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US State department smooths over Fukushima – “views without restriction” or lies without end? with added links

2013 Human Rights Reports: Japan

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/eap/220199.htm

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Report
February 27, 2014
Extract

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:    

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of speech and press.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: The media expressed a wide variety of views without restriction. Some NGOs continued to criticize press clubs for encouraging similar news coverage by fostering close relationships among media personnel, officials, and politicians.

Libel Laws/National Security: Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced in July that he would sue current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for defamation related to an article written by Abe that called into question Kan’s role in the supervision of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Former Prime Minister Kan demanded 11 million yen ($112,000) in compensation, and the deletion of the article from Prime Minister Abe’s website.

A plaintiff suing journalist Minoru Tanaka for 67 million yen ($680,000) in damages for defamation and court fees following the publication of an article linking him to questionable activities in the nuclear industry dropped the lawsuit in August prior to cross-examination of the plaintiff.

Internet Freedom

There were no government restrictions on access to the internet or credible reports that the government monitored e-mail or internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. The internet was widely accessible and used.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

The Ministry of Education’s approval process for history textbooks continued to be a subject of controversy, particularly regarding its treatment of certain 20th-century topics, such as military history.

The national anthem and flag continued to be controversial symbols. Administrators reprimanded public school teachers for refusing to stand and sing the national anthem in front of the flag.

There were no government restrictions on cultural events.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law provides for freedom of assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights in practice.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

The government generally provided adequate shelter and other protective services in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima Prefecture and sought to provide permanent relocation or reconstruction options. The press criticized the National Reconstruction Agency, citing administrative disorganization or slow progress in housing reconstruction and decontamination of radiation-affected areas. On July 30, the National Reconstruction Agency announced that 35 percent of its fiscal 2012 budget slated to rebuild areas affected by the disasters was unused. According to agency statistics as of August 12, out of the approximately 290,000 evacuees, there were 105 persons in evacuation centers while approximately 274,000 continued to live in nonpermanent housing.

February 28, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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