The Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (LDP) led ruling coalition passed the ominous new Designated Secrets Bill yesterday in the middle of the night (circa 23:40), apparently fearing that the light of another day, or the harsh radiation of the truth, would cause the legislation to shrivel up and die. The ruling government cut off debate and forced a vote in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, The Diet, before the witching hour. 130 were in favor, 82 were opposed.
The law will punish journalists and whistleblowers who divulge government secrets with up to ten years in prison, and up to five years for those who “instigate leaks” (ask questions about state secrets). There is no independent third-party organization set in place to monitor how the law is applied and it gives every ministry and the smallest government agency or related committee carte blanche to declare any inconvenient information “top secret.”