"Japan's Journalists Speak Out"
Shigetada Kishii, Soichiro Tahara, Shuntaro Torigoe,
Shigenori Kanehira, Akihiro Otani & Osamu Aoki, Journalists
Thursday, March 24, 2016, 12:30 - 14:00
On February 9th, Sanae Takaichi, Japan’s communications minister, mentioned the possibility of shutting down television companies that flout rules on political impartiality, in an apparent attempt to threaten the broad casters. The comments triggered outrage among the press and ordinarycitizen alike and renewed fears about what appears to be a sustained government attack on the country’s remaining critical media.
Since 2010, Japan has seen a vertiginous slide in world rankings of media freedom falling from No.11 to No. 61 in the latest survey of Reporters Without Borders. At the same time, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has engaged in what critics say is an unprecedented charm offensive with media bosses. The upshot, say many journalists, is that it has become harder to scrutinize government policies.
Takaichi’s comments came against this background. Far from relenting in the face of the criticism they triggered, the communications minister repeated the threat at a Lower House Budget Committee session on Feb. 29, though she said suspension of TV licenses could only happen after “careful and thorough” study of offending programs.
Our six speakers today, all top names in the world of Japanese journalism, have already made their feelings about the controversy known. They have kindly agreed to come to the FCCJ and explain their concerns to the foreign media. We hope you will join us for this important event.