Novelist Hyakuta attacks Okinawan media at LDP’s meeting; “The two newspapers of Okinawa should be shut down.”

June 26, 2015 compiled from reports of Ryukyu Shimpo and Kyodo News

About 40 young Liberal-Democratic Party lawmakers close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a study session to promote revising the Constitution on June 25 at the party headquarters.

A lawmaker who took part in the meeting reportedly advocated punishing news media that are critical on the security-related bills, “a way to punish mass-media is to cut their income from advertisement. I want intellectuals to ask the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) to help financially pressure media.”

Responding to a lawmaker who complained that the local newspapers in Okinawa are critical of the government, Hyakuta said, “The two newspapers of Okinawa should be shut down.” He claimed that they might change their stance if an island of Okinawa were taken over by China. Hyakuta said,” people have chosen to live near the airfields, where it is convenient for doing business. I want to ask them about this.”

Minoru Kihara, director of the party’s Youth Division, hosted the meeting, Katsunobu Kato, deputy chief cabinet secretary, and Koichi Hagiuda, special assistant to the LDP president, also attended the meeting. They are close to the prime minister.

Kihara relieved of his post as director of the LDP’s Youth Division

The Liberal-Democratic Party has relieved Minoru Kihara of the post for one year, due to remarks about the media that could be taken as threatening to suppress freedom of the press.

Secretary-general of the Liberal-Democratic Party Sadakazu Tanigaki announced a reprimand of Kihara, director of the party’s youth division, at a press conference held on June 27 at the party headquarters. He said, “We cannot overlook this issue, because he has lost the public’s confidence in our party.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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