Japan passes anti-terror law among protests
17 June, 2017
Japan passed a controversial anti-terror conspiracy law last Thursday despite street protests and warnings, including from the UN officials, that it would stomp on citizens' privacy rights and lead to over-the-top police surveillance.
The government of PM Shinzo Abe insists the law, which calls for a prison term of up to five years for planning serious crimes, is a prerequisite for implementing a UN treaty against transnational organised crime which Japan signed in 2000. The government argues also the bill is necessary to prevent terrorism ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokio.
The law bans the plotting of 277 crimes, some serious such as terrorism, but also lesser offences such as copying music, competing in a motor boat race without a licence, mushroom picking in conservation forests and others. Some Japanese media have likened the bill to the World War II-era "public order maintenance law" under which ordinary people were arrested for political offences, exercising labour rights and anti-war activities.