Japan Government and Media
Government Type: Parliamentary Government with a Constitutional Monarchy
Chief of state: Emperor Naruhito
Leader: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Political Party: Liberal Democratic Party
Political Position: Right
World Press Freedom Rank: Japan 66/180
In 2020, Reporters Without Borders ranked Japan 66/180 in their annual Press Freedom Index, saying although Japan respects “the principles of media pluralism” and the system “continues to discriminate against freelancers and foreign reporters” due to the tradition of “Kisha clubs” (reporters’ clubs).
Government Influence on Media: The government has minimal direct control over the media outlets since most of them are privately owned and financed through advertising/subscription revenue, however, the Government has indirect control over media. Japanese Broadcasting Organization NHK is a public corporation and is primarily funded by license fees except for NHK overseas, which is funded by the government. However, the NHK board of governors is appointed by the prime minister and it’s budget approved by the Diet (the national legislature of Japan). In summary, the major criticism regarding government influence in Japan revolves around the traditional Reporters Club System (Kisha Club) and the government’s ties to that system which is a huge problem. Additionally, 5 corporate groups, Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, and The Nikkei dominate newspaper ownership resulting in a corporate monopoly.