Edited by Federico Fabbrini and Vicki C. Jackson
Chapter 7: Japanese efforts to have a secrecy law and a ‘National Security Council’: a runner who is one lap behind? or good things come to those who wait?
This chapter aims to explore the constitutional challenges posed by transnational co-operation and the comparative divergence in anti-terrorism (and national security) policy and practice by examining a recent legislative development in Japan after the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) regained the majority in the Lower House in December 2012 and then reinforced its strength with its victory in the Upper House in July 2013. It particularly focuses on the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (APSDS) that was proposed by the LDP–Komei Party coalition cabinet on 25 October 2013 and that passed the Diet (legislature) on 5 December 2013. The APSDS defines tokutei himitsu (特定秘密 specially designated secrets, hereinafter SDS), which include sensitive information related to diplomacy, defence, terrorism and espionage. According to the APSDS, those who disclose information designated as SDS will face up to ten years in prison. The chapter deals with three questions: first, why did Japan come to possess a secrecy law?; secondly, what kind of secrecy law did Japan introduce?; and thirdly, how and to what extent did the globalization of anti-terrorism policies affect the APSDS? The first question is worthwhile to explore because Japan rushed to introduce a secrecy law immediately after Edward Snowden, the former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, disclosed numerous top-secret US government documents to the news media. The amount and scale of the information disclosed shocked the world.
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