The information will be further divided into 23 types. Top officials from all departments would have the power to declare issues ‘secret’. The ‘secrets’ could then be kept classified for up to 60 years.
Journalists and other private sector parties could also receive up to five years imprisonment if they are found to be using ‘grossly inappropriate’ means to acquire information.
“Information on the vulnerability of nuclear power plants could be classified as special secrets, along with plans on how to guard the plants,” Yutaka Saito, a lawyer and a member of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations' task force on the bill, told Reuters
The bill was adopted through majority vote by the ruling coalition after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), New Komeito, and the Opposition Your Party all agreed to revisions last week to gain the votes of small conservative opposition parties.
“We revised the proposal as much as possible to address the concerns held by the public,” Gen Nakatani, an LDP director, said following the vote, while Atsushi Oshima, a DPJ director declared that it had been a “defeat for the legislative branch.”
The bill has now been sent to the Diet’s Upper House for consideration, where it will likely pass without any difficulty. The LDP and its junior partner hold a solid majority in both houses.
“Clearly, there will be a chilling effect on access to a wide range of information,” said Meiji University law professor, Lawrence Repeta, said. “It is clearly aimed at news media to block reporting in a way that may be critical of the government on a wide range of sensitive issues,” he added.
Abe has stated that the law is vital in the development of a US-style National Security Council to coordinate foreign policy and security while negotiating with allies such as the US over the possible sharing of information.
“My biggest concern is that it would be more difficult for the people to see the government's decision-making process,” said Kyouji Yanagisawa, a former defense official who was in charge of national security in the Prime Minister's Office in 2004-2009. “That means we can't check how or where the government made mistakes, or help the government make a wise decision.”
Close up Footage of Fukushima Ruins – March 21 – 2011
UPDATE: 2013 Nov 27th
Analysis on Unit 4, evidence on Unit 3, Plume-Gate highlights
Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Audio File Communication - March 12th, 2013
Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Audio File Communication - March 16th, 2013