Monday, September 16, 2013

The State Secrets Law's Surprising Opponent

"I want to live in this Japan I love forever and ever. If , however, because each and every one of us fails to raise his or her voice right now, this bill passes as is during autumn extraordinary session of the Diet -- because we did not act as citizens investigating it..."
Tarento (a.k.a. "celebrity") Fujiwara Norika is known for, well, largely two things (Link). That she might have thoughts as well as...uh...attributes...probably would not strike many folks as likely.

Which is why the Japanese news mediaverse is all in a tizzy about Ms. Fujiwara's September 13 posting to her online diary (Link - J) encouraging her countrymen and women to start paying attention to the new state secrets bill up for passage in the Diet during the fall extraordinary session (Link - J). She urges all citizens, whether for or against the draft, to offer public comment -- and lists the relevant government email and postal addresses and fax number. She also notes that the deadline for public comment is September 17.

The nation's news organizations were not going to go quietly in the darkening fall without making a huge fuss about the draft law, which commentators see as seriously restricting the public's ability to learn about government misbehavior, malfeasance and/or incompetence. The Abe government has unsurprisingly promised that the law will not endangering anything except behavior threatening to Japan's security (Link). Reporters, cognizant of how enhancement of the legal protections on personal privacy have become a blanket protection on the heretofore unreported conduct of public figures, have not unreasonable doubts as to whether the secrecy law will simply criminalize what remains of investigative journalism.

Ms. Fujiwara's sudden championing of the public's right to know has made the task of news media organizations -- which can be accused of hectoring the electorate and making mountains out of molehills -- highlighting the dangers of the state secrets law a lot easier -- and a lot sexier too.

Help comes in from strange quarters sometimes.

Later -The September 18 edition of The Japan Times has provided more details of Ms. Fujiwara's opposition to the bill. (Link)

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