Daniel Halliday
May 12 · Last update 20 hr. ago.

Why is Japan's government proposing an age limit revision for public prosecutors?

The Japanese government’s decision to allow Hiromu Kurokawa, superintending prosecutor at the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, to continue in his post passed the age of mandatory retirement has sparked controversy in Japan. Millions have taken part in a virtual protest on twitter, using the hashtag #検察庁法改正案に抗議します to condemn President Shinzo Abe for the move, criticising his motives and timing. Is the proposed revision of prosecution office term limits politically motivated? Should Hiromu Kurokawa be allowed to continue as Tokyo superintending prosecutor past the mandatory retirement age? Are the Japanese Government right to propose a revision to age limits for public prosecutors? www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/897 news.biglobe.ne.jp/entertainment/0511/ltr_200511_3342443031.html
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The awakening of a politically conscious Japanese celebrity class
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Abe is not letting a good crisis go to waste
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Part of a string of scandals affecting Shinzo Abe
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Illegal
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Government doesn’t want to lose an experienced prosecutor
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The awakening of a politically conscious Japanese celebrity class

This scandal may have been a cynical attempt influence the judiciary, an abuse of power to avoid prosecution for corruption, or an innocent attempt to retain an experienced prosecutor, but it is clear that the very public backlash on social media was celebrity led. A number of renowned actors, manga artists, comedians and musicians led the anti-Abe protest on Twitter, in what some have commented is a sign of celebrities in Japan waking up to the fact that they can have a positive influence on society. Seemingly encouraged by the social activism of foreign celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio or Bono, celebrities have tapped into the fact that people are tired of the government not working in their interest.

scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3083802/dont-destroy-country-japan-celebrities-break-tradition-lead-anti news.biglobe.ne.jp/entertainment/0511/ltr_200511_3342443031.html scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3083802/dont-destroy-country-japan-celebrities-break-tradition-lead-anti mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200511/p2g/00m/0na/017000c

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Daniel Halliday
May 25
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Abe is not letting a good crisis go to waste

What is more cynical than the clear effort by Shinzo Abe at stripping back the separation of powers is the timing of this attempt to exert influence over the judiciary branch of government, by change the retirement age for Japanese prosecutors in the middle of global pandemic. At a time when the Japanese general public were facing the anxiety of an unprecedented health crisis, Abe was seemingly quick to not let a good crisis go to waste. This is not the first time Abe has been accused of utilising a crisis to his political advantage, he has been accused of using terrorist threats as an excuse to militarise the country in the past, but this latest misstep seems particularly undemocratic and ill-timed.

japantoday.com/category/politics/japan%27s-abe-criticised-for-move-on-prosecutors-during-coronavirus-crisis japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/02/07/commentary/abe-acts-quickly-exploit-japans-nightmare/#.XsunhxMzbMI

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Daniel Halliday
May 25
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Part of a string of scandals affecting Shinzo Abe

This whole issue was a clear attempt by Shinzo Abe to groom Hiromu Kurakawa for the position of Prosecutor General, in order for Abe to have favourable judgements passed in his numerous scandals he is implicated in during his time in office. Several campaign financing scandals involving Abe’s cabinet members have plagued his time in office, leading many ministers to step down including Norihiko Akagi and Takehiko Endo in 2007, and Midori Matsushima and Yūko Obuchi in 2014. However the Moritomo Gakuen school scandal, and the finance ministry's subsequent efforts at a cover-up, falsifying documents that implicated Abe in the scandal, have been a defining moment in Abe's time leading the country, being designated ‘Abegate’. This failed proposal to change the age limit for public prosecutors was a badly concealed attempt to further cover-up such scandals, and its failure has left Abe with the lowest approval rating of his prime ministership, plummeting to just 27%.

mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200328/p2a/00m/0fp/005000c businesstimes.com.sg/opinion/abegate-may-be-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg msn.com/en-us/news/world/abe-e2-80-99s-support-falls-into-e2-80-98danger-zone-e2-80-99-after-prosecutor-scandal/ar-BB14vD3z japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/05/24/national/politics-diplomacy/japan-shinzo-abe-hiromu-kurokawa-gambling-scandal-prosecutor-bill/#.XsoqbRMzbMI theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/25/scandals-threaten-japanese-prime-minister-shinzo-abes-grip-on-power washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japanese-prime-minister-abe-embroiled-in-scandals-faces-calls-to-stand-

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Daniel Halliday
May 24
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Illegal

This issue has caused wide concern amongst both citizens and legal experts alike, as it represents the possible collapse of a modern nation - a clear collapse of the separation of the three powers, the legislature, executive, and judiciary branches of governance. In any well functioning democracy the position of a prosecutor must stay separate from those in power, maintaining neutrality and impartiality as they are vital in upholding the rule of law and should be free to investigate and indict anyone. The intention to make this an exception to aid Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is clear also; this is not a random case, but a prosecutor close to the prime minister who would be in the perfect position to become Prosecutor General following a half-year extension beyond retirement. The conflict of interests here is blatant and clearly unconstitutional.

asahi.com/ajw/articles/13118994 buzzap.jp/news/20200510-kensatsucho-kurokawa bunshun.jp/articles/-/37734 japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/05/14/editorials/prosecutor-retirement-revision-dangerous-step/#.XsGx8xMzbMK japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/05/18/national/japan-prosecutor-bill-next-session/#.XsIt_BMzbMI

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Daniel Halliday
May 18
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Government doesn’t want to lose an experienced prosecutor

Japan’s Justice Minister, Masako Mori, has stated that such a move is justified under the National Public Service Act, which “allows the government to extend the mandatory retirement age of a national government official by not more than one year if the retirement of the official could seriously hinder the execution of public duties” [1]. People protesting this issue do not understand the political and legal difficulty that the coronavirus pandemic poses for Japan’s government and legal system. This move is a temporary extension of an experienced prosecutor, that could be of tremendous benefit to the next generation in public prosecution, his knowledge and expertise will be indispensable in the exceedingly complicated and testing times that are likely to follow this pandemic.

[1] mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200204/p2a/00m/0na/015000c

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Daniel Halliday
May 12
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