Regarding the Sept. 22 article “DPJ’s ban on press briefings loosened“: It is extremely disappointing that the new government of Japan has so quickly (modified) its earlier decision banning media briefings by bureaucrats. I had understood that the notion of having the people’s elected representatives, rather than mere employees of government ministries, make policy decisions was central to the Democratic Party of Japan’s election manifesto.
Making decisions surely involves taking responsibility for those decisions and this, I think, can be broken down into three key elements: (a) explaining to the electorate the problems that their decisions are supposed to address, (b) explaining how their policy decisions will address those problems, and (c) explaining the extent to which their policy decisions have, in fact, served to address those problems.
Media interviews — not briefings — with elected politicians are absolutely essential in a modern democracy, and it says little for the democratic credentials of the DPJ that it is prepared to shirk its responsibilities in this respect so early in its administration.
It is also more than a little pathetic that the news media should complain about the disappearance of such undemocratic briefings. Have they no pride? The political news most worth reporting is frequently that which the holders of power are least willing to divulge. So get out there and find out what it is that they don’t want us to know!