Japan: Concern at Japanese government snub of UN expert on free expression

Japan: Concern at Japanese government snub of UN expert on free expression - Civic Space

ARTICLE 19 is disappointed that the Government of Japan has, at the last minute, cancelled the visit of David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The Government claimed that it was not able to schedule meetings with officials, having themselves invited him for an official visit months previously.

Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 commented:

“Scrutiny of official attitudes to freedom of expression should be unproblematic, and indeed a priority, for a democratic country like Japan.”

“ARTICLE 19 is surprised that the Japanese government has been unwilling to meet the UN’s independent expert during his review of the country’s compliance with international norms around freedom of expression, particularly in the context of the growing criticism levelled at Japan in recent years,” added Hughes. 

ARTICLE 19 recently visited Japan and met with a range of officials, academics, journalists, lawyers and members of civil society, who raised numerous concerns about freedom of expression and information in Japan, including the pressure on mainstream media to remain uncritical of government policies.

Threats to freedom of expression and information in Japan appear to be on the increase. These include threats to broadcasters of parliamentary investigations and the withdrawal of licenses under the Broadcasting Act; expanding secrecy following the adoption of the 2014 Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets; and proposed revisions to the Constitution which would limit freedom of expression and association.

ARTICLE 19’s recent Report on the Right to Information in Asia explores several of these threats in detail, noting limitations on access to information under the Right to Information Act.

ARTICLE 19 asks the Japanese government to reconsider its cancellation of the David Kaye’s visit and schedule face to face discussions at the earliest opportunity.

国連表現の⾃由特別報告者の訪問を拒んだ⽇本政府に懸念を表明する (Press Release in Japanese here)..