Japan passes controversial conspiracy law

Critics argue it provides the Government with sweeping powers

Japan passes controversial conspiracy law

Members of opposition parties vote against the contentious conspiracy bill at upper house | Image: PA images

Japan has passed a controversial anti-terror conspiracy law which allows authorities to target terror conspiracies. 

Despite some vocal opposition, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc pushed it through the upper house early on Thursday. 

The government argues that the law is needed to improve security ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Japan. 

They also say it's needed to comply with a UN agreement which they have signed.

The law, which criminalises the plotting and committing of 277 acts, amends an existing law against organised crime syndicates.

It has even sparked protests including one on Wednesday night; it took place outside the parliament building and was attended by thousands of demonstrators.

Sweeping powers 

What is so controversial about the law is that although it bans the plotting of serious crimes such as terrorism, it also bans much lesser offences. 

Some of the offences which are included under the new bill include: Copying music, using forged stamps, competing in a motor boat race without a licence and mushroom picking in conservation forests.

While the government has promised that the law will not be used unfairly, critics still remain unconvinced. Some say it's too broadly worded and gives the authorities sweeping powers.

Japan's PM Shinzo Abe told reporters that the law would allow Japan to "firmly cooperate with international society to prevent terrorism."