Lawyers rally against secrecy law in Japan

Updated: 2014-12-09 08:59


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OSAKA - About 200 lawyers rallied and marched in Osaka city on Monday, protesting against the soon-to-be effective secrecy law in Japan.

The lawyers, holding banners and wearing leopard-print coats or scarves to manifest determination, marched for 1.5 kilometers in the city downtown area, calling for abolishment of the controversial secrecy law.

"The secrecy law will allow the government to illegally designate some information as state secrets without public knowledge. As lawyers, we have to oppose such legislation that undermines the public's right to know." said Noriko Ishida, chairwoman of Osaka Bar Association and organizer of the march.

"The law shall be submitted to public discussions." she said, accusing the government of rushing through the law disregarding public opinions.

On Dec 6, 2013, the Japanese parliament enacted the secrecy law despite strong public protests and criticism. Under the law, public servants or others leaking state secrets could be jailed for up to ten years, and journalists convicted of encouraging such leaks could get up to five years' jail term.

Critics believe that the law, drastically expanding definition of state secrets and raising penalties for leaks, will block access to information on sensitive areas, including the nuclear industry.

As the secrecy law is coming into force on Dec. 10, waves of protests were spreading across Japan. On Dec 6, thousands of people gathered in Tokyo and Nagoya to protest against the controversial secrecy law.