When Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made his historic visit to North Korea on Sept. 17, the only foreign journalists allowed to accompany him were a select few from the United States and South Korea.

None of the Tokyo-based foreign correspondents from the 15 member states of the European Union was allowed to accompany Koizumi, the first Japanese prime minister to go to North Korea, for his talks with Kim Jong Il.

This is probably what led European Commission representatives in Japan to call for the abolition of "kisha clubs."