14 June 2017

News Story: Japan, expert trade barbs over freedom of expression at UN body

GENEVA (Kyodo) -- A senior Japanese diplomat and a U.N. rights expert traded barbs Monday at the U.N. Human Rights Council over a report released in late May that criticized Tokyo's record on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

David Kaye, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, noted "significant worrying signals" in his report, including government pressure on media and restrictions on information access justified on national security grounds.

"It is regrettable that some parts of the report are written without accurate understanding of the government's explanation and its positions," Japanese ambassador to Geneva Junichi Ihara said in his statement to the Council.

Regarding Japan's broadcasting law, in which Article 4 theoretically provides the government with the basis to suspend broadcasting licenses if TV stations are not considered as "politically fair," Ihara said that "the act does not give rise to any pressure on the media."

"There were no cases in which the operation suspension order was applied by the Broadcast Act," he added.

Read the full story at The Mainichi