Hon. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
November 1, 2013
Prot. SC-JP 13-05
The Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace opposes the draft Special Secret Bill
We, the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace, oppose the draft Special Secret Bill from the standpoint of those who respect the basic principles of the Constitution of Japan and those who seek a free and peaceful society where human dignity is protected.
According to this draft, the administration can decide arbitrarily whether any case is to be designated as a “Special Secret”. Thus, in the absence of an efficient information disclosure system, a wide variety of matters can be specified as secrets. In addition, not only government officials but also civilians who know the secret can be subject to sanctions. Even Diet members are held to secrecy.
The following practical results will ensue:
- If the Minister of Defense specifies a matter as a “Special Secret”, it will be carried out in secret, even if it involves such matters as the overseas deployment of the Self Defense Force or joint operations with U.S. military forces in violation of Article 9 of the Constitution.
- Information about nuclear plants including the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Accident whose solution is unforeseeable can be hidden from the public under the pretext of “anti-terrorism”.
- The Diet, which is defined as the highest organ of state power by the Constitution, will be positioned below administrative organs.
- The activities of mass media will be inhibited, so that the right to know that is guaranteed to the people by the Constitution will be extremely limited. (It is true that the draft expresses some concern for the people’s right to know and the freedom of the press, but it is merely a call to make some efforts in that direction.)
- Even if some sort of crackdown against the people were to occur, neither mass coverage nor questioning in the Diet will be allowed so that it is possible that the matter would be shrouded in secrecy forever.
Moreover, we should not overlook the fact that this draft is closely related to moves to admit the right of collective defense by means of re-interpreting the Constitution, as well as moves to establish a National Security Council in Japan. If this draft is adopted, a variety of matters will be carried out in secret under the pretext of strengthening the Japan-US alliance. It will shake the foundation of our resolve for peace announced to the world: “We, the Japanese people resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government.”
For the above reasons, we strongly oppose the draft Special Secret Bill.
Michael Goro Matsuura
Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace
Endorsed by 232 individuals and 30 groups