Freedom of the press in Japan, which worsened dramatically last year due mainly to the lack of transparency regarding information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, deteriorated further this year thanks to the enactment of the controversial state secrets bill, according to a report released Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders.

The France-based nonprofit downgraded Japan from 53rd place last year to 59th, as the authors of the annual World Press Freedom Index report judged that the secrets law "would reduce government transparency on such key national issues as nuclear power and relations with the United States, now enshrined as taboos."

The United States fell steeply to 46th place from 32nd "amid increased efforts to track down whistle-blowers and the sources of leaks." The report denounces, in particular, the conviction of U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and the pursuit of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.