Public lecture video by Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS). This lecture was held on March 31, 2017. The speakers were Jeff Kingston, editor of Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan (Routledge 2017) and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan Campus; Tina Burrett, ICAS adjunct fellow and Associate Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University; Michael Cucek, ICAS Adjunct Fellow, Adjunct Professor of politics at Temple University Japan Campus and Adjunct Professor of social science at Waseda University; David McNeill, foreign correspondent for The Irish Times, The Independent, The Economist and The Chronicle of Higher Education; and Lawrence Repeta, Professor of law, Meiji University.
Press freedom in Japan is threatened and curtailed by the Abe government. It’s not an open war on the mainstream media as Trump is waging and journalists are not being killed or incarcerated as they are in many other nations, but there are other means to promote censorship and self-censorship. The ousting of prominent news anchors and pundits, an orchestrated campaign against the Asahi, discrediting of foreign correspondents and liberal commentators are just some examples of media muzzling efforts. None of the contributors argue that anything being done now is unprecedented, but veteran observers believe that under Abe there has been a more aggressive and persistent reliance on hardball tactics. The State Secrets legislation enacted in 2014 and various warnings to the media reinforce this perception.