The government's handling of a Tokyo Shimbun reporter known for her assertive questioning style has come under heavy scrutiny, after it emerged that authorities issued a statement last year singling her out for criticism and urging the Japanese press to keep their questions "accurate" and "fact-based."

The statement, issued on Dec. 28 by a public relations official from the Prime Minister's Office to a community of journalists that routinely covers the entity, has since ignited criticism that it amounts to an infringement on the freedom of press.

In it, official Hideki Uemura accused a "particular reporter from Tokyo Shimbun" of bombarding Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga with "questions at odds with facts" over environmental problems in Okinawa during one of his twice-daily news conferences.