Stop Abe’s adverse constitutional revision and abuse of power
Fury is erupting across the country over Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s abuse of power. Sovereign power rests with the people, not with people in the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. We, the people are the main players in this nation. The Abe government should listen to the voice of the people and respond to their questions.
The Abe government is also turning its back on the international community by rejecting outright UN special rapporteurs’ concerns and criticisms. A nation ruled by such government cannot be called a democracy. Let us demand everywhere that the Abe government resign now.
We must stop anti-conspiracy legislation and policy of turning Japan into a country that wages war
An anti-conspiracy bill, which makes it a crime to conspire with others to commit terrorism and a raft of other crimes, was rammed through the both Houses without enough deliberation. The bill, if was enforced, would punish people’s thought in violation of the Constitution. But the questions and concerns that have been raised remain unanswered.
The government says ordinary people will not be targets of surveillance under the anti-conspiracy law. But it is police that decides that a person is an ordinary person or a member of a crime syndicate? In order to obtain evidence supporting the allegation that two or more people are planning an act of terrorism or other criminal acts, police might intercept phone calls, hack into emails or even eavesdrop on ordinary people’s conversations.
The government’s argument that the legislation is needed to fight terrorism has proven to be a lie. In the first place, terrorism cannot be thwarted by criminalizing conspiracy.
Why is the Abe government rushing to get the anti-conspiracy bill enacted?
Cartoonist KOBAYASHI Yoshinori gave unsworn testimony in the Diet, saying the anti-conspiracy legislation will only discourage people from expressing their opinions.
In answer to questions, government officials said that groups operating under the cover of environmentalists or human rights advocates would be investigated.
“Conspiracy crime” would treat all those people who express their opinions or voice their opposition to the government as criminals. It will kill democracy. Legitimate trade union activities would be targets of repression.”
That is why Amnesty Japan, Greenpeace, and other human rights organizations are joining forces to stop the anti-conspiracy legislation, and Joseph Cannataci, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to privacy, and PEN International are expressing their concerns.
In prewar Japan, the Public Order Maintenance Act even chose trade unions and religious organizations as targets of repression, and arrested their members. That’s how the rulers went so far as to crack down on people who expressed their opposition to war or who thought they would reject war.
The anti-conspiracy legislation would be a milestone to turning Japan into a country that wages war.
People are asking to answer their questions about Moritomo, Kake scandals
While questions remain unanswered why and how school operator Moritomo Gakuen was offered an 800-million-yen discount in its purchase of national land, another scandal came to light. School operator Kake Gakuen, which is run by a confidant Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s, had its plan to start a veterinary school (veterinary department of Okayama University of Science) approved by the government, the first in 52 years. What’s more, Kake Gakuen was allowed to use public land for free and received money in subsidy from Ehime Prefecture and Imabari City. A total of 13.3 billion yen in tax money was used for the school.
A document suggesting that the prime minister’s influence was used to make the Kake Gakuen project possible has been revealed. It was written apparently to remind education ministry bureaucrats of the prime minister’s intent to approve the licensing of the veterinary department.
The Prime Minister’s office refused to admit the existence of the document by saying it is just another anonymous document. It insisted that there is no need to investigate into the allegations.
The Diet should use its power to investigate into national politics to establish the truth of the matter.
Prime Minister Abe, his wife, and others should be subpoenaed to the Diet to give sworn testimony.
In South Korea, Japan’s neighbor, President Park Geun-hye was impeached. The question now is that we must not condone Prime Minister Abe appropriating government.
Say ‘No’ to Abe’s attempt to adversely revise the Constitution
On March 3, Prime Minister ABE Shinzo said he hopes to promulgate a new Constitution in 2020 in his message to an assembly of groups advocating constitutional revision. He said a clause to constitutionally establish the existence of the Self-Defense Forces should be added to the existing two clauses of war-renouncing Article 9. He also referred to the need to amend the Constitution’s Article 26 to make education free. The prime minister is duty-bound to defend the Constitution. For the prime minister to discuss the need to revise the Constitution is a violation of the supreme law.
Abe wants to add a third clause to Article 9 to make the existence of the Self-Defense Forces constitutional. The idea is that by providing that the existence of an armed force for self-defense is not denied, the constitutional pledge to renounce war and war potential as provided by the first two clauses in Article 9 would be gutted. Such a constitutional change could allow the government to send Self-Defense Force units without limits.
Abe also argues for constitutionally making education free of charge. That’s unnecessary because Article 26 of the present Constitution, which guarantees equal educational opportunity, can be used as the basis for legislating budgetary and other specific measures to make education free of charge. This issue must not be used as leverage to revise the Constitution.
We are the key players in changing politics; Let us build broader joint action in every local area
On May 3, people marked the 70th anniversary of the Constitution, reaffirming its value and pledging to defend the Constitution against adverse revision at rallies in all 47 prefectures, with a record number of people taking part. In Tokyo, about 50,000 people took part in a big rally in the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park. About 18,000 people participated in Osaka. These rallies were made possible by an organizing joint committee.
The coalition of citizens’ movements are behind the joint parliamentary struggle by opposition parties. In the 150-day ordinary session of the Diet, four opposition parties have carried out join struggle in defense of constitutional democracy, taking on the government on Moritomo and Kake scandals as well as on the anti-conspiracy legislation.
With the pro-constitutional revision forces accounting for two thirds of both houses of the Diet, opposition parties are expanding their joint struggle in single-seat constituencies of the House of Representatives elections to pass critical judgment on them.
In Saitama Prefecture, the 5th All Saitama Rally on June 4 brought together 13,200 people, The Saitama Bar Association, Rengo Saitama, and the Saitama Federation of Trade Unions supported the rally. Their representatives gave speeches. Local liaison councils were organized in all 15 single-seat constituencies of the House of Representatives election.
Growing joint action is driving the Abe government into a corner.