Japan recession deepens as GDP growth declines further
Shinzo Abe has yet again invited public displeasure and suspicion by passing a state secrets law. Reuters

Japan has passed a strict new state-secrets law that critics see as helping the government to hide its misdeeds and limit press freedom, akin to the world war period.

The law gives prison terms of up to 10 years for public servants leaking state secrets, while journalists and others who encourage such leaks could be imprisoned for five years, reports Reuters.

The government claims the secrecy law, passed a year ago, is essential to convince allies like the United States to share intelligence with Japan.

"By applying the law practically and properly, explaining carefully how it is being applied, and reporting to parliament and making public how it is being enforced, the government plans to show clearly that the people's right to know will not be infringed on," said Hiroshige Seko, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary.

Critics say the government has failed to explain how it will implement the law and had solicited public opinion during the summer vacation time.

People were quick to take to the streets in protest against the law.

"If we give up on this Japan will end up just like Russia, or China, or North Korea," said a protestor braving the winter cold.

Reporters Without Borders has called the law "an unprecedented threat to freedom of information" while media and bloggers were uncertain how to proceed.