Japan P.E.N. Club calls for 'national referendum bill' to be withdrawn

As Japan's ruling parties are planning to submit a bill to pave the way for the adverse revision of the Constitution, the Japan P.E.N. Club on March 15 called for the bill to be withdrawn immediately.

The P.E.N. Club of Japan's statement was released at a news conference held in Tokyo.

Referring to the proposed provisions that include the prohibition of "false or distorted reporting" by media organizations, the prohibition of the reporting of predicted votes, and restrictions on the use of newspapers and magazines, the statement expressed concern about the danger of excessive control over the publication of media organizations' views, opinion surveys, opinion advertisements, and predictions.

Explaining the purpose of the statement, Yoshioka Shinobu, a writer, stated: "The moves to suppress freedom of expression is increasing in our society today. We are writers who make much of the freedom of expression as well as the right to peace and want to use this occasion to express our sense of crisis."

Inoue Hisashi, Japan P.E.N. Club president, said, "The bill is a reminder of how arrogant it is for the government to ask people to vote without thinking." (end)

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