LDP info management is ‘censorship,’ DPJ says

by Kazuaki Nagata

The Democratic Party of Japan on Tuesday accused the Liberal Democratic Party of de facto censorship for pressing ministries to consult the ruling party before deciding whether to disclose internal documents requested by the opposition parties.

Prime Minister Taro Aso denied during a budget committee meeting there was any censorship.

According to the DPJ, the LDP Diet Affairs Committee notified all ministries Sept. 12 they must inform the committee before releasing information requested by opposition parties.

“We need to know if the enormous amount of requested documents and information are properly delivered,” agriculture minister Shigeru Ishiba said.

Ministers are generally responsible for deciding whether it is appropriate to disclose requested documents.

But, the ruling coalition claims, because of the burden placed on ministries due to the enormous amount of information requested, new rules are needed to streamline the request process.

“As agriculture minister, I have never ordered that information be disclosed or withheld at the instruction of the Diet affairs committee,” Ishiba said.

But he said his ministry’s internal notice issued after the ministry received the statement by the LDP committee might have been misleading if it left the impression the committee is controlling information.