Tradition and business interests

The world’s third biggest economic power, Japan is a parliamentary monarchy that, in general, respects the principles of media pluralism. But journalists find it hard put to fully play their role as democracy’s watchdog because of the influence of tradition and business interests. Journalists have been complaining of a climate of mistrust toward them ever since Shinzo Abe became prime minister again in 2012. The system of “kisha clubs” (reporters’ clubs) continues to discriminate against freelancers and foreign reporters. On social networks, nationalist groups harass journalists who are critical of the government or cover “antipatriotic” subjects such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster or the US military presence in Okinawa. The government continues to refuse any debate about a law protecting “Specially Designated Secrets,” under which whistleblowers, journalists and bloggers face up to ten years in prison if convicted of publishing information obtained “illegally.”

in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index



67 in 2019

Global score


29.36 in 2019

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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