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A civic group aiming to abolish a new wiretapping law on Monday submitted to the House of Representatives a petition with 19,730 signatures of people opposing the law.

Members of the group said the petition is the fifth and the total number of signatures now comes to more than 200,000.

A Diet members group, mainly from the opposition camp — the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party — are preparing a bill to abolish the current wiretapping law and will submit it to the Diet as soon as possible, members of the Diet group said.

The ruling parties in August 1999 railroaded a wiretapping bill through the Diet with the help of New Komeito, a party that was in the opposition camp at the time but is now a member of the ruling coalition, led by the Liberal Democratic Party.

The wiretapping law came into force Aug. 15. It allows law enforcement authorities to monitor private communications while investigating crimes involving people smuggling, illegal drugs, guns or murder thought to have been committed by organized crime groups.

Critics argue that the law violates constitutional provisions regarding the secrecy of communications and protection of privacy.

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