Japan enacts state secrets law despite protests: Kyodo

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) listens to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso during the plenary session of the Lower House of the parliament as it rejects a no-confidence resolution against the Cabinet, in Tokyo, on Dec 6,
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) listens to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso during the plenary session of the Lower House of the parliament as it rejects a no-confidence resolution against the Cabinet, in Tokyo, on Dec 6, 2013. Japan enacted a state-secrets law toughening penalties for leaks on Friday,  Dec 6, 2013, despite public protests and criticism that it will muzzle the media and help cover up official misdeeds. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan enacted a state-secrets law toughening penalties for leaks on Friday, despite public protests and criticism that it will muzzle the media and help cover up official misdeeds.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, keen to beef up Japan's security amid rising concerns about China's military assertiveness, has said the law is needed to the smooth operation of a new National Securities Council and to persuade foreign countries such as close ally the United States to share intelligence.