For a more opaque government

Regarding Yuriko Koike’s Nov. 9 article, “Abe’s security bill aims to shutter ‘spy’s paradise’ “: What utter nonsense! Koike acts like Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s most obedient lapdog.

She may be a former defense minister and national security adviser, but Abe’s proposed spy bill isn’t about shuttering Japan’s supposed “spy paradise”; it’s all about making the ruling Liberal Democratic Party government much more secretive, more opaque to political journalists and opposition politicians alike.

Koike is simply attempting to justify this legislative effort by Abe to further repress freedom of speech and freedom of the press with nonsensical worries about unfettered spying in Japan since the days of the postwar American Occupation.

If anything, Japan has had one of the most complex domestic surveillance systems in the world, keeping a discreet eye on the nation since at least the 1980s. Any country that can build and operate supercomputers (and Japan’s technology wizards build some of the best) has the capacity to police or monitor every citizen and resident living within its borders.

Japan is strangely quiet about America’s National Security Agency spy scandal. Why is this? Is it because it would be sheer hypocrisy for any leader in Japan to protest another country’s dominance in surveillance? Koike seems to be a master of talking a lot but saying or revealing very little, like most of her LDP cohorts.

The LDP would have the Japanese public passively accept the new secrecy law and presume that it’s all for their own good. Welcome to the paternalistic Big Brother state of the neo-conservative LDP party. After the law passes, and it will, the boys at Tokyo Electric Power Co. will breathe a collective sigh of relief. The Japanese media will finally be muzzled. No more embarrassing press conferences. Information will be doled out by Japan’s LDP ruling elite on a need-to-know basis.

And guess what? The public will never need to know, nor will the press or the opposition parties.

Suddenly being a journalist in Japan will be the easiest job in the world. Just show up when the LDP-led government announces it has a statement to make, pick up the information packets being distributed by the “Truth Ministry” and publish only what the government wants published.

Japan’s prisons will start to hold those independent-minded investigative journalists who still insist on asking the hard questions or seeking out nongovernment-approved sources. Abe’s medical problems will no longer be a topic of public amusement.

The funny thing is, with America’s powerful surveillance system, including the NSA, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo will know more about the real state of affairs in Japan than any of Abe’s political enemies. Washington will have far greater knowledge of the ongoing Fukushima crisis than even the employees at Japan’s Environment Ministry. Very likely the U.S. Embassy staff will know far more about corruption within the LDP than any journalist or opposition politician in Japan.

Still, Abe has reason to be pleased with himself. He asked the Japanese people to “bend over” and they asked “how far?”

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Richard Wilcox

    Bravo! Not to mention that Fukushima which in some convoluted (or maybe not so) way is connected to the nuclear weapons issue, given that it is no secret LDP politicians (is there any other kind?) have pined for their own nuclear weapons program to become a “normal” country. The scam behind nuclear power is an elephant in the cloak room, any country that wants something as insanely dangerous, unreliable and uneconomic as nuclear power must either be a dupe or desiring to join the nuke weapons club, so they can club their enemies over the head with the threat of it.

    This new law will lead us closer to Stalist Russia where anyone who criticized the government (or didn’t ) is sent off to a Siberian holiday camp to enjoy the good food and sunshine.