• Kyodo, Staff report


The Liberal Democratic Party on Friday retracted its decision to freeze out reporters from TBS TV in retaliation for an allegedly misleading news broadcast it aired June 26, apparently after reporters criticized the LDP’s stance.

The move by the ruling party came after TBS issued a statement saying that it took the matter seriously and renewed its resolve for fair reporting. While the LDP took the statement as an apology, however, the broadcaster said it was not intended as a correction of what was aired.

The LDP released a statement Thursday claiming the evening news program “News 23” gave the incorrect impression that the ruling camp was solely responsible for scrapping four key administration-sponsored bills at the end of last regular Diet session, including one to promote liberalization of the electricity supply market.

“We have demanded a correction and an apology, but we haven’t received a sincere answer,” the LDP said in the statement. “We cannot overlook the news coverage stance of TBS in this instance, which can only be viewed as designed to give a negative image of our party.”

The LDP statement didn’t provide precise details about what in the coverage was “misleading” to voters.

On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the LDP’s stance by claiming “what is totally different from facts was reported.” He added, ” ‘New 23’ reported that “the government perhaps didn’t have any intention to have the bills enacted.”

However, none of the TBS personnel who appeared on the broadcast made comments to that effect. On the other hand, Mika Ohbayashi, director of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, was shown saying that “the ruling parties . . . may not, from the beginning, have had the intention to pass” the electricity reform bill through the Upper House.

Later Friday, the TBS handed a statement to the LDP, saying the broadcaster “takes what was pointed out seriously. (TBS) will continue to report fairly and justly.”

At the end of the Diet session, the Democratic Party of Japan voted for a nonbinding censure motion against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and thereafter boycotted Upper House sessions, which led to the four bills being scrapped.

The LDP and DPJ are blaming each other for death of the four bills.

On the last day of the session, the DPJ asked the LDP to hold a vote on the bills before the vote on the censure motion.

The LDP refused, saying that under Diet precedent, voting on the censure motion should take priority.

The motion was passed with support from opposition parties, including the DPJ, and the rest of the session was canceled.

Opposition parties usually boycott all relevant sessions after a censure motion is passed against a minister.

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