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.
The Abe administration says the legislation it is preparing for the current Diet session is entirely different in that it seeks to punish people not just for plotting to commit a crime but for making actual preparations for the crime, such as raising funds and procuring weapons. It is now billed as legislation to penalize "preparing for terrorism and other acts." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who calls it "totally inaccurate" to label the planned legislation a "conspiracy crime" bill, claims that Japan cannot host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo without enacting the legislation and joining the U.N. convention.