The state secrecy bill before the Diet could have a powerful chilling effect on news reporting in Japan. Prior LDP governments have repeatedly proposed laws creating broad secrecy powers, but dropped them in the face of popular opposition. The current bill has been condemned by news organizations, ad hoc groups of university professors, the national federation of bar associations, labor unions and other citizen groups, and even by United Nations special rapporteurs and some international organizations like the PEN Club.
Why all the fuss? This brief article will attempt to describe potential application to news reporting if the bill becomes law.
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