Managing Editor, Ryukyu Shimpo
Managing Editor, Okinawa Times
Thursday, July 02, 2015, 14:30 - 15:30
The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is engaged in a desperate damage control exercise, after a group of his lawmakers and supporters called for the "destruction" of two newspapers in Okinawa.
The Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo have been consistently and outspokenly critical of the presence on Okinawan soil of the overwhelming number of US military bases in Japan. At a ruling party meeting last week, Naoki Hyakuta, a best-selling novelist and right wing nationalist, who is one of Abe's most controversial associates, declared that the two papers should be "destroyed" for their defiance.
Despite apologies from senior party figures, his outburst has added to anxiety about the authoritarian tendencies of the LDP and its rightward lurch under Abe. This week, the two editors at the center of the storm will visit the Club to talk about the Hyakuta debacle, and the challenges of reporting on Okinawa's fraught and polarized politics.