I contacted the Tokyo Citizens First Association…
Last year, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was criticized for disclosing IR (Integrated Resorts) related documents and other information in a mostly “blacked-out” manner, and it was reported in the November 23 issue of Shinbun Akahata that the “blacked-out” was somehow secretly replaced with “whitewashed”.
According to the article, it was discovered that the records of interviews between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and casino operators were “whitewashed” in response to a disclosure request made in June by the secretary general of the Koto Citizens’ Federation. In fact, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government revised its guidelines on information disclosure in January this year, stipulating that non-disclosed portions can be “whitewashed”.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government explained to this newspaper that the reason for the “whitewashing” was to “improve visibility,” but another issue that has emerged as a result of this report is the distrust of Governor Yuriko Koike and the Tokyo Citizens First Association.
The pledge on the official website, “I will stop Nori-ben,” has been “realized”!
This is because the second item on the “Progress of Pledges” page on the official website of Tokyo Citizens First, “Stop Noriben (seaweed bento),” is listed as “realized” while all the other items are listed as “partially realized.
Is it possible that Tokyo Citizens First is interpreting this as a “fulfillment” of its pledge by changing the item from “painted in black” to “painted in white”? If so, it seems to me that they are taking the people of Tokyo for fools. ……
In response to this, we asked the TMNF, “When and on what basis did you decide to ‘realize’ the pledge?” “If whitewashing is not the policy of the TMNF, do you want to change the current situation of ‘whitewashing’? If whitewashing is not a policy of the TMNF, do you plan to change the current practice of whitewashing, and do you plan to include ‘no more whitewashing’ in your new pledge?
From 2018, one year after the election, we have been analyzing the progress of the pledges (policies) we made in the election, which was not done very often by existing political parties at that time. 377 policies have been disclosed every year, including 5 priority policies and 14 basic policies from 2020.
Based on this premise, here is how he explains “I will stop Noriben.
In 2009, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government enacted an ordinance on the management of official documents, which the Tokyo Citizens First Association had been calling for, and revised the rules on information disclosure, significantly reducing the cost of disclosure. 5: New policies have achieved significant results in solving the issues. In addition, the issues you pointed out are not the same as the ones we have already addressed.
In addition, the items you pointed out are not based on our policy. In the past, we have strictly demanded improvements whenever there was an inappropriate response to information disclosure by the government, and we will continue to work on the realization of our pledges and further enhancement of the system from the perspective of the citizens of Tokyo First.
In other words, the word “realization” refers to the time before the “whitewashing,” and not to the interpretation that because the “whitewashing” was done, the “glue speech” was stopped. So I posed an additional question.
I asked him an additional question: “In the past, we have strictly demanded improvements whenever there were inappropriate responses to information disclosure by the government, and we will continue to work to realize our pledges and further enhance the system from the perspective of the Tokyo Citizens First Association. Are you aware of any inappropriate response? Are you aware that the TMG’s change from black to white was inappropriate, and do you have any plans to ask for improvement?
The answer to this question is as follows.
We believe that it is important to promote thorough disclosure of information, and that the appropriateness of such disclosure should not be judged by the color of the undisclosed parts. In some cases, there are certain restrictions on information disclosure based on the ordinance, such as the protection of personal information, but if there are inappropriate responses to information disclosure, we will continue to request improvements and work to further enhance the system.
It is a matter of course that “appropriateness is not judged by the color of the undisclosed part. The problem is that it is “undisclosed” without a valid reason. …… At least from the perspective of Tokyoites First, “whitewashing” is not a judgment of “inappropriate handling of information disclosure.
This case reminds me again of the news reported by NHK on June 3, “Tokyo Metropolitan Government to Review Operation of Information Disclosure System” (*see previous article). It was reported that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was considering setting up a standard for not accepting requests for disclosure, saying that the frequent requests from certain people and the huge number of documents subject to such requests were hindering its operations.
While this was NHK’s own scoop, the Mainichi Shimbun on December 5 reported that two specialized subcommittees of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Information Disclosure and Personal Information Protection Council had “deliberated behind closed doors” and that a subcommittee of the council had held a “subcommittee to examine the criteria for abuse of rights” by experts. In the meantime, the change from black to white painting was steadily underway.
What do the experts think?
Professor Masanori Okada of the Waseda University Graduate School of Law points out the following about this issue.
The change from black lacquering to white lacquering is nothing more than a change in the color of the “cover,” that is, a change in the color of the “nori-ben. If the content of the “pledge” (solution to the problem) was to “save the cost of toner for the copy machine in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government,” it would be called “fulfillment of the pledge,” but common sense suggests that the “pledge” of the Tokyo Citizens First was not to that effect, but to “expand the area of information disclosure. I don’t think it can be called a ‘fulfillment of the pledge.
Mr. WADA, a “disclosure request demon” and a member of the “disclosure request cluster,” pointed out that the change from black to white was actually quite malicious.
In response to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “whitewashing,” he filed a request on November 23 for disclosure of documents showing the legal review process and legal opinions.
In response, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government decided on December 7 to disclose the “Lecture Materials (December 3, 2020)” and the “Meeting Agenda Record Sheet. On the other hand, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government decided not to disclose the legal process and legal opinions on the grounds that “the relevant official documents were not prepared or acquired by the implementing agency and do not exist.
In other words, the disclosure decision shows that ‘whitewashing’ was already under consideration last year, while the non-disclosure decision shows that ‘no legal consideration’ was done.
The “whitewash” does not reveal the length of the text or the number of words in the undisclosed sections…
Mr. WADA reiterates the danger of this issue as follows.
One of the problems is that the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly did not even pass a resolution on the issue, but only changed its bylaws. Furthermore, in the case of explicit masking (blacking out), the undisclosed letters are underneath, so the number of letters erased can be seen.
Currently, even with “whitewashing,” the undisclosed portions can be seen, but if the internal rules are changed to paint the undisclosed portions with paper colors and even hide the existence of the undisclosed portions, the length and number of characters in the undisclosed portions will no longer be known. In this way, it is possible that the erasure itself will not be known, which may be considered as tampering with official documents – concealment. There is a danger that this will be worse than “blacking out.
I wonder when the day will come when “I will stop Noriben” will be “realized” in the true sense of the word…
Interview and text by： Wakako Tacko
Born in 1973. Worked at a publishing company and an advertising production company before becoming a freelance writer. In addition to interviewing actors and actresses for weekly and monthly magazines, she writes drama columns for a variety of media. JUMP 9 no Tobira ga Openitoki" (both published by Earl's Publishing).