Tokyo's LDP and Komei try to ban Akahata in Metropolitan Assembly

The Liberal Democratic and Komei parties in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly are trying to infringe on the freedom of Tokyo Metropolitan Government's staff to subscribe to Akahata.

The assembly chair (LDP) and the vice-chair (Komei) on March 28 made representations to Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro, insisting that activities to call for Akahata subscription within the Metropolitan Government Office be limited.

The Japanese Communist Party members' group of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly immediately protested about it and demanded that the representation be withdrawn. The JCP group requested that the governor reject such an unjust proposal and defend the freedom of political party activities and individual's freedom of thought.

The dispute began on March 14 when an LDP assembly member at a budget committee meeting denounced Akahata reports that the LDP member had accepted political donations from KSD, a mutual aid association for smaller businesses. This LDP member complained about some Tokyo Metropolitan Government staff members subscribing to Akahata in the Metropolitan Government Office.

The governor joined the LDP member's allegation and made a misdirected remark, saying, "The JCP is funded on aggressive peddling of Akahata and money it exploits from JCP members."

Akahata on March 30 said that expanding subscription to the organ paper of a political party is a basic activity. Tokyo Metropolitan Government staff members are free to decide on their own whether to subscribe the JCP organ or not. If the assembly's steering board intervenes in such freedoms, it will be contrary to democracy, the paper said. (end)