JAPAN: EU again calls for end to press clubs
The war of words over Japan's press club system continued Thursday, with the European Union delegation here defending the EU's wish to see the system abolished
The Japan Times
Friday, December 12, 2003
The war of words over Japan's press club system continued Thursday, with the European Union delegation here defending the EU's wish to see the system abolished.
"We reject the statement that our proposals are based on misunderstanding, cultural biases and misconception of facts," Etienne Reuter, a spokesman for the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan, told a news conference.
He was responding to a statement to this end issued Wednesday by the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association.
In October, the EU urged Japan to abolish its "kisha club" system in order to provide foreign news media with better access to information at government offices.
"We are indeed extremely mindful of cultural differences and I think we are fully aware that situations and conditions vary from country to country," Reuter said. "We never criticized or denied the right of journalists to form a club or to be a member of a club.
"Our call is with the way this system of kisha clubs is used to exclude foreign correspondents from access to news, from access to press conferences, from access to press briefings."
On Wednesday, the newspaper association said most press clubs are open to foreign media agencies. It claims the system allows the media to put pressure on reluctant public officials to disclose information.
Date Posted: 12/12/2003