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>> Shouting and protests couldn't keep Japan's controversial anti-terror law from passing Thursday. Prime minister Shinzo Abe's ruling block ramming the bill through parliament's upper house, taking the rare step of skipping a committee vote to speed things up. It's a sweeping law that criminalizes conspiracy to commit terrorism and other serious crimes.
And as Reuters' Linda Seeger reports it's come up against some strong opposition.>> People who oppose this law say that it will expand greatly the ability of the police and other authorities to conduct surveillance of people including ordinary citizens. Japan's police already have quite broad powers of surveillance.
They also have the ability to arrest people and what they call here, re-arrest them on separate charges and keep them in jail before they are indicted for quite some time.>> Critics say the bill takes aim at a lot of so called serious offences that have no obvious connection to terrorism or organized crime.
Like, sit-ins to protest construction of apartment buildings, and copying music. There's also suspicion over why the new law was pushed through so quickly.>> The government said that it was necessary too, in order for Japan to be able to ratify a United Nations treaty, which is aimed at global organized crime, as well as to prevent terrorism in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Some critics or cynics would say that they were in a particular hurry to enact the legislation before the end of the current session of parliament because they don't want to extend that session and allow the opposition to continue to grill Prime Minister Abe and other government officials on a completely unrelated scandal.
>> The opposition sees the bill as part of a broader effort by Abe to ramp up state powers at the expense of civil liberties.