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Japan Is Now Fascist Again

World Socialist Web Site

This is the fascism that comes because people don't have simple score voting.

Japan's new state secrecy law
By John Watanabe
16 November 2013

The new State Secrecy Bill put forward by the Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will lead to a highly secretive regime and undermine the basic democratic right to scrutinise government operations and policy.

The cabinet approved the bill last month and the Diet has begun its deliberations, with a view to passing it before the current session ends on December 6. The ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito, with a comfortable majority in both chambers of the Diet, is poised to enact the law despite overwhelming public opposition.
The new law is essential for the full integration of the Japanese military and intelligence agencies into the US-led "pivot to Asia" and the military containment of China. Washington has pressed for the tighter control of information for years, withholding intelligence from the Japanese government, or sharing it only with the Japanese Defence Ministry, where a stricter secrecy regime already applies.

Chapter 1 of the bill, published in Japanese by Asahi Shimbun Digital on October 25, refers to the "increasingly complex international situation," making for the "growing importance of securing information related to national security."

Abe has repeatedly emphasised that the law is the prerequisite for establishing a US-style National Security Council, an initiative that has cleared the lower house and is being debated in the upper house. Such a body will bring together ministers and senior military officers to coordinate defence planning and give the prime minister sweeping powers—in line with Abe's plan to build "a strong military."

Abe has insisted the secrecy law is necessary so that all government departments follow a uniform rule. The legislation is being enacted amid the politically explosive disclosures by American whistleblower Edward Snowden of the US National Security Agency's vast spying operations. The Japanese government is clearly determined to prevent similar damaging leaks.

The proposed bill will effectively allow the government to proclaim any potentially embarrassing information a "state secret," to keep it indefinitely from public scrutiny and harshly punish any attempt to disclose it.

Under Chapter 2, Article 4, a "state secret" can initially be kept from the public for 5 years, with a possible extension of up to 30 years. Even after three decades, the cabinet can maintain an indefinite ban on its release.

Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) lawyer Tadaaki Muto told Reuters: "Basically, this bill raises the possibility that the kind of information about which the public should be informed is kept secret eternally." Moreover, "the administrative branch can set the range of information that is kept secret at its own discretion."

At present, only the Defence Ministry can designate information pertaining to national defence as state secrets. Under the new bill, any ministry or government agency can do so for information falling into four broad categories: defence, diplomacy, counter-terrorism and counter-espionage.

Even under the existing setup, the amount of information eventually made public is miniscule. According to the New York Times, between 2007 and 2011 the Japanese Defence Ministry destroyed some 34,000 documents at the end of their classification period. Only one was publicly released.

Currently, non-military leakers can be imprisoned for up to one year, while Defence Ministry employees may be sentenced to five years, or 10 years if the leak is related to the US-Japan alliance. Under the new law, any whistleblower could face up to 10 years in jail for publishing a "state secret."

In a move aimed at muzzling the media, journalists can be jailed for up to five years for "wrongful" reporting of "state secrets." A Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan statement expressed deep concern and urged the Diet to "either reject the bill completely or to substantially redraft it so that it ceases to pose a threat to both journalism and to the democratic future of Japan."

Chapter 5 states that government employees and contractors entrusted with the state secrets, along with their families and relatives, will be subject to thorough investigation. Background checks will not only cover drug or alcohol abuse, mental states and financial situations, but also political views.

"Terrorism," defined in the most sweeping terms, is used to justify the draconian law. Chapter 5, Article 12 refers to terrorism as "politically imposing differing ideologies on the country or the citizens." JFBA lawyer Tsutomu Shimizu told the Japan Times that "such activities as the anti-nuclear rallies in front of the prime minister's office could hence be categorised as terrorist acts."

The secrecy law lays the basis for the government to silence any political dissent as opposition grows to its austerity measures and militarism. During the current large-scale military exercise in the Okinawa region, the government banned journalists and instructed the media to minimise its coverage. Despite these measures, protests erupted in Miyako Island, where Japanese troops practiced the use of anti-ship missiles to counter the Chinese navy. Locals sought to disrupt the exercise, declaring: "We don't want missiles!" and "We don't want war!"

Abe is rushing the secrecy bill through the parliament to pre-empt public opposition. According to a Kyodo poll in late October, 50.6 percent of respondents oppose the bill and only 35.9 percent support it. Just 12.9 percent want the legislation passed during the current Diet session, while 82.7 percent said it should be deliberated more carefully.

The Japanese media has ignored public protests against the legislation—such as one in Tokyo on October 25. The British-based Financial Times reported: "At a protest march against the bill this week, shouts of 'protect freedom of press' were accompanied by denunciations of a plan by the premier to reinterpret Japan's anti-war constitution to allow the country's forces to fight overseas in defence of allies."

After avoiding taking a position for weeks, the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) suddenly pointed this week to the overwhelming public opposition and tentatively declared that it could not agree to the State Secrecy Bill. The Democrats are planning a counter-proposal for next Tuesday that would establish limited parliamentary oversight of the government's designation of state secrets.

The DPJ has no fundamental disagreements with the LDP over the expansion of Japan's military, or its commitment to the US "pivot to Asia." In fact, the DPJ governments headed by Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda strengthened Japan's alliance with the US and, backed by the Obama administration, deliberately heightened tensions with China over the disputed Senkakus/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

In doing so, the DPJ opened the door for the Abe government's revival of Japanese militarism and plans to build a "strong military," which go hand in hand with the profoundly anti-democratic laws it is ramming through the Diet.

simple score voting 09.Dec.2013 11:12



I realize you believe that most of the worlds problems would be solved if everybody adopted simple score voting. Can you give me any instance outside of electing the treasurer for the local Moose Lodge where this system is used, and used successfully? Because successful means that the political problems are solved, or at least they don't have the same problems the rest of us do with our old fashion "fascist" system?

Many states have adopted a Runoff system, which seems to be a system that works well for sports completions, and other elimination based competitions.

In the end there can only be one...

Who Uses Score Voting? 09.Dec.2013 20:40


The Center for Election Science — Score Voting — Who uses Score Voting?

The Harvey Milk Democratic Club, the largest Democratic club in San Francisco, uses Score Voting for their endorsements.

The Pirate Party of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous of Germany's 16 states (population: 18 million), uses Score Voting (on a -3 to +3 scale) to elect their Board of Directors. On May 13, 2012, the NRW Pirates won 7.8% of the vote in the state elections, winning 20 of the 237 seats in state parliament. (Their party list had itself been selected via multi-winner Approval Voting.) They subsequently held their first Score Voting Board of Directors election on May 29, 2012. The results of that election are here.

The Pirate Party of Lower Saxony subsequently adopted Score Voting (on a 0-5 scale) to order their party list. The first use was on August 25, 2012.

• "Overall the counting proved that we had chosen the right system. We were only slightly slower than we had expected and most people were happy with the result. They felt that with the scoring they could express their will in a very effective way." - André, Pirate Party Member, Germany

ESPN.com uses Score Voting to rank every NBA player from number 500 to number 1.

Mozilla, the organization that makes the popular Firefox web browser, uses Score Voting to select Mentors for their Mozilla Reps program.

The Fedora Project, a partnership of free software community members from around the globe, uses Score Voting to select their board members.

The Central Co-op, an independent, member-owned natural foods cooperative in Seattle, WA, uses Score Voting for their Inside Trustee Elections.

• "It's easy to understand." - Webster Walker, Community Outreach Administrator, Central Co-op, Seattle, WA

The San Francisco FrontRunners, a running club, uses Score Voting to select which charity to donate their proceeds to.

NAVA, the North American Vexillological Association, used Score Voting to identify the best and worst flags on the continent.

The TV shows American Idol, The Voice, and Dancing with the Stars use Score Voting to select their winners.

The Miss America Pageant uses Score Voting to select their finalists.

The cooking shows Iron Chef, Top Chef, and Cupcake Wars all use Score Voting to select their winners.

Many Olympic sports, such as gymnastics and figure skating, use Score Voting to select their winners.

Voting in Sanity

Success Stories:

Where is Score Voting being used?

• By our schools, to select the valedictorian

• In the Olympics, for judging athletic performances

• At the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), to evaluate moviegoers' preferences

• On websites that feature reviews, such as Amazon.com, Yelp, and the Apple App Store

• ... and it undoubtedly forms a major part of every search-engine algorithm!

Simple score voting can be completely described in one short simple sentence: Give no vote at all, or from one to ten votes to any number of candidates you wish (up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates), and then simply add all the votes up.

One could say that simple score eliminates 90% of the spoiler effect. To illustrate: if a voter gives 10 votes to Nader and 9 votes to Gore, it is simply obvious that, if Nader does not win, the voter has only sacrificed exactly 10% of their voting power. Not 100% as they would have had they been forced to use the usual single-selection voting method.

No fancy math is necessary to compare and contrast it to every other option for effectiveness and simplicity, including single-selection (aka "plurality," our present "system") Condorcet, Borda, IRV, Range (with its tricky "averages")

The simple score method I advocate is the very simplest, since it only allows from 1 to 10 votes to be given, not from 0 to 9, or 0 to 10. It also has no vote-averaging that seriously complicates the range score method. I also am the only one to point out that voters should always vote artfully )or strategically), not artlessly or heroically (aka "honestly" or "sincerely").

blues 10.Dec.2013 15:17


The Gore/Nader example you gave is a perfect example of why those who voted for Bush, Gore or Nader should be happy with their votes. A adult is either capable of making a decision and living with the consequences or not. The Scoring system sounds good on paper until you realize its namby-pamby, spoiled brat approach to making a decision which is why its never evolved past the Moose-lodge level of unimportance. make your best choice, and live with the decision, that is how adults handle life.

Make Your Most Strategic Choices, And The Most Of Them, That Is How Adults Win 10.Dec.2013 21:17


"make your best choice, and live with the decision, that is how adults handle life." That is also how losing adults with only two miserable choices handle political life.

The present single-selection ("plurality") voting system guarantees a two-party system lock-in 99.9% of the time because of the spoiler effect. Simple score voting enables the use of strategy to suppress the spoiler effect.

However, single-selection (aka "plurality") voting (what we generally have now) obstructs the employment of strategy (artfulness). The employment of strategy is not a sign of weakness. The inability to do this is the definition of weakness. Winners get strategy and real choices. Losers get locked into trivial choices.

real world 11.Dec.2013 14:30



Try this anyplace, and you will be shut down fast.

Dating - Ok, honey, I'm giving you a 1, but if you don't put out the way I want I'm going with my #2 choice. (SLAP!)

Dining - I want the steak, but if it not that good, I want to send it back and get the fish, and I'll send it back until I get something I like. (GET OUT!)

Currently there is only one voter in the United States 100% happy with every Choice President Obama has made in the past 5 years, and that voter's name is President Obama!

If you don't like the choice you are given then that's what the primary system is for. If enough people are like-minded then the change will happen for the better, as it stands now there are not enough people who give a shit to worry about primary voting. Democracy in action.

Absurd Pseudo-Analogies 11.Dec.2013 21:28


Real political election choices have nothing to do with the quality of romantic relationships, nor the merits of steak or fish dinners. The only real analogies would consist of being offered a choice of two, and only two, love companions, or being allowed to consume only steak or fish, but no other kind of food.

Simple score voting should not be expected to guarantee 100% happiness. Who knows how happy Obama happens to be?

There is a reason why normal people don't go to political party primaries. Everybody knows political primaries are a joke, but they too would benefit tremendously from the use of score voting. Primaries are not actually official functions, so they are easy to manipulate. And because of the spoiler effect that simple score voting would abolish, the primary "system" is controlled by only two ruling parties (Democrat and Republican at the moment).

Newsflash: If the people do not demand power, they will receive tyranny.

blues 12.Dec.2013 07:24


I believe you are pissed about the apathy in the voting populous and are wanting some way to get them to the poles because you believe they will vote in their own interest and not in the interests of the establishment.

I watched in 2012 a grass roots movement get squashed by the establishment. The establishment wanted Romney. So they made sure and funded 6 other conservative candidates to split up the vote to insure Romney would win the primary. What the failed to realize was that those same voters stayed home (4 million less of them compared with McCain in 2008), and Romney lost. Simple Score voting would have changed nothing in this case, in fact it would have made Romney's nomination tally come a few months earlier.

There are more ways to rig an election than just stuffing a primary ballot with multiple good or bad choices.

Not to open up this can of worms but since you mentioned Gore/Bush/Nader. Florida has two time zones, and when 8PM on the east coast hit If you remember NBC announced Gore the winner of Florida causing perhaps as many as 20 thousand republicans in the conservative Panhandle of the state to get out of line or turn their cars around and go home while voting was still going on. Its their own fault, they should have stayed and voted. Those numbers would have negated any Nader/Butterfly ballot problems.

In 1980, the networks announced Reagan had one while west coast was still voting. This caused the same effect and with it many democrat congressmen in close races lost because their voters turned around and went home having never voted.

If I were in charge I would go back to the way it was originally setup. Have the Senate/house vote for the president. I traveled though Europe in 1993 and met a woman who voted for Clinton because he had "a cute butt". Now that's a wonderful reason to pick the leader of the free world.
The senate was smart enough to cast off that burden and call it a gem of democracy, but what it would do is make a lot of people pay more attention to the electors they elect. I guess those politicians don't want that much heat. they would rather just anonymously spend their careers fatting their war-chests and pensions.