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Japan: Diet Enacts Law to Establish National Security Council
Source: http://www.japantoday.com
Source Date: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: Japan
Created: Dec 03, 2013

The Diet on Wednesday passed a law to create a U.S.-style National Security Council, giving the prime minister’s office greater authority as Tokyo grapples with the shifting balance of power in East Asia.

The new framework will be centered around a panel made up of the prime minister, the chief cabinet secretary and the foreign and defense ministers, who will have decision-making powers over mid- and long-term policies on diplomatic and national security matters.

Establishing an NSC has been a priority for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since he came to power last December, and comes as Tokyo is involved in an increasingly bitter stand-off with Beijing over the sovereignty of an island chain.

Abe’s ruling coalition pushed a controversial state secrets bill through the lower house on Tuesday. It will give Tokyo far broader powers in deciding what constitutes a state secret, and severely punish those who leak the information.

Critics say the bill is draconian and will infringe press freedom and the public’s right to know.

Abe has said the secrecy law will enable the NSC to function effectively, since a legal framework for preventing leaks of state secrets is a prerequisite for Japan to share sensitive security information with other countries.

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