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Friday, May 09, 2014, 13:00 - 14:00

Japan's State Secrecy Law doesn't meet international standards
Morton Halperin
Former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department, U.S.
Language: The speech and Q&A will be in English.

 Japan’s Bad State Secrecy Law

 Passed less than six months ago, Japan's controversial secrecy law has not yet come into force. But it may already be having an impact. A report in the Asahi newspaper this week says application forms for construction work in Aomori Prefecture by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd have been blacked out to censor the names of buildings. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has admitted that information related to the security of nuclear power facilities must now be protected.

 That news will not surprise Morton H. Halperin. An American expert on foreign policy and civil liberties who has held national security positions in three US administrations, Halperin pulled no punches when the secrecy legislation was being deliberated last December. "This law is about as bad as any that a democratic government has considered in the 21st Century," he said. Halperin said he was startled by how fast the law was being passed, without proper deliberation.

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe argues that the law is vital to strengthening national defense. Critics such as the Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Journalists, the Federation of Japanese Newspapers Unions, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and many other media watchdogs, said it represented a grave threat to journalism and the public’s right to know. The passage of the law was fiercely fought by academics, journalists and lawyers.

 Halperin and others said it violated the so-called Tshwane Principles, a set of international guidelines that accept governments are justified in protecting sensitive information only "as long as secrecy decisions are necessary to protect against an identifiable harm and are periodically reviewed." The Japanese bill does not meet this standard, he says.

 Halperin is currently a senior advisor for the Open Society Institute and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Lyndon B. Johnson and also served in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. His criticism of the Vietnam War eventually earned him a place on Nixon's famous enemies list.

 Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

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May 09 14 PC Morton Haiperin019

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