A new bill that protects state secrets and that raised protests in Japan is necessary to save lives as the regional security environment gets tougher, said Shinzo Abe, referring to the conflict Japan has with China over the air-defense zone in the East China Sea. The statement made was made by Japan’s Prime Minister after three opinion polls showed support for him going down.
“It is a fact that the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming harsher,” Abe said. “We must protect the lives and property of the people under any circumstances.”
The premier, who is attempting to drive sustained growth in Japan after 15 years of deflation, also said today that the real battle for economic recovery starts now. Abe said the scope of secrets defined in the bill would not be expanded and would not affect the public’s right to know, according to the international press.
The new law applies tougher penalties for public workers who leak confidential information and for those who publish it.
“The secrets law is necessary because Japan must have a system in place to be able to exchange secrets with other countries”, Abe said.
“There is some information we must prevent from leaking to terrorists at all costs, in order to protect lives,” he added.
A poll published by Japan News Network recently showed that 54.6 percent of the surveyed are supporting the Abe administration, down 13.9 points from the previous month and the lowest level since he took office a year ago. About 85 percent of respondents said there had been insufficient debate on the bill for the protection of secrets.