The Japanese government has decided to officially launch the National Security Bureau, which will gather information, centralize strategic decision making and coordinate with the country’s allies, according to Kyodo.
Shinzo Abe’s control over foreign and defense policies will be strengthened this way, local reports say. The new executive body will also bring a new way of managing information, which before was performed separately by different government organs, the media says.
The bureau will be coordinated by Shotaro Yachi, Abe’s foreign policy adviser. Sources say a special telephone line has been set up at the prime minister’s official residence in case of emergencies.
The Prime Minister’s authority will be enhanced this way, a situation that might become risky, critics say, as decisions regarding national security will be taken much easier and faster.
The decision comes after a recent controversial approval of a secrecy bill that was contested by Japanese lawyers, journalists, religious leaders and a Nobel physicist who say the bill was not clear and that was being rushed through parliament.
The bill allows government agencies to classify secrets and toughens penalties for officials who leak them.