Japan Biz Opposes Secrecy Law

TOKYO — A group of prominent Japanese film folk, including animation masters Hayao Miyazaki (pictured) and Isao Takahata, have formed a group to oppose the controversial state secrets protection bill now before the Japanese parliament.

The bill, which has already passed one level of the legislative system, proposes stiff penalties for civil servants and journalists who reveal secrets. The film industry worries that not only might the legislation help the government cover up embarrassing situations – like the mismanagement at electricity generator TEPCO whose nuclear reactor at Fukushima melted down after the tsunami – but that film-makers may once again be required to produce propaganda movies.

In a statement, the group, called the Committee to Oppose the State Secrets Protection Act (translation), said that “Reflecting on our seniors in the film world who were forced to support war against their wishes, the Japanese film world walked a new path in the post-war period in mortification and remorse.”

As of Dec. 3 the group had 269 supporters, including many well-known directors, actors and scripters, concerned about freedom of expression.

Japan must be a free country for the sake of peace in East Asia,” said Miyazaki.

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