‘Freedom of press’ added to Japan's info bill

‘Freedom of press’ added to Japan's info bill

JAPAN - The government has presented a project team of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party a draft bill on the protection of classified information, which stipulates the need for "appropriate consideration to freedom of the press."

The draft bill, presented Thursday, aims to toughen penalties on central government employees and others for leaking highly classified information on national security.

However, the outline of the draft bill disclosed by the government earlier this month lacked a provision on press freedom, triggering concerns that freedom of the press could be restricted indirectly as public servants with access to classified information might become unwilling to cooperate with journalists for fear of punishment if the bill is enacted.

In response to concerns, the government has decided to add "consideration to freedom of the press" in a provision stipulating that fundamental human rights of the public shall not be infringed by extending the interpretation of the law.

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