Issues of Using AI Technology as a Surveillance Technology – Japan as an Example

AI recognition technology is evolving. And machines and robots utilizing various AI recognition technologies have now been more developed for disaster prevention, monitoring, and surveillance. The recognition technology includes facial recognition. In Japan, JR East began using facial recognition technology in July 2021 to detect a portion of released and parolees inside stations. Media found about the system in September 2021 with sharp criticism and then JR withdrew the proposal, saying that a social consensus had not yet been reached. Certainly, it would be convenient for public transportation, including railway companies, to use AI technology, including facial recognition, to prevent problems and prevent disasters. However, in this paper, the author argues that the utilization of AI technology for surveillance has major problems from the viewpoint of human rights protection and Personal Information Protection Law, thus the usage must be restrained and properly regulated by law.

Do Singapore’s anti-“foreign interference” laws safeguard or threaten democracy?

In the name of protecting democracy, various states limit foreign influence by restricting political donations or requiring certain actors to disclose foreign affiliations. Singapore’s Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act 2021 goes much further. For example, it also allows the government to restrict online communication by anyone “on behalf of a foreign principal”, and to restrict certain local entities’ affiliations with foreigners.

The Act is part of a new wave of laws regulating speech and political participation in Singapore. Critics say these laws, by giving the government sweeping powers, stifle the freedom of speech, and threaten democracy and academic freedom.

I aim to address the constitutional issues these laws raise, examining whether the governmental powers therein are necessary, how they interact with fundamental rights, whether they are meaningfully constrained by both written and unwritten rules, and whether sufficient oversight (judicial or otherwise) exists.

Unchanging and Unchangeable Constitutions: Taiwan and Japan

The non-amendment of the Japanese Constitution since 1946 is difficult to attribute to the amendment mechanism alone, 2/3 majorities in the Diet and a simple majority at a referendum. Taiwan’s Constitution sets considerably higher thresholds: effectively, a three quarters majority in the legislature and absolute majority at referendum, combined with quorums and debate rules-quite possibly the most onerous general amendment procedure in the world. This paper compares Japan and Taiwan to explore critical issues in the theory of constitutional amendment: amendment difficulty, de facto unamendability, links between amendment difficulty and informal amendment, amendment culture. The paper suggests that the unchanging character of the Japanese Constitution and the unchangeable character of the Taiwanese Constitution are each attributable to extreme sensitivity on issues critical to national identity: renunciation of war in the case of Japan, territorial redefinition in the case of Taiwan.

The Informal Interpretation of the Hong Kong Basic Law: A Dialogic Approach

Under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ (OCTS), the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong has the final authority to interpret the Hong Kong Basic Law using a common law approach, while China’s sovereign authority – the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) – has the authority to interpret it using a socialist law approach. In order to maintain Hong Kong’s common law system as an intrinsic component of OCTS, this paper argues that the NPCSC should adopt an approach of self-restraint with regard to the interpretation of the Hong Kong Basic Law, unless the matter at hand is manifestly a matter relating to defence and foreign affairs or falls outside the limits of Hong Kong’s autonomy as specified by law. To this end, the present work further suggests that a dialogic mechanism – NPCSC’s informal interpretation, as practiced – can function as a bridge to reconcile common law with socialist law components under OCTS by following the principle of subsidiarity.

“One Country, Two Systems” Survives in Hong Kong: What If Carrie Lam Had Withdrawn the Extradition Bill on 15 June 2019?

In 2019 Carrie Lam, leader of China’s semi-free city Hong Kong, caused Hong Kong’s worst politico-legal crisis when she rashly tried to amend two extradition laws so that persons there could potentially face trial in mainland China, where gross human rights abuses abound. Protests grew exponentially large that spring. June 15 is the crucial date. Lam could have withdrawn the so-called extradition bill then, but refused. Unprecedented lawlessness soon gripped the city, and continued even after Lam withdrew the bill on 4 September. Long-vexed relations between Hongkongers and their two governments now nosedived until crashing the next June with China’s sudden imposition of a harsh new national security law—in effect killing late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s “one country, two systems” experiment in post-British colonial Hong Kong. The counterfactual question “what if Carrie Lam had withdrawn the extradition bill on 15 June 2019?” is, therefore, valid and yields an instructive answer.