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49% of Mainichi pollees favor 'anti-conspiracy bill'; wording could have affected results

A recent Mainichi Shimbun opinion poll has indicated that the phrasing of questions regarding the so-called "anti-conspiracy" bill could have an effect on the pros and cons over the legislation, with nearly half of respondents in the latest poll saying they support the bill when it's referred to as "a bill that would criminalize acts of preparations to commit crimes such as terrorism."

The April 22-23 survey was the third time the Mainichi Shimbun questioned people on the matter. As a result, 49 percent said they supported the bill to revise the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds by changing the conditions that constitute conspiracy, while 30 percent opposed it.

In the latest poll, respondents were given explanations that the bill would criminalize acts of preparations to commit crimes such as terrorism and that it would "punish organized criminal groups at the stage where they plan and prepare for a crime." At the same time, the survey did not touch on concerns regarding investigations under the legislation that could target regular citizens.

In a similar opinion poll conducted in January, the establishment of a criminal offense for acts of preparations to commit crimes such as terrorism was mentioned, but with a side note that "it has been pointed out that the bill could lead to human rights violations by law enforcement authorities." In that January survey, 53 percent were in favor of the legislation, while 30 percent opposed it.

On the other hand, when the word "terrorism" was omitted from the questionnaire in a survey this past March and instead it mentioned about concerns that regular citizens could come under investigation while the government has reduced the number of crimes included in the legislation by half from nearly 700, 41 percent of pollees said they were against the bill while 30 percent supported it.

While these polls cannot be compared simply, it appears that when anti-terrorism measures are emphasized as the focus of the bill, the support rate goes up.

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