The Daily Manila Shimbun


Gov’t mulling submitting conspiracy bill in upcoming Diet session

January 6, 2017

TOKYO- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of senior members of the ruling coalition Thursday that the government plans to submit a bill to criminalize conspiracy during the next ordinary Diet session beginning later this month, according to an attendee. The bill would aim at enhancing Japan's ability to ward off terrorism connected to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government's top spokesman, said earlier in the day. Initiatives to add a conspiracy charge to the existing law on organized crime have floundered in the past, amid concerns the change could encourage more invasive state surveillance and allow investigators to arbitrarily punish people who have not committed any crime. Thursday's meeting between senior government officials and members of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito followed Abe's announcement the day prior that the Diet session will convene Jan. 20. "With (the Olympics and Paralympics) now just three years away, we must take every measure to prevent organized crime, including terrorism, in advance," Suga told a press conference. The new bill is expected to contain new terms and definitions in an effort to avoid the same fate as three previously scrapped bills. "We are making final arrangements reflecting the opinions that have previously come up in the Diet," Suga said. The government views the introduction of a conspiracy charge as a prerequisite for Japan to ratify the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted in 2000. Suga pointed out that Japan is among a small minority of U.N. members -- and the only member of the Group of Seven industrialized countries -- yet to have done so. (Kyodo News)