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I know this is not going to be popular (I can almost hear you all groaning as you read the title!), but I think there is a very important topic that we need to discuss this week.

As you may be aware, Mr. Abe’s government is about to introduce a new law that will make it much easier for the government to conceal facts from the Japanese people. At the same time, it will make it much more difficult for journalists who discover wrongdoing to reveal the facts to the public.

I think that the Japanese people have historically tended to trust their leaders, but I feel that may have changed since the Fukushima disaster. When this new law is passed, the government will be able to say that any information they think will make them look bad is a “national secret” and prevent it being revealed for at least five years.

Does this worry you? Perhaps it should. The first commenter on an article about this on the Japan Today website summed up people’s concerns quite well:

“Building up the military, changing the constitution so that Japan can perform acts of aggression, secrecy laws, rewriting history, Abe is leading this country back to the country it was before WWII.”

To be honest, I am not sure what I think about this new law, but it definitely seems to be something that Japanese people should at least be interested in.

So what do you all think? Have you and people you know been talking about this? Do you worry about it?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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13 Comments

  1. Biwa on Tuesday October 29th, 2013 at 01:09 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I’m a bit busy getting ready for Halloween at the moment, but I just can’t skip this interesting topic! lol!

    Yes, I do worry a lot about this 特定秘密保護法案. Coincidentally, my elder son was talking about this a few days ago since his history teacher mentioned it during class. My son and I ended our talk that we have to be very careful when we make new laws. For example, 治安維持法 which was carried out after the WW1 was originally made to suppress communism. However, the meaning of the law was stretched or bent gradually by the leaders of the country. It began to be used to suppress any anti-government acts or speeches, and as everyone knows, it has lead to the WW2.
    Even if the current government insists that they are just trying to protect the people or the country, the meaning of a law can easily be bent. Moreover, the new law seems to say that instead of the people, the government is going to decide what is secret. That doesn’t sound like a democratic country. I don’t think we are still ready for this law. We need to talk over more, especially about a good way to prevent arbitrary decisions of the government.



  2. Fumie on Tuesday October 29th, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    As you guessed, it’s a tough topic for me but I’ll try my best.
    Now Japanese citizens had lost confidence in the government after Fukushima incident. We can’t believe what they said any more.
    So I’m not convinced that PM Abe said that everything is under control and there is no need to worry when Tokyo was chosen to host 2020 Olympic.
    I’m guessing that the government’s intension of making this law is cover up the inconvenient truth!



  3. Biwa on Wednesday October 30th, 2013 at 07:59 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Regarding the new law, has anyone heard the news that Ms. Koike(小池百合子) of the LDP said something really stupid? She said that the information of the movements(who he met, where he went, etc) of Mr. Abe which is released daily to the press is more than our right to know. Of course, the chief cabinet secretary Mr. Suga denied her statement that the prime minister is a public man whose movements are not a secret.

    This case has already shown how vague the new law is. It really needs more argument!



  4. Biwa on Wednesday October 30th, 2013 at 03:45 PM

    Hi YU,

    Sorry for my late reply, I didn’t have enough time to read your speech draft last weekend. I can’t spot any errors except “leader for classF.” I think it should be “leader of classF.” What do you think?

    Hi taco, amo and Ash,

    Thanks for the discussion about “full whack.” This was new to me, too, and according to my dictionary, you can also use it like “I had to pay the full whack(the full amount).”
    I also listened to his TED speech(Thanks for the link, Ash!) and one of his 30-minute cooking shows. As you said, it was a lot different from Japanese cooking shows. He never measures things! LOL! I can almost hear many Japanese viewers saying “How much olive oil do I add?” or “How long do I cook? What temperature??” I like his style, though!



  5. YU on Wednesday October 30th, 2013 at 05:16 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for your reply to my speech draft when you’re very busy with the preparation for your Halloween party.

    Actually, my son caught a cold last week(probably due to the cold sports day). I took him to his regular doctor several times, but the doctor just told us “Let’s wait a little longer and see.” and prescribed some different kinds of medicine each time. My son didn’t get better at all, so finally yestrerday, I asked his doctor to write 紹介状 to go to a big hospital to examine my son’s condition. After taking several kinds of tests there, my son was diagnosed pneumonia(肺炎)after all! The doctor told us that my son might have overcome the worst condition by himself(自然治癒力で). Poor my son !
    He is going to the (big) hospital the day after tomorrow once again.
    By the way, his classmate who takes the same school bus as my son’s every day had the same symptoms and saw the same family doctor as my son’s, went to the same big hospital. She was diagnosed pneumonia, too, but in the worse condition, and she is hospitalized now! I hope my son won’t need to enter the hospital like her.

    Now I’m seriously thinking of changing my son’s family doctor.

    Well, as for your correction, I’m not really sure which is correct.
    Actually, I found the following example sentence in the Weblo online dictionary and just copied it.

    私は2年4組の担任をしています。

    I am the home-room teacher for the Class 4 second-years.

    At first, I wrote “leader of Class F”, too, but I changed the preposition seeing this example sentence.

    What do you think?



  6. Fumie on Wednesday October 30th, 2013 at 09:57 PM

    Hi YU,

    Sorry to hear your son’s disease. Fickle weather is hard for us. I hope he will get better soon!



  7. nanashi on Wednesday October 30th, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Hi
    I read this blog for the first time.
    I study English for an entrance examination at university.
    I’m going to read this blog every night.
    I’m happy If you give some advice,especially about a good way to study English



  8. amo on Thursday October 31st, 2013 at 01:14 AM

    Hi David,

    >I know this is not going to be popular (I can almost hear you all groaning as you read the title!), but I think there is a very important topic that we need to discuss this week.
    When it comes to politics, I am hopeless. As I mentioned before, I already gave up on them, or should I say I never count on them(lol) So there is not much to say about this topic.

    Hi taco,

    I am glad to be of your help 🙂

    Hi YU and Biwa,

    >I can’t spot any errors except “leader for classF.” I think it should be “leader of classF.”
    I thought so, too.

    Hi, nanashi,

    Nice to have you with us. Sorry, I can’t give you any good advice but reading this blog and writing comments here will improve your English. Look forward to your next comment.

    P.S. YU,
    Hope your son will be better soon.

    Good night and sleep tight,
    amo



  9. Biwa on Thursday October 31st, 2013 at 07:47 AM

    Hi YU,

    Hope your son gets well soon. And YUにも看病の疲れが出ませんように・・・。
    By the way, I learned that “pneumo-” is a prefix for lung-related words.

    >At first, I wrote “leader of Class F”, too, but I changed the preposition seeing this example sentence.

    Perhaps it’s not such a big deal. However, I would say “the leader of the LDP”,”the pitcher of the Red Sox” and so on. Let’s wait for David’s comment.

    Hi nanashi,

    Nice to have you with us. 🙂
    My elder son is studying for the coming university entrance exams, too. Everyone’s struggling, I think!



  10. YU on Thursday October 31st, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Hi nanashi,

    Nice to have you with us!
    I think reading David’s entries helps to improve your reading skills. In addition, I believe writing comments here helps to improve your understanding of English grammars. I mean, you could realize what you know and what you don’t know through writing English sentences to post comments here.
    Anyway, I’m looking forward to your next comment! 🙂

    Hi Fumie,amo and Biwa,

    Thank you for your kind messages to my son.
    He seems to be getting better.

    Hi Biwa and amo,

    Here’s the lyrics of “Micky Mouse Club March”.

    Who’s the leader of the club
    That’s made for you and me!
    M・I・C・K・E・Y
    M・O・U・S・E

    So, I guess “leader of ~” is correct or at least more commonly used.



  11. David on Thursday October 31st, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Hi nanashi,

    Nice to have you with us. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

    Hi YU,

    I hope your son feels better soon. “Leader of” is much more natural than “leader for.”



  12. Anne on Thursday October 31st, 2013 at 08:32 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Yes, I’m definitely one of the members groaning! It’s really tough to share my idea even in Japanese. I don’t think I’m familiar with the new law enough to talk about, but anyway, I’ll give it a try.

    >Abe says the new law, a draft of which was approved by his cabinet on Friday and should be passed by parliament in the current session, is vital to his plan to set up a U.S.-style National Security Council to oversee security policies and coordinate among ministries.

    —This is an excerpt from Japan Today that David showed us. I’m not sure if the government should think the secret law and NSC individually, but Japan is the only country that doesn’t have NSC among developed countries. I think passing through the secret law is the first step to enact the NSC. Do you know the fact that some of Soviet KGB once described Japan as “A Paradise for Spies”? I assume the situation hasn’t still changed that much. Now the world has become more complicated and the government needs to prepare for unforeseen contingencies. I don’t think centralizing the information means “leading this country back to the country it was before WWII.”

    I haven’t discussed this topic with my friends yet, but I have discussed how much Japan should rely on the US to protect our country.

    Hi YU,

    Sorry to hear about your son’s disease. I hope he will get better soon. Also, take a good rest,YU.

    Hi nanashi,

    Nice to have you with us.

    I couldn’t agree with YU’s following comment more.
    > I believe writing comments here helps to improve your understanding of English grammars. I mean, you could realize what you know and what you don’t know through writing English sentences to post comments here.

    It’s really frustrating when you (in general) find out you can’t explain what you want to say. Making sentence by imitating expressions that David wrote is one of the good ways to improve your English^^)



  13. Biwa on Friday November 1st, 2013 at 08:59 AM

    Hi Anne,

    >I think passing through the secret law is the first step to enact the NSC.

    I think so, too. If other countries think that it is too dangerous to share important information with Japan(that information is easily leaked), the NSC(which Mr. Abe is trying to organize) wouldn’t function well. I think his basic idea of having such an advisory group to help him make quick and good decisions is not bad. However, I guess lots of people worry that once the cabinet ministers decide that something should be secret, there is no way to stop them when they make wrong/bad decisions. It seems that the DPJ is suggesting the law court to be the “check function”, but I don’t really know if that is going to work.