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TOKYO Claudio Reyna World Cup Jersey , Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Japan's largely unpopular and highly controversial Special Secrecy Law came into effect Wednesday granting the government wider powers to declare and designate state secrets and impose harsher penalties on those charged with leaking them.
Under the new law, which cleared parliament in December 2013, information designated as state secrets, pertaining to diplomacy, defense, counterterrorism and counterespionage Christian Pulisic World Cup Jersey , can be classified for up to 60 years, with those found guilty of leaking them, including journalists, facing prison terms of up to 10 years.
The Cabinet previously approved the guidelines which decree that state secrets can only be designated by the head of 19 government bodies, including key ministries such as the foreign and defense ministries, with the minimum amount of information being withheld as "secrets for the shortest period of time."
The unpopular legislation comes at a time when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been shoring up the nation's military clout Chris Wondolowski World Cup Jersey , with a reinterpretation of a key clause to the nation's war-renouncing Constitution by his Cabinet, now meaning Japanese forces have a broader scope to engage with adversaries and defend allies both at home and abroad.
Abe has previously said that the new secrecy law will now allow Japan to swiftly exchange information deemed sensitive with other countries as the National Security Council (NSC) will serve to expedite such communication with his "National Security Strategy".
Such moves, deemed bellicose by many here as the secrecy law could take away the people's right to know, have drawn increasing criticism for the Abe administration as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) goes to the polls on Dec. 14 in a bid to secure an economic mandate centered around a delayed tax hike and the public's expectations for lasting structural reforms that will ensure the nation escapes recession and puts decades of deflation firmly in its past.
But while many citizens' attention has been switched back to the economy for the time being, the thousands who gathered outside the Diet building both Tuesday and this evening, to protest Abe's secrecy bill and the general remilitarization of Japan Chris Pontius World Cup Jersey , haven't forgotten Japan's most pressing concerns and they said their voices reflected "those of the entire nation."
"The government is taking the country down a very dangerous path and it's one that we don't want to go down as Japan made the same error in history and the outcome was devastating. That's why we want the government to honor our peace-loving Constitution and scrap these military rules like the secrecy law," Jun Hasegawa, 23, an engineering student at university and core organizer of the youth group Students Against Secret Protection Law (SASPL), who arranged this evening's protest, told Xinhua by phone.
"The situation the country is in now is not good Brek Shea World Cup Jersey , we've allowed Abe and his Cabinet far too much freedom to do what they want, and what they want does not reflect what we, the public, wants. There are two completely different agendas," Hasegawa said.
"In the upcoming election it's a disgrace that the only option is to vote for Abe and the LDP again and, let's face it Brad Guzan World Cup Jersey , they'll likely win. It just makes me sad that we have such limited control over what's happening in our country, we just have to blindly trust Abe. But this man is an egomaniac, hell-bent on achieving the goals he failed to in his former term as prime minister and more so on being remembered in the future as some kind of warrior for Japan. But for the majority of us, such ignorant Samurai Spirit ideology is something we've left in the past and understand that it is completely inappropriate for national politics," the young student activist said.
In response to the massive public and opposition parties' denunciation of the controversial secrecy law, the government has said previously and somewhat equivocally in its guidelines that the public's right to know should be "greatly respected as it is linked to the existence of a democratic society and freedom of expression."
But those opposed to the law Brad Evans World Cup Jersey , like the many thousands of protestors both young and old, shouting and waving anti-secrecy law and anti-war placards outside the Diet building on a chilly Wednesday evening, in detail, have criticized Abe and his Cabinet for not implementing objective checks and balances to ensure that the public's right to know and access to necessary information will not be impeded by the new law.
Opponents, including prominent opposition party members, lawyers Brad Davis World Cup Jersey , civic groups, artists and celebrities, have consistently maintained that the law will severely limit the public's access to information as Abe, ultimately, forges ahead with his plans to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces at home and abroad.
Abe's military ambitions and the related legislation that has been rammed through parliament has been viewed by the majority of the public here as undermining the nation's democratic ideals and political analysts have also likened the political shift here to the right as being reminiscent of Japan's wartime military secrecy initiatives, which allowed armed forces to act with impunity and beyond the scope of public scrutiny.
"Japan only wants peace. This is all. We've seen the dangers and tragedy that war can bring and it is Japan's duty to spread a message of peace to the world Bobby Wood World Cup Jersey , but Abe is making it very difficult for us peace-loving people to do that. He does not reflect the real heart of Japan," Shizuka Tamura, 25, another member of SASPL told Xinhua Wednesday.
But while Abe has consistently stated that Japan's paradigmatic shift towards issues of defense and security are a "necessary response to national-security related incidents," recent polls and comprehensive nationwide surveys have begged to differ and have called into question the trustworthiness
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