Last Friday I published an unhappy look at the official secrets bill the ruling coalition intends to vote into law this Diet session. On Saturday, Professor Lawrence Repeta of Meiji University published a serious examination of the bill in the context of bureaucratic implementation of existing secrecy laws. (Link)
The inescapable conclusion: the pending Official Secrets bill is absolutely wrong for this blessed land. The country lacks most of the institutional and juridical frameworks and habits necessary to prevent an abuse of the power to declare certain information an official secret. Oh certainly, bureaucrats could detoxify situation by simply voluntarily foregoing the invocation of the law. How likely is that sort of benign neglect, though, when the new law creates a mechanism for bureaucrats to hide, then erase, any wrongdoing or error?