Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  June 2017 >  June 15, 2017 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 15, 2017 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection with the Law for Partial Amendment of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds and Other Laws. The law was adopted and passed during the plenary session of the House of Councillors this morning. How will the Government dispel the concerns and worries of the Japanese people that remain strong to this day?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Various comments have been made in the course of the Diet deliberations and other fora regarding the Bill on Punishment of the Preparation of Acts of Terrorism and Other Organized Crimes that was submitted by the Government and passed by the Diet. For example, it has been said that groups engaging in legitimate activities would be subject to punishment, or that people would be punished for discussing their thoughts and beliefs. First of all, groups that would clearly be subject to punishment are limited to those that are defined as terrorist groups or other organized crime groups under the provisions. Furthermore, the law would never apply to general companies and groups engaging in legitimate activities such as civic groups and labor unions. I would like to make this clear. With regard to crimes that are subject to punishment, we have also made it clear that it would only constitute a criminal act when, in addition to the act of planning a crime, acts of preparation themselves are made. The law therefore clearly does not stipulate punishment of intent. Moreover, the law clarifies the punishable crimes. The list of crimes in which the involvement of organized crime groups can be realistically anticipated has been limited to 277 crimes. Doing so has created clear and rigorous requirements for establishing crimes, and ensures that the law is not applied arbitrarily. For these reasons, we do not consider that the concerns you have mentioned are valid. In any case, the Government will strive to execute the law appropriately and effectively in order to protect the lives and properties of the people, also taking into account the discussions at the Diet.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Opposition parties are protesting that discussions have not been exhausted. What is your assessment of the Diet’s decision to vote on the bill at this timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is up to the Diet to determine how its deliberations will proceed, and I believe the Government should not comment on this matter. Having said that, it is true that the question and answer session was discontinued because both the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party submitted a censure motion during the questioning at the Committee on Judicial Affairs of the House of Councillors. In any case, the Government has made utmost efforts to provide clear and careful explanations to the Diet in order to gain the people’s understanding regarding the necessity and importance of the bill, as well as the broad support of not only the ruling parties but also the opposition parties. At any event, we will continue to provide careful explanations concerning the content of this law that was passed.

REPORTER: I have a related question. As was noted earlier, worries and concerns have been raised in the course of the Diet deliberations. Can you explain once again the Government’s approach for executing the law after it enters into force?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, we will make it clear that the law would never apply to general companies and groups engaging in legitimate activities such as civic groups and labor unions. In addition, we will continue to make it clear that with regard to crimes that are subject to punishment, it would only constitute a criminal act when, in addition to the act of planning a crime, acts of preparation themselves are made. The law therefore clearly does not stipulate punishment of intent. The punishable crimes have been clearly limited to 277 crimes. We will continue to explain this carefully.

REPORTER: The bill was passed without gaining widespread understanding, including the understanding of some opposition parties. What do you think about the bill being passed under such circumstances?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As Diet affairs are determined by the Diet, this was a decision made by the members of the Diet. The Government will work to ensure that the passage of this bill contributes to steadily protecting the lives and properties of the Japanese people and to realizing mutual assistance in investigations with the international community, with large-scale events coming up such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games and for dealing with acts of terrorism that have occurred successively around the globe.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the voting method in which an interim report was submitted. This interim report bypasses a vote on the bill at the Committee on Judicial Affairs before voting on the bill at the plenary session of the House of Councillors. I understand that this was an extremely unprecedented measure as far as the usual practices of the Diet go. Opposition parties have criticized that this represented the ultimate form of legislative railroading. What are your views on voting for the bill by way of an interim report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated earlier, it is the Diet that makes decisions regarding its deliberations, and the Government should not be making comments on this issue. As a practical matter, it is true that the question and answer session was discontinued because both the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party submitted a censure motion during the questioning at the Committee on Judicial Affairs of the House of Councillors. In any case, we understand that this was a decision made at the Diet based on rules about Diet deliberations.

REPORTER: A related question. Some have noted that the fast-approaching official announcement of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections was one of the reasons that ruling parties rushed ahead with the voting of the Bill for Partial Amendment of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds and Other Laws. The voting was broadcast live on TV this morning and must have appeared odd to the people. What impacts do you anticipate on the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe there will be no impacts.

REPORTER: Some have stated that the voting was rushed in order to put a quick end to the series of issues surrounding Kake Educational Institution. What are your thoughts in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that is entirely unrelated. In any case, 187 countries and regions in the world have concluded the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Japan is the only G7 member that has not concluded the Convention. In this sense, this is an extremely important legislation for protecting the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people in this world where acts of terrorism occur successively. It is also true that the deliberations were conducted in earnest with the hope of passing this bill as quickly as possible.

(Abridged)

Page Top

Related Link