Newspaper Week began Oct. 15 under the sponsorship of the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association — nearly a month after the Democratic Party of Japan-led government was inaugurated, ending the rule by the Liberal Democratic Party that was almost uninterrupted since November 1955.

The change has generated stronger than usual public interest in the new administration's respect for basic human rights, state power and the role of the mass media in a democratic nation. Since the new government is undergoing teething pains, it is premature to pass judgment on its attitudes toward these issues. Still, the media should not let up on their task of keeping strict tabs on government activities.

Changes inconceivable during the time of LDP rule are taking place under the DPJ administration. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has formed a special research panel inside his ministry and ordered it to turn over every stone in search of secret accords with the United States regarding the bringing of nuclear weapons by the U.S. into Japanese territory. The Defense Ministry also has disclosed detailed data on the activities of the Air-Self Defense Force in Iraq.