Special Secrecy Law

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The Special Secrecy Law, officially the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS) (特定秘密の保護に関する法律 Tokutei Himitsu no Hogo ni kansuru Hōritsu?), Act No. 108 of 2013, is a law in Japan allowing the government to designate defense information as "special secret".[1]

Proposed by the second Abe cabinet, the law was approved by the Security Council on October 25, 2013,[2][3][4] then was submitted to the National Diet, before being approved there as well on December 6 the same year.[5][6] The law was promulgated on December 13, 2013 and will come into force within one year thereafter.[7]

According to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the law "almost limitlessly widens the range of what can be considered confidential".[8]

Overview[edit]

Designation of Special Secret[edit]

The head of an administrative organ shall designate as Specially Designated Secrets

  1. information of the types listed below
  2. which is kept undisclosed
  3. which requires special secrecy because unauthorized disclosure thereof would cause severe damage to the national security of Japan

Information of 4 Types[edit]

  • Item (i) Defense *Equivalent to the Appended Table 4 of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Law

(a) Operation of the Self-Defense Forces or thereto relevant assessments, plans or research

(b) Signal or imagery information, and other important information collected in relation to defense

(c) Collection and organization of information listed in (b) or the capacity to do so

(d) Assessments, plans or research pertaining to development of defense capability

(e) Type or quantity of weapons, ammunition, aircraft and other material for defense use

(f) Structure of communications network and means of communications for defense use

(g) Cryptology for defense use

(h) Specifications, performance or usage of weapons, ammunition, aircraft or other material for defense use including those at the R&D stage

(i) Methods of production, inspection, repair or examination of weapons, ammunition, aircraft and other material for defense use including those at the R&D stage

(j) Design, performance or internal use of facilities for defense use

(a) Among policy or contents of negotiations or cooperation with foreign governments or international organizations, those pertaining to the protection of lives and bodies of people, territorial integrity and other issues deemed important to national security

(b) Measures including embargoes on imports or exports that Japan carries out for national security purposes or thereto relevant policies

(c) Important information collected regarding the protection of the lives and bodies of people, territorial integrity, or the peace and security of the international community, or information that requires protection under international agreements including treaties related to national security

(d) Collection and organization of information listed in (c) or the capacity to do so

(e) Cryptology for diplomatic use, including communications between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japanese diplomatic establishments

  • Item (iii) Prevention of Designated Harmful Activities (e.g. Counterintelligence)

(a) Measures to prevent Designated Harmful Activities or thereto relevant plans or research

(b) Important information collected on the protection of lives and bodies of people, or information collected from foreign governments or international organizations in relation to prevention of Designated Harmful Activities

(c) Collection and organization of information listed in (b) or the capacity to do so

(d) Cryptology used for prevention of Designated Harmful Activities

(a) Measures to prevent terrorism or thereto relevant plans or research

(b) Important information collected on the protection of lives and bodies of people, or information collected from foreign governments or international organizations in relation to prevention of terrorism

(c) Collection and organization of information listed in (b) or the capacity to do so

(d) Cryptology used for prevention of terrorism

Security Clearance[edit]

Access to SDS shall be limited to government personnel, employees of Government of Japan contractors and prefectural police officers who, following the security clearance process, are identified as not risking unauthorized disclosure of SDS.

Penalty[edit]

  • Unauthorized disclosure of SDS shall be punished when intentionally or negligently committed by:
    • Those handling SDS as part of their duties
Intentional: Imprisonment for not more than 10 years
By negligence: Imprisonment for not more than 2 years or fine of not more than 500,000 yen
  • Those receiving and thus knowing SDS from an administrative organ for the sake of the public interest Intentional: Imprisonment for not more than 5 years
By negligence: Imprisonment for not more than 1 year or fine of not more than 300,000 yen
  • Acquisition of SDS through the following acts to serve the interests of foreign countries, etc. shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 10 years:
(1) Fraud, assault or intimidation; (2) Theft; (3) Intrusion on relevant facilities; (4) Eavesdropping on wired telecommunications; (5) Unauthorized access; (6) Any other act excluding (2) to (5) that undermines control of SDS holders.
  • Those who attempt, conspire to effect, instigate or incite intentional leakage or acquisition of SDS through the acts listed above shall be punished.

Process[edit]

Before SDS was launched , the Abe cabinet established the National Security Council (NSC) on December 4, 2013. The Abe cabinet explained that SDS and Japanese NSC should work together.[9]

Public comment were heard from July 24, 2014 to August 24, 2014.[10]

Government announced that SDS would get enforced on December 10, 2014.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Overview of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated SecretsCabinet Secretariat