Japan’s new State Secrets Protection law
Illustration: Photo by Teppei Sato

A Matter of Trust

Japan’s new State Secrets Protection law

By Todd Wojnowski

“Trust me.”

It’s perhaps the least-trustworthy sentence in existence—even children know to put their guards up when they hear it. There’s something diabolical in it that we connect with Hollywood villains and used car salesmen. Directly asking people to trust you is a sure way to tip off that they probably have no reason to, probably shouldn’t.

Yet that’s precisely the underlying message of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s dangerous “State Secrets Protection” legislation, which will go into effect later in 2014. The law gives the government authority to designate information as off-limits for the public, but was written with vague, sweeping language that leaves the door open for serious and frightening abuses of power. In addition, the law takes away the public’s access to vital information, strips the media of its speech and journalistic rights and violated the Diet’s own conventions for discussing and voting on legislation. Information deemed “secret” can be locked away from view for up to 60 years, and even beyond in certain circumstances. It gives a lot of unquestioned power to the big man at the top, telling us to trust him.

And that’s just the beginning.

For the complete article by Todd Wojnowski go to http://metropolis.co.jp/features/feature/a-matter-of-trust

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