Japanese Supreme Court Upholds Special Surveillance to Keep Tabs on Muslims

Muslims living in Japan stage a demonstration near the offices of Japanese publishing company Dai-san Shokan in Tokyo on February 13, 2015.  Dai-san Shokan, a small Japanese publisher, on February 10 issued 3,000 copies of a book of cartoons by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, including controversial drawings of Mohammed.  Japan's small Muslim population has protested the publication, saying printing the cartoons is an "insult".       AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI        (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
The Japanese Supreme Court has affirmed the practice of extensive surveillance of Muslims, rejecting an appeal by 17 plaintiffs who challenged the policy on the grounds that it violated Muslims’ constitutional rights to privacy, equal treatment, and religious freedom. In 2010, over a hundred Japanese police files were leaked to the public, which revealed widespread monitoring of Muslims across Japan. The files reportedly showed that the Japanese government was keeping tabs on some 72,000 Japanese residents who hailed from member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Tokyo police had also been monitoring places of worship, halal restaurants, and “Islam-related” organizations, according to the documents. Soon after, 17 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit saying that their privacy had been violated, and challenging the extensive monitoring of followers of Islam in Japan. After two appeals, the case made it to Japan’s Supreme Court, which on May 31 concurred with a lower court that awarded the plaintiffs a total of ¥90 million ($880,000) in compensation because the leak violated their privacy. Nonetheless, the high court dismissed the more general charges of police profiling and invasive surveillance practices, which a lower court had upheld as “necessary and inevitable” to guard against the threat of