News From Japan

New bills seek to criminalise anti-war activists

The fight against Japan's involvement in the planned "endless war" of the United States for world domination is by no means over.  The government is losing one member or supporter after another on proven charges of corruption,

As the JCP continues its fight against the war moves of the Koizumi cabinet it keeps up a relentless pressure exposing the endless corruption in the monopoly-controlled government.

Here,  from the Japan Press web page for April 3-April 13 are items on both fronts, the fight against the new bills to criminalise opposition to war, and new revelations about the government's secret slush funds.

John Manning

Government submits contingency bills to the Diet

Ignoring public criticism, the government on April 17 submitted three contingency bills to the current Diet session.

Akahata on April 16 stated that the bills, especially the bill "on response to contingencies," are aimed at forcing the general public into cooperating with the government in wars.

The bills submitted after approved by the Security Council of Japan and the cabinet's extraordinary meeting have a grave content that would temporarily suspend the Constitution, Akahata emphasized.

The three bills are: the bill "on response to contingencies"; an amendment to the Self-Defense Forces Law; and an amendment to the Security Council of Japan Establishment Law.

The bill "on response to contingencies" will allow the government to invoke the contingency laws not only when attacks against Japan break out, but also when the government acknowledges the "possibility" of such a situation, and even when such a situation is "predicted."

On this, Defense Agency Director General Nakatani Gen has stated in the Diet that "the situations in areas surrounding Japan" is one such case with which the government will deal under the new laws.

Therefore, the "contingencies response bill" is aimed at allowing Japan's government to invoke the 1999 "Law to deal with situations in areas surrounding Japan" to carry out military operations in U.S. wars in Asia based on public mobilization, Akahata warned.

To this end, the bill stipulates that war cooperation is an "obligatory effort" on the part of the public, and that their "freedoms and rights" be limited temporarily.

On the other hand, the bill gives the prime minister concentrated power, including the right to designate/replace local governments and public facilities to carry out emergency measures.

The bill says that prior approval by the Diet of the government's basic policy under the laws is not necessary.

In addition to these three bills, the government plans to draft bills on the minutes of government emergency measures within two years and matters related to the U.S. Forces, to complete the whole set of contingency laws.

JCP reveals details of misuse of 'state secret funds'

The Japanese Communist Party took many politicians by surprise by revealing details of the use of the Cabinet Secretariat's questionable "secret funds."

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo held a news conference on April 12 to announce that the JCP obtained a copy of a cashbook and other related documents that show how 143 billion yen (about 1.1 billion dollars) was misused by the prime minister's office.

The ledgers cover the period between November 1991 and December 1992, when Kato Koichi, who recently resigned from the Diet to take responsibility for his former aide's fraud, was chief cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi.

"Secret funds" are money that a chief cabinet secretary can use without restrictions.

Shii said that a JCP investigation led him to believe that the descriptions in the documents are accurate.

The documents include: (1) a cashbook covering the Nov. 1991-Dec. 1992 period; (2) a list of monthly revenue and expenditure; and (3) a classified list of uses of the funds. The Cabinet secretariat's letterhead was used for the latter two.

The 143 billion yen is entered at one million yen as one unit with one exception, and most of them are from the chief cabinet secretary.

For example, about 3.56 million yen was used to buy business suits for Komei Party Diet members in charge of Diet steering and 11.7 million yen for suits for 39 Liberal Democratic Party's executive board members, indicating that the "secret funds" were used to ease tensions between the ruling LDP and opposition parties (which do not include the JCP) and inner LDP rivalries, to make government-proposed legislation easier.

"Funds for politicians" were used to buy tickets for politicians' fundraisers, publication celebrations, and symposiums, which were de facto political donations, said the JCP chair.

"Private purposes" includes the costs for maintaining offices, payments of allowances to cabinet clerks, and Kato's visit to his constituency as chief cabinet secretary (2.54 million yen). "This is nothing less than the privatization of tax money," Shii emphasized.

He said, "All these documents suggest no item in the 'secret funds' was appropriate.

In light of the government statement that the "secret funds" are aimed at the smooth execution of Japan's domestic and foreign policies, the government is unaccountable, he said.

Explaining the aim of the JCP revelation, Shii stressed that a "cleanup" of Japanese politics is a matter of urgency. Successive LDP governments are responsible for wasting tax money by using it to the partisan benefit. Such a system, a hotbed of political corruption, must be eliminated, Shii said.

Shii requested that the Prime Minister make public all records of the use of the "secret funds," promise to stop using them to the benefit of political parties or politicians, and investigate the transfer of the Foreign Ministry "secret funds" to the Cabinet Secretariat. He called on the Diet to establish a special committee to investigate the matter.

Commenting on the JCP revelation, Prime Minister Koizumi said that he doesn't remember anything about his alleged receipt of 500,000 yen as a parting gift. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo said that the matter is too grave to comment on, and Komei Party Secretary General Fuyushiba Tetsuzo rejected to offer a comment.