The Abe administration has decided not to submit to the upcoming Diet session a controversial bill aimed at punishing people involved in plotting serious crimes, government sources said on Wednesday.
The government has so far presented bills to the Diet three times to revise the organized crime punishment law, citing its obligation under an international treaty it signed in December 2000 to fight cross-border organized crime. The Abe administration also sees the need to tighten security ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
But the administration will suspend its attempts to secure passage of the bill, which was intended to punish people involved in planning serious crimes even if they do not commit them, as the proposed measures had stirred fierce opposition.
Critics of the bill such as the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and opposition lawmakers have said that its legal provisions could be used to clamp down on civic groups and labor unions.
“It is undeniable that we will need to develop legislation as we work with the international community in the fight against terrorism and organized crime” following the recent terrorist attack in Paris on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.
At the same time, the top government spokesman said: “There have been various discussions (about the conspiracy bill) and careful consideration should be given to it.”
The sources said the conspiracy bill was not on a list of legislation to be submitted to the 150-day ordinary Diet session.
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will instead focus on securing the early passage during the ordinary Diet session starting Jan. 26 of legislation to enable the Self-Defense Forces to engage in collective self-defense, they said.
The Abe Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution last July to enable Japan to defend allies should they come under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not.