This campaign season differs from others in many ways, but none so exasperatingly as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s refusing to meet with the foreign press. The LDP announced it would not hold its regular press conference with foreign journalists this time around, claiming they are too busy. Combined with other LDP-related issues, this refusal reveals a disturbing aspect of the LDP’s approach to campaigning and to governing.

For many years in Japan, foreign journalists were not allowed to attend regular press conferences for Japanese journalists. Instead, foreign journalists were given access to government and party representatives at specially arranged press conferences, usually held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ), a fee-paying club that serves as the host for news conferences with important politicians, entertainers, academics and other notables. For this election, for the first time in many years, the LDP did not agree to meet the foreign press there.

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