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We protest against ramming bill to regulate land use through Lower House committee and demand it be scrapped

Kurosawa Koichi
Secretary General
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
May 28, 2021

The House of Representatives Committee on Cabinet forced a vote on a bill authorizing regulation of land use on remote islands and near “defense” facilities and important facilities. The committee chairman, Kihara Seiji, invoked his authority to put the bill to a vote even though no consensus had been built between ruling and opposition parties. The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties and the opposition Democratic Party for the People and Nippon Ishin supported the bill. The committee met only twice to discuss the bill. Although it has been revealed that the bill is designed to keep watch on citizens, who are the sovereign power, and to impose restrictions on private rights, no explanation has been given regarding those problems. The Diet has not even held a question-and-answer session with experts as unsworn witnesses. We protest about the forcing of the vote as an act that goes against parliamentary democracy.

Residents of an area within one kilometer from designated “important facilities such as military bases and nuclear power plants would be targets of surveillance. The bill does not say what “important facilities” are.

But in answer to questions in the Diet, the government said that railways and broadcasting stations will be designated in the future as important facilities.

It is possible that a facility in the neighborhood has been designated as an “important facility” to be monitored by the state without the residents’ knowledge.

The bill does not say who are to be targets of surveillance to be investigated. The danger is that people’s thought, creed, organizations, family relations, friends, and acquaintances could be investigated without the Diet checking on the matter.

Subversive acts that hamper the functions of the important facilities” are left undefined even though it says that offenders will be subject to a punishment.

The government explains that such hindrance may include jamming, eavesdropping, and trespassing. But specification will be made in basic guidelines, which will be established after the bill becomes law. Targets of punishment are also ill-defined. Monitoring and protests at military bases and nuclear plants could be regarded as acts hampering the functions of the important facilities. This means the bill would be used to crack down on monitoring activities by civic organizations.

Required facts presented to support the legislation have been proven baseless during discussion in the Diet. Minister of State for Special Missions Okonogi Hachiro referred to the Air Self-Defense Force Base at Chitose, Hokkaido, and the Self-Defense Force coastal defense group on Tsushima island, saying that foreign investors have purchased land near those installations, raising concerns among the residents of the area. The fact of the matter is that no one has petitioned for imposing restrictions on land use in Chitose City, Hokkaido Prefecture, or in Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture. In fact, none of the residents of the areas near these installations are calling for a bill to restrict land use.

Zenroren stands firm against the bill to regulate land use in violation of the Constitution, which aims to establish general surveillance of the people and turn Japan into a country that wages war. We express our determination to fight to get the bill scrapped.

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