Japan Passes Controversial Bill Boosting Surveillance Powers

Source: Bloomberg

Published: June 15, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government passed controversial legislation that gives prosecutors the power to monitor and arrest people in the planning stages of crimes.

As dawn broke in Tokyo on Thursday, bleary-eyed lawmakers voted to pass the so-called anti-conspiracy bill, which the government says is needed to bolster counter-terrorism precautions ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Opposition lawmakers pulled out an array of political tricks to delay the vote until morning.

Under the bill, terrorist groups or criminal organizations could be punished for the planning of 277 crimes, which range from arson to copyright violation. Critics say the legislation is vague and could lead to the suppression of civil liberties and excessive state surveillance.

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