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Komeito receptive to anti-conspiracy bill as step to combat terrorism

Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has moved to support the submission of a controversial anti-conspiracy bill to the Diet as a step to counter terrorism.

The party believes it can win the Japanese public's understanding if the number of crimes to be contained in the bill is reduced to around 300 from the current 676 envisioned by the government.

The Diet may pass the measure to revise the Act for Punishment of Organized Crimes, Control of Crime Proceeds and other matters during the current session.

''We recognize the need (for the bill)," Komeito Secretary-General Yoshihisa Inoue told a news conference on Jan. 27. "The problem is how much we can dispel Japanese people's concern.'' He added that his party will back the bill's enactment if the legislation is submitted to the Diet.

Anti-conspiracy bills have been shelved on three occasions in the past due to criticism that investigative authorities' broad interpretation of such legislation could lead to human rights violations.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly argued during parliamentary deliberations that the anti-conspiracy bill now under consideration is different from the previous versions, making it difficult for Komeito to maintain a stance of hesitance.

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