase “extremely regrettable.” This guy doesn’t even bother to try to understand that his anti-democratic statements are part of the problem people are protesting.

  • chang-hs

    So, when the bill passes, anybody who tries to know what the government is doing will be viewed as a terrorist.

  • Max Erimo

    I would have thought that voicing opposition to the government was a fundamental principle of democracy.

    Alas not in Japan.

    “you should follow the democratic principles, by gaining as much support as you can..” say Mr. Ishida.
    Alas not in Japan. NIce words from the man whose party refused to fulyl explain or garner support and rammed the secrecy rules through the parliament.
    One may say that Japan is well on the way the being a one party state, dare I say, like China. Little or no consultation with the people. Threatening people with opposing ideas with jail. Restricting freedom of the press.
    The big difference is, the people of China actually react and march and demonstrate. The people of Japan are unfortunately ( or from the governement’s point of view fortunately) very passive, letting their rights be eroded.

  • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

    What is blatant disclosure of a political leaders detachment from the hearts and minds of his people. I grant him that protesting is akin to extorting influence; but such is the nature of his ‘democratic ideal’, given that he seems to be dedicated to preserving the status quo. Mind blowing that anyone could be so sceptical and delusional to think this system is ‘effective’ or efficient. Would a global financial crisis help him. i’d have thought they he need only look at the Japanese balance sheet.

  • Philippe Mckay

    when democratic systems are hollow…shouting is the least they can do.

  • Guillaume Vares

    “I see the loud noise as a problem” Tell that to your Uyoku friends then. Ishida’s comments are unfortunately representative of the state of mind of many of his LDP cronies: information should be filtered, populace should be kept quiet, citizens have a duty to the State and not the contrary.

  • disqus_Gvs3G32z1K

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the fingerprinting system will soon be amended to deal with these domestic terrorists.

  • TS13

    Sounds like the LDP Secretary General is taking a page out of the U.S. political playbook.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/stuntmanmike stuntman mike

    The truth is dead. Long Live The Truth.