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Japan: Bill Aims to Safeguard N-Plant Security Info
Source: http://the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Focus: Internet Governance
Country: Japan
Created: Nov 12, 2013

Information on how nuclear power plants are guarded by police and security officers should be designated as state secrets under the proposed confidentiality bill, according to Masako Mori, minister in charge of the bill.

“If we make police security plans available to the public, such information could reach terrorists,” Mori said Friday in a meeting of a House of Representatives special committee on national security, where full deliberations on the government-sponsored bill kicked off.

Mori said that information on how nuclear plants are guarded falls under the category of terrorism prevention cited in the list attached to the bill under areas designated as state secrets. However, information on Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations will not be designated as state secrets because it does not fall under any area in the list, he said.

The controversial bill calls for tougher penalties on government officials and others who leak designated state secrets, but leaves designation of secrets to top officials of government agencies.

As the bill stipulates that freedom of the press and news gathering should be given due consideration, New Komeito lawmaker Yoshinori Oguchi asked in the committee meeting whether the provision covers news gathering by political party newspapers.

Mori said she believes their news gathering is press coverage in principle because they inform an indefinitely large number of people of facts.

New Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, issues a party paper called the Komei Shimbun.

The government wants the state secret protection bill to be enacted during the current Diet session ending Dec. 6.
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