I would like to explain the significance of the bill criminalizing an act of planning and preparation to commit terrorism and other serious crimes, which was mentioned in The Japan Times editorial of May 27, and the opinion pieces by Jeff Kingston on May 28 and Jiro Yamaguchi on May 30.
Revising the law is necessary for Japan to conclude the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) which already has 187 state parties. Concluding the UNTOC is a pressing issue for Japan, as we are going to host major events attracting many foreign tourists, particularly the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Although Japan signed the convention, current domestic laws do not fulfill the obligations of the convention, impeding Japan from concluding it and cooperating with other countries.
After recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Belgium, the Group of Seven leaders meeting in Sicily called for more cooperation to implement international agreements, including the UNTOC. Updating domestic laws and concluding the treaty will allow Japan to fill an international legal loophole and contribute to preventing organized crime, including terrorism. On May 29, Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, welcomed Japan’s efforts in this regard.
The proposed provision criminalizing an act of planning and preparation to commit terrorism and other serious crimes will apply only to “organized criminal groups,” and the listed crimes to which the provision may apply are rigorously limited to those likely to be committed by such groups. There are few countries that limit the scope of punishment as strictly as Japan does.
Regarding Kingston’s points on Abenomics and “womenomics,” since the inauguration of the Abe administration, nominal GDP has risen by 9.4 percent, or ¥46 trillion, and real GDP has increased by 5.8 percent, or ¥29 trillion, in four years, reaching the highest level of all time.
In particular, there have been significant improvements in employment — an utmost important indicator for people’s well-being. The number of people employed has increased by 1.85 million, with women representing 1.5 million of these new entries into the workforce. The unemployment rate has decreased to 2.8 percent, or close to full employment.
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.