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New counterterrorism bill will enable authorities to arrest persons preparing terrorist attacks

  • 2016-03-28 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: March 26, 2016 – p. 1)


 In view of repeated heinous international terrorist attacks targeting the general public, such as the simultaneous attacks in Paris last November and in Belgium on March 22 this year, the government has decided to submit a new counterterrorism bill to the Diet, sources informed Sankei on March 25. Bearing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and other events in mind, the administration aims to prevent large-scale terrorist acts before they happen in Japan.


 By revising the existing “Organized Crime Punishment Law,” the new counterterrorism bill is aimed at punishing serious organized crime at the preparatory stage. By changing structural elements of the “crime of conspiracy,” in which suspects can be punished for joining a scheme to commit a serious crime, the new law, if enacted, will enable authorities to arrest suspects for making such preparations as obtaining funding, explosives, or vehicles that are objectively considered necessary for committing a crime.


 The new law will also allow authorities to arrest not only terrorists but also individuals who support terrorist organizations; thereby, it will have a deterrent effect to prevent individuals involved in a failed crime detected during an investigation from re-executing the crime.


 “The crime of preparation for committing organized crime” is the provisional name for the new crime currently under consideration. The application of the new law will be limited to criminal organizations.


 Similar bills were scrapped three times in the past out of the concern or criticism that “people could be charged merely for discussing a crime at a restaurant,” or “Labor unions or companies could also be targeted under a new law.” For this reason, the government narrowed down punishable offenders under the proposed bill. The Justice Ministry will finish up preparations for submitting the bill to the next Diet session.

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