Japan's lower house to discuss state secret bill

Japan's lower house to discuss state secret billJapan's lower house is set to debate a bill to strengthen the protection of classified national-security information.
Heated discussion is expected on whether the bill will infringe people's right to know.

The House of Representatives will begin deliberations on Thursday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make his case for the bill and answer questions.

The government under the bill would be empowered to designate certain information as a state secret.

Those responsible for leaking such information would face up to 10 years in prison.

Members of the government and the ruling coalition parties are pushing for the bill to prevent leaks ahead of a planned shakeup of Japan's security structure.

The lower house is expected on Thursday to pass bills to set up a Japanese version of the US National Security Council.

Opposition policymakers argue the spectrum of information to be deemed a state secret is ambiguous.

They say the government will able to deliberately withhold any information unfavorable to it.

Democratic Party members have submitted a motion to amend the Freedom of Information Law with the aim of strengthening people's right to know.

And the Japan Restoration Party has proposed an amendment to the state secret bill.
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