The March 6 editorial “Squelching bad news in Japan” implied that the Japanese government had infringed on freedom of the press, suggested “formal and informal pressure on Japan’s media, by the government and its allies” and hinted at pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “friends” for the resignation of three television journalists. Such descriptions, however, have no grounds.
The Japanese Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the press. The Feb. 8 comments by Japan’s minister of internal affairs and communications only repeated the legal interpretation held by the previous government. Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, clearly stated that “freedom of the press and editorial rights must be guaranteed.”
Indeed, under the guarantee of such freedom, people enjoy lively discussion at all levels and occasions, including on legislation for peace and security. At the Diet, all political parties hold free and active policy discussions. “Free institutions, including independent media,” which the editorial called “the proudest of Japan’s post-World War II achievements,” remain unharmed.
Yasuhisa Kawamura, Tokyo
The writer is press secretary of Japan’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.