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May 25 2017

“On Tuesday, Japan's House of Representatives, approved the so-called ‘conspiracy bill,’ which lists 277 new types of offenses which lawmakers say threaten Japanese national security.

Tokyo argues the legislation needs to be adopted ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 to fight terrorism and organized crime. The Japanese government also says that the bill is necessary to ratify United Nations' Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Opponents of the new measures argue that the government will now be able to prosecute those who have nothing to do with terrorism or serious crime enterprises. Critics further fear the legislation could equate such offenses as sit-in protests and violations of copyrights to ‘serious crimes.’

The proposed bill needs to be ratified by the upper house, the House of Councillors, before it becomes a law. It is expected to be enacted as the ruling coalition also has a majority in the upper house.

Recalling the Japanese police state policies of the 1930-1940’s, thousands of Japanese took to the streets to decry the erosion of their civil liberties and to protest increased police powers.

Protesters carried placards condemning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government. They also chanted slogans venting their opposition to several other issues, including Japan's nuclear power policies, the American presence in Okinawa and an increase in the hourly wage.”

Thousands protest Japan’s controversial ‘anti-conspiracy bill’ (PHOTOS, VIDEO) (RT News, May 25 2017)

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May 21 2017

Japan cabinet approves anti-conspiracy bill amid civil rights concerns

“ [Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide] Suga said the legislation would apply only to groups preparing to commit terrorist acts and other organised crime groups and would not target the ‘legitimate activities’ of civil groups or labour unions.

Opponents, including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, have doubts. They view the proposed change as part of Abe's agenda to tighten control at the expense of individual rights, chilling grassroots opposition to government policies such as the construction of a U.S. military base on Okinawa island.

‘It is very clear that the Japanese public security sector – police and prosecutors – employ an extremely expansive interpretation of any aspect of criminal law so ... regardless of the limited list of potential crimes, they will interpret it in an extremely elastic way,’ said Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo.

The lawyers' association has said Japanese law already prohibits preparations to commit certain serious crimes such as murder, arson and counterfeiting or plotting an insurgency or the use of explosives, so additional legislation is unnecessary.”

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Play fullscreen

Tokyo, Japan - protest against the passage of the anti-conspiracy bill (共謀罪法案) at the lower house of the Diet, May 19 2017. This video features speeches by the leaders of major opposition parties.

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Tokyo, Japan - protest rally against a bill that would criminalize “prepatation for terrorist act”, May 16 2017.

According to the current criminal code of Japan, a person cannot, in principle, be charged for criminal offense unless the person is alleged to have ACTUALLY performed a criminal act under the code. The proposed bill, however, would virtually change this principle: even a consultation on some criminal act between/among persons - conspiracy - could be held accountable before the court of law. The number of crimes fallen under the bill is over 200. The Japanese government says this is a necesseary measure to prevent terrorism for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Copyright violation, for example, is also within the scope of the bill. If online surveillance broadened, this would be an effective tool to suppress anti-government campaign on the web - just clicking on “retweet” or “like” button on Twitter might lead to conviction.

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May 20 2017

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April 24 2017

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March 15 2017

March 08 2017

Shibuya, Tokyo.

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Shinjuku, Tokyo.

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February 25 2017

Yuri Kochiyama, Civil Rights Legend

from obitoftheday.com (via kyotocat):

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On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was gunned down during a speech in New York City. As he lay dying, one of the first people to rush to his side was Yuri Kochiyama who held his head in her hands saying, “Please, Malcolm! Please, Malcolm! Stay alive!” The scene was captured in a LIFE magazine photograph documenting the black leader’s assassination.

Mrs. Kochiyama met Mr. X several years earlier, going up to the black nationalist leader in a crowded courthouse and asking to shake his hand. When he asked why, she replied “To congratulate you for giving direction to your people.”

He was not the only one. Mrs. Kochiyama spent her life fighting for the rights of fellow Japanese-Americans. It began within hours of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Her father, a fisherman of Japanese descent, was one of the first men arrested by the FBI after news of Japan’s surprise attack on the U.S. Navy. He was released six weeks later, but died within 12 hours of his return home.

A few months later, the rest of her family was moved into an internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas. They were forced to stay there for two years. It was at that time that she began to recognize the similarities in the treatment of Japanese-Americans and the Southern black community. She made a personal commitment to fight against racial injustice.

In 1960, she moved with her husband, Bill Kochiyama (a fellow internee and veteran of the 442nd regiment - the most decorated in World War II) to Manhattan. They lived in Harlem and were very active in the civil rights movement, hosting Freedom Riders in her home and joining the Harlem Parents Committee, which focused on neighborhood safety and equality in education.

It was in 1963 that she met Malcolm X and joined his Organization for Afro-American Unity the following year. (Another member of the OAAU was Maya Angelou, featured previously on Obit of the Day.) This was also when the FBI began keeping a file on Mrs. Kochiyama which included notes describing her as a “Red Chinese agent.”

She remained politically active throughout the 1960s and ’70s, protesting the Vietnam War and pushing for nuclear disarmament.

In the 1980s Mrs. and Mr. Kochiyama pushed aggressively for an official apology from the U.S. government for the blatantly racist segregation of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during the war. They were victorious. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which was an official apology and awarded each survivor of internment $20,000.

For her work, Mrs. Kochiyama was nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

Yuri Kochiyama died on June 1, 2014 at the age of 93.

Sources: NPR (obituary), NPR (August 2013), Democracy Now (interview), www.blackpast.org, and Wikipedia

(Image: Yuri Kochiyama speaking at an anti-war rally in Central Park in 1968. Courtesy of the Kochiyama family/UCLA Asian American Studies Center vis NPR.org)

Also relevant on Obit of the Day:

Patricia Stephens Due - Founder of the Tallahassee chapter of CORE

Clara Luper - Oklahoma civil rights pioneer

Franklin McCain - One of the four college students who began the Greensboro, NC Woolworth sit-in

Fred Shuttlesworth - Leader of the “Children’s Crusade”

Senji Yamaguchi - Survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb who spent his life fighting for nuclear disarmament

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February 18 2017

February 17 2017

tm31415: 江口寿史-マンガ「ふたりのサンゴ礁」扉絵-1983

Hisashi Eguchi, Japanese manga artist, 1983.

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くもとちゅうりっぷ kumo to tulip, short animated film, 1943.

watch on youtube.com [lang: ja]

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February 16 2017

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Izukushima Tori, Miyajima, Honshu, Japan

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February 15 2017

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Yayoi Kusama, different immersive amazing installations. (via kyotocat.tumblr.com)

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