Ruling parties to start debate on conspiracy bill Thursday


Japan’s ruling parties have agreed to introduce a contentious bill on Thursday at a plenary session of the House of Representatives that would punish those planning to carry out serious crimes.

The Diet affairs chiefs of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito reached an agreement at a meeting on Monday, lawmakers said.

The government says the bill is necessary to ward off terrorism at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and to ratify the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which Japan signed in 2000.

But opposition parties, arguing that the new bill is no different from three previous bills that were scrapped, are concerned it could allow the suppression of free speech, invasive state surveillance and arbitrary punishment of civic groups and labor unions.

Opponents also say the bill would amount to a fundamental change in Japan’s criminal code by charging people in connection with crimes that have not been committed.

Abe sought cooperation over the bill in a meeting between the government and ruling parties on Monday.

“The government will maintain a sense of alertness and work to carefully explain (the bill) as we aim for its certain enactment,” Abe said.

“Looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, we will take every measure to prevent terrorism and other organized crimes in advance,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, said at a press conference.

But the main opposition Democratic Party will aim to see the bill scrapped, its Diet affairs chief told reporters.

“It’s a counterterrorism measure in name only, and would lead to a society with 100 million people under surveillance,” Kazunori Yamanoi said, riffing off the Abe administration’s plan to build a “society in which all 100 million people can play active roles.”

The government says the latest bill, a proposed revision of the law on organized crime, is applicable only to “organized crime groups,” unlike the previous versions that applied more broadly to “groups.”

The bill criminalizes the planning of 277 different crimes. It prescribes penalties of up to five years in prison for the planning of the most serious of those crimes, defined as those punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment or more than 10 years’ imprisonment.

A penalty of up to two years in prison would be applicable to the planning of lesser crimes on the list.

But penalties would be reduced for those who plot a crime but turn themselves in before it is committed.

For charges to be pressed under the new legislation there would have to be evidence of specific preparations for a crime, such as procuring supplies or funds or checking out a location.

Thursday’s start date was suggested by the LDP to give the controversial bill enough time to make it to enactment in the current Diet session through mid-June.

Komeito had been pushing for other bills to come first, but was persuaded otherwise. Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi vowed Monday to “work together to advance” the bill.

The ruling coalition is expected to formally propose the start date to opposition parties in a lower house steering committee directors’ meeting on Tuesday, but the opposition is planning to reject that proposal.

If the ruling parties then push the bill into the deliberation stage without opposition parties’ agreement, the latter are likely to protest fiercely.

The opposition parties are expected to form a united front in their goal to scrap the bill like its predecessors.

“This is an unconstitutional piece of legislation that threatens the principles of the penal code by inflicting penalties at the planning stage, even if no criminal activity takes place,” said Akira Koike, head of the Secretariat of the Japanese Communist Party.


Toronto: Escalating violence over Motion 103

On Saturday, April 1, 2017, Protesters affiliated with the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) held at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square a rally in support of free speech and against Motion 103, also known as the anti-Islamophobia motion.

Among the protesters were seen also activists with Suffragette, Soldiers of Odin and the Jewish Defence League.

The rally started with playing the national anthem and waving Canadian flags. Spokesperson on behalf of the organizers told CIJnews that the protest is part of a “peaceful political revolution” and an effort to build a national-wide grassroots movement to protect Canadian democracy and values.

The protesters chanted the following slogans: “Trudeau must go”, “We are the patriots”, “We stand on guard for thee” and “Defund CBC” among others. The carried signs that read:

  • Free speech No Motion 103
  • I support free speech Stop M-103 Prophet Mohammad
  • Shariah Fee Zone – Trudeau must go
  • [Justin Trudeau] like a rock only dumber
  • Jihadi Justin must go
  • Please donate to save Canada – send this family [Trudeau’s family] to Syria
  • Imam Sayed alGhitawi “O Allah, kill them one by one”
  • Imam Omar Subedar: “Allah has permitted the husband to discipline his wife by striking her”
  • ICNA Canada – “Islam is incompatible with the Western democracy”
  • [Pictures of a veiled woman and a muzzled dog] Is this liberty?

Masked activists, who took part in Antifa’s counter protest, attacked the pro free speech protesters and clashed with the police. The police apprehended several suspects.

Antifa announced victory over the free speech protest:

Today’s counter demo was really successful. We were able to keep the fascists into their little circle of hate. None of their banners and none of their hate was visible or audible from the street, thanks to some wonderful tactics shown by the entire crowd. They were not able to take the streets this time and that is a HUGE win. Let’s keep this momentum going. They plan to hold “rallies” on the first Saturday of every month. We will be there EVERY time. These are our streets. NO PLATFORM FOR FASCISTS!!

The following are excerpts from Antifa’s detailed account on the counter protest:

Our allies were also present, including groups such as Coalition Against White Supremacy and Islamophobia (CAWI) Organizing Committee Against Islamophobia (OCAI), Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), ANTIFA Toronto, local anarchists, and other supporters...

The first small squad of fascists arrived around 11am. They were quickly surrounded, watched, and contained by our members and allies. We were able to force them from their default spot against the ramp, which they have used for the last two events, keeping them floating in a weakly defended cohort. This group clashed with antifascists on the east side of the square by the ramp, before police arrived and made several arrests. Unsurprisingly, fascists who participated in the short brawl were released quickly after arrest…

One comrade was arrested after police claimed that the individual’s sign – a piece of white bristol board that read “NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF” – was weapon-like. This comrade was then forced by police to unmask in front of several white supremacists.

After the bulk of the fascist organizers had arrived (around 25 individuals), the police formed their usual barrier of bicycles to protect them…

We used speakers to drown out the fascists with a cheerful playlist of leftist punk music. Police tried to make us shut off our music, first with warnings, then by force. Antifascist comrades formed a human barrier, successfully preventing the cops from seizing our speakers.

There was a period of relative uneventfulness, while we engaged in small shouting matches with fascists protected by the barrier. Small clashes erupted on occasion, and cops used one of these opportunities to move their barrier outwards. At least one masked comrade was grabbed by police, though comrades were successful in pulling them out of their grasp…

The fascists were denied the opportunity to march today as they did two weeks ago. This is likely because of the counter-demo’s numbers. Police likely told them they could not guarantee protection, or they did not want to bother with the hassle of keeping a crowd of our size at bay.

These fascists are paper tigers that can’t act without police protection. After only 2 hours or so (a significantly smaller rally time than their previous gatherings!), the fascists got tired and made their retreat to an entrance of the parking garage, protected by their loyal police escort (with another 20+ police showing up). One masked comrade was tackled by police and arrested, simply for approaching this entrance.

Masked comrades made their way to the exit of the parking garage, knowing that the fascists would soon emerge. Police made their way to our position, forming another bike barricade to protect the fascists’ cars (including a “walk of shame” for 4-6 JDL members who hadn’t remembered to park underground). A small group of 9-10 police on horseback waited nearby, watching us. As the cars left, there was one final clash, in which a masked comrade was arrested (and later released)…

We condemn the arrests made today by the police, who are again showing less restraint in detaining us than the violent white supremacists who slugged a comrade of ours. As the runnings dogs of the capitalist state, we again want to remind people that drawing lines against fascism means drawing them against police too…

We are seeing progress being made in our work. Fascists could not organize effectively today: they could not be heard, they could not be seen, and they could not march.

To read CBC report on the dueling protests click HERE.

See also: Journalists were assaulted by left-wing protesters at Toronto free speech rally (click HERE)