MEDIA

Japanese Government's Effort To Silence Press Is Working

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) before th
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) before their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asian Africa Conference in Jakarta on April 22, 2015. The leaders of China and Japan held talks on April 22 for only the second time since taking office, a Japanese official said, seeking to repair a relationship damaged by territorial disputes and a bitter wartime legacy. AFP PHOTO / BAY ISMOYO (Photo credit should read BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

TOKYO — It was an unexpected act of protest that shook Japan’s carefully managed media world: Shigeaki Koga, a regular television commentator and fierce critic of the political establishment, abruptly departed from the scripted conversation during a live TV news program to announce that this would be his last day on the show because, as he put it, network executives had succumbed to political pressure for his removal.

“I have suffered intense bashing by the prime minister’s office,” Mr. Koga told his visibly flabbergasted host late last month, saying he had been removed as commentator because of critical statements he had made about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Later in the program, Mr. Koga held up a sign that read “I am not Abe,” a play on the slogan of solidarity for journalists slain in January at a French satirical newspaper.

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