Lawmakers, lawyers and citizen groups voiced opposition Wednesday to a proposed bill that would make conspiracy to commit a crime punishable for more than 600 offenses even if no crime is actually carried out.
Six lawmakers, including Democratic Party of Japan member Satoshi Takayama and Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima, joined a rally in Tokyo with about 50 people to protest the bill, which was recently revised by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to narrow its target group.
“The bill is today’s version of the Peace Preservation Law,” said the Japan Communist Party’s Sohei Nihi, comparing the bill to the 1925 law that forbade conspiracy or revolt against “the national essence” of Japan and effectively criminalized ideologies that would threaten the emperor-centered social order.
“We must work together to scrap the bill,” he said.
Other participants included officials of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, an official from the Japanese Center of International P.E.N.
The bill was initially submitted to the Diet in 2003 because the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime that Japan signed in December 2000 requires signatory nations to establish conspiracy charges. The contentious bill was scrapped twice and resubmitted.