On Nov. 29, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba criticized public demonstrations near the Diet building by those opposed to the state secrets bill. "I believe the tactics of simply shouting (opinions) at the top of one's voice seems not so different from an act of terrorism in essence," he wrote in his blog of that date.

In the apology and "correction" that he issued Dec. 2, Ishiba crossed out the phrase "not so different from an act of terrorism" in a manner that left it legible and added "different from the way a democratic method should be." Obviously Ishiba intended his blog readership to understand that his original sentiment remained intact.

This episode shows that the LDP's No. 2 official fails to understand the importance of protests and demonstrations as a fundamental democratic means for citizens to express their opinions and demands as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution, which in part says, "Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed."