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2020 April 8 - 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan PEN on coronavirus emergency declaration: Freedom is especially important now

April 9, 2020
As a state of emergency in Japan was declared over the ongoing COVID-19 disaster on April 7, the Japan P.E.N Club on the same day issued a statement stating that freedom is important, especially in times of emergency.

The statement notes that there is some concern that under the declaration of a state of emergency, people’s rights to education and information as well as the right to freedom of speech and expression will be restricted. It points out that these are the foundation of democracy which the post-war Japanese society achieved with the sacrifices made by people both at home and abroad who were forced to endure the wartime state of emergency. The statement stresses that in the end, in the face of any crisis, it is free speech and expression that would contribute to developing a sound society.

The statement claims that in order to overcome the crisis, it is essential to pave the way for learning freely from each other, independently giving expression, and cooperating with each other in order to protect lives. In conclusion, it stresses that the robustness of Japan’s democracy is being put to the test.
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