Citizens hold rally to block forcible vote on ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill
With the ruling coalition aiming to forcibly put the “anti-conspiracy” bill to the vote, 5,200 concerned citizens on June 13 assembled at Hibiya Amphitheater in Tokyo to oppose the forcible passage of the controversial bill.
The rally was organized jointly by a citizens’ group demanding the abolition of the bill and another group working to block Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s move to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation. Lawyer Kaido Yuichi on behalf of the organizers gave a speech and called on the participants to work together to prevent the forcible vote on the bill.
Lawyer Yamagishi Ryota of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations said that if the bill is enacted, it will lead to the creation of a surveillance society. Japan P.E.N Club Managing Director Yoshioka Shinobu noted that in every past case, legislation restricting civil liberties changed the society for the worse.
Leaders of the Japanese Communist Party and three other opposition parties delivered speeches. JCP Chair Shii Kazuo pointed out that public opposition to the bill is growing as opposition party lawmakers expose the problems with the bill in Diet discussions. He said that the bill is to criminalize conspiracy, but the bill has a very vague definition of what kind of actions it will punish. Shii stressed that the bill is unconstitutional because it will punish people based on their thoughts.
Democratic Party President Renho called on the audience to say “no” to the Abe Cabinet which tramples on people’s rights guaranteed under the Constitution. She said that the opposition parties will step up their joint efforts to put a halt to the government’s maladministration.
After the rally, the participants marched in demonstration through Tokyo’s famous shopping district of Ginza.