Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition looks ready to push the controversial amendment to the law against organized crimes — which would penalize people for merely conspiring and preparing to commit nearly 300 types of crimes — through the Lower House as early as this week amid an opposition outcry and sharply divided public opinion. The Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito alliance seems to think that the legislation has been sufficiently deliberated, but it appears that many questions and doubts raised over the bill have not been adequately addressed.

One of the questions repeated in the Diet has been who will be the primary target of the legislation. Members of the Abe administration have emphasized that "ordinary people" would not be targeted for investigation and prosecution. They had reason to do so — the government's past aborted "conspiracy crime" bills were unpopular because the broad reference to "groups" as their target incurred criticism that the activities of civic groups and other legitimate organizations could also be targeted by investigators for hard-to-define acts of conspiracy to commit a crime.

In reviving the aborted bill by recasting it an anti-terrorism legislation, the administration took pains to distance it from earlier attempts — now the target was defined as "organized crime group," and people would not be punished for merely plotting a crime but need to have also made actual (though not clearly defined) preparations for the crime to be penalized. In stressing the need for the legislation as an anti-terrorism effort, Abe went on to say that Japan cannot host the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo without enacting the law — which sounds hollow given that the need for the legislation was never discussed when Japan was bidding for the games.