Surveillance at the Roots of Everyday Interactions: Japan’s Conspiracy Bill and its Totalitarian Effects

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Midori Ogasawara


Japan’s ultra-right wing government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since 2012, has been enforcing a number of controversial laws, such as the Secrecy Act and Security Act, which have enhanced surveillance and militarism. Without changing the Constitution, these laws allow the government to undermine the constitutional rights for individuals. The Conspiracy Law, Abe’s next attempt, focuses on placing people’s everyday communications under scrutiny. Against the modern principal of criminal justice, this law criminalizes the communications regarding crimes, without any criminal actions. Due to its extensively invasive character, the bill has been cancelled three times in the Diet in the past decade, but Abe insists that it is necessary for a successful running of 2020 Olympic in Tokyo as an anti-terror measure. While the Olympic gives the authoritarian government the best opportunity to incite nationalism and stabilize the rule, as the Nazi performed in 1936, surveillance comes forth to eliminate both public and private communications that question, criticize or counter the legitimacy of state power.

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