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The Abe administration’s move to amend the law against organized crime to make it criminally punishable for people to plot and prepare a crime — without actually committing the act — must be scrutinized due to concerns over the risk of abuse by investigative authorities. The administration also needs to address worries that people’s lives would become subject to broader surveillance by investigators as they seek to thwart crimes before they take place.

The government’s past bills to make it punishable for people to merely conspire to commit a range of serious crimes — which it said was essential for Japan to join a 2000 United Nations treaty aimed at fighting cross-border organized crimes — met with broad criticism and were scrapped each time they were submitted to the Diet in the early 2000s.

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