TOKYO — The Japanese parliament appeared ready Monday to move toward approval of a sweeping new “anti-conspiracy” measure that the government says is needed to stop terrorist attacks but that critics worry will be used to create a surveillance state.
The bill is part of a broader push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who faces only weak political opposition — to advance a broad legislative agenda that includes tougher law enforcement powers. A vote in favor of the bill by lawmakers was expected Tuesday.
Abe also wants his Liberal Democratic Party to come up with a concrete plan to amend the pacifist constitution, written by Japan’s American occupiers after its defeat in World War II.
“These moves show both Abe’s arrogance and his weakness,” said Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University and an outspoken critic of the Abe government.
“He has no rivals and is at the height of his power, so it feels like he can do anything. We’re seeing the personalization of power, and it’s not all that different from what we see in the Trump administration,” Nakano said.