Monday, August 15, 2016

"Complaint filed against police in Oita over hidden cameras"

From Japan Today, 8/13/16.

The administrator of a building used by opposition party supporters and a labor union chapter filed a complaint against the Oita prefectural police on Friday for trespassing and secretly installing cameras on the premises in June.

The police vowed to “thoroughly investigate” the incident, which took place around the time official campaigning for the House of Councillors election got under way.

Last week, they admitted that on June 18 two of their officers had installed two cameras in the grounds of the building in Beppu city in Oita Prefecture, southwestern Japan, without the permission, for the purpose of monitoring the actions of certain individuals.

The police have yet to reveal why they felt it necessary to install the cameras, which were in place through June 24, and who they were monitoring.

The building is home to a support group for the Social Democratic Party, a small opposition party, and a regional body linked to the Oita chapter of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, known as Rengo.

The cameras were set up at two different locations—one covering the building’s entrance and another monitoring the parking lot, local labor union members said. The cameras were discovered after official campaigning for the upper house election began on June 22.

“We want the prefectural police to explain the purpose of their probe,” said Kenji Ishimoto, secretary general of the Oita labor union branch.

According to the union members, the cameras captured “images of an unspecified number of people entering and leaving the building,” a move they said constitutes a “violation of privacy.”

So far, police have said two male officers from their criminal affairs section installed the cameras on the night of June 18, but said the pair did not think the outdoor areas where they installed the cameras were privately owned.

The police acknowledged it was inappropriate to enter the premises without permission and install the cameras. They have apologized to those affected, but declined to say whether their surveillance activities were linked to the election.


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