DPJ’s tightened grip on information raises eyebrows

by Masami Ito

Staff Writer

Following a recent verbal misstep that led to the resignation of industry minister Yoshio Hachiro, the Democratic Party of Japan and the government have begun tightening their grip on information disclosure.

During a meeting with DPJ lawmakers Wednesday morning, Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi urged party members to be cautious in their comments.

“I would like to thoroughly manage information, including media measures,” Koshiishi said. “I think that each and every one of us should bear responsibility for our own statements.” Koshiishi’s remark, however, has raised concerns among the media that he is trying to restrain the press, possibly infringing on the freedom of speech.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura backed Koshiishi, saying his statement was “a matter of course for an organization.” Fujimura, the government’s top spokesman flatly denied the DPJ and the government were trying to control the media.

“We have no intention of restraining the press and I don’t think Secretary General Koshiishi does either,” Fujimura said Wednesday.