U.N. experts concerned over Japan's proposed State Secrets Bill

Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Two independent United Nations human rights experts expressed doubts about Japan's proposed legislation regarding state secrets, a U.N. statement Friday said.

At issue is whether the Special Secrets Bill establishes overly broad grounds for secrecy and includes "serious threats to whistle-blowers and even journalists reporting on secrets," said Frank La Rue, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression.

"Transparency is a core requirement for democratic government," he said.

The proposed bill established the grounds and procedures for classification of information held by the Japanese government, the U.N. statement said.

Anand Grover, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, who visited Japan last year to study the response to the Fukushima nuclear incident, expressed the need to for governments to ensure full transparency in emergency situations.

"Particularly in calamities, it is essential to ensure the public is provided with consistent and timely information enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their health," Grover said.

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