The recently enacted Act on Punishment of the Preparation of Acts of Terrorism and Other Organized Crimes, which took effect Tuesday, is aimed at having investigative authorities prevent organized crime before irreparable harm is done at an earlier stage, namely by making subject to punishment the stage in which acts of organized crime are being planned and prepared. This has major significance as the legislative action is in line with international standards and ideas about global standards.

A key feature of organized criminal groups today is that their activities cross national borders, necessitating joint international efforts to crack down on them. Even if Japan were not the target of an attack, it is possible that the planning and preparation for a serious crime in another country could take place in Japan. If Japan were to continue to have no regulations to deal with such crimes and be unable to cooperate with other countries, planning and preparation of drug-related crimes and terror attacks elsewhere could occur in our country without being restricted by law — potentially creating a loophole in international regulations.

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime — of which Japan has yet to become a member — requires all participants to impose substantial punishment on such crimes at their early stages. More specifically, Article 5 of the convention requires all member states to establish as criminal offenses either or both of "agreeing to commit a serious crime" (crime of agreement) and "taking an active part in the general criminal activity of an organized criminal group" (crime of participation).