Japan Just Passed a ‘Brutal,’ ‘Defective’ Anti-Terror Law

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the specter of terrorism has driven democracies from the United States to France to Britain to pass laws expanding government surveillance, detention, and other powers. Now, after three failed attempts, Japanese lawmakers have heeded those same instincts — while civil liberties advocates and opposition leaders cry foul.

Thousands protested in Tokyo on Thursday as lawmakers used a rare bypass mechanism to force an anti-terror bill through parliament. The new law lists hundreds of actions considered criminal, such as plotting and conspiracy. But some of the actions on the list don’t seem related to terrorism, according to the Guardian, including certain kinds of public protest.

The bill’s supporters offer a panoply of justifications. The measures, they say, are intended to target organized crime, fulfill Japan’s obligation to ratify a…

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