In April 2016, concluding his Japan Mission, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression raised various concerns, warning of “serious threats to the independence of the press”. Dr Sanae Fujita has been closely engaged with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy. She informed and assisted their official statements to the Japanese Government in relation to the Bill on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS) (2013) and the Anti-Conspiracy Bill (2015), and supported the UN mission to Japan.
In this talk, chaired by William Horsley, Dr Fujita will draw on her experiences to address how Japanese freedom of expression, including the independence of the media, has deteriorated under the current administration. She will also discuss the Government’s plans for constitutional amendment, which may have negative implications for human rights, and the Japanese Government’s response to the UN’s recommendations.
About the contributors
Dr Sanae Fujita
Dr Sanae Fujita is an Associate Fellow of the Human Rights Centre, School of Law, University of Essex. Since 2013, she has played a crucial role in raising international awareness of freedom of expression and information in Japan through close engagements with UN Special Rapporteurs and other international experts. She teaches regularly in Japan on freedom of expression and the role of the media. She previously worked as associate and part-time teacher at the Human Rights Centre and School of Law at the University of Essex, and as a consultant to the Open Society Justice Initiative in 2014. She holds a PhD in Law and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, as well as an MA in International Development from Nagoya University. Her publications include The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Human Rights: Developing Standards of Transparency, Participation and Accountability (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013).
William Horsley (Chair)
William Horsley is UK Chairman of the Association of European Journalists and International Director of the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) at the University of Sheffield. He is engaged in a range of projects with European and global partners to establish effective protections for free speech and independent journalism in countries where they are under threat. During a more than 30-year career with the BBC he was Bureau Chief in Tokyo from 1983 to 1990, covering Japan, China and other parts of Asia. Later he was a BBC World Affairs Correspondent and TV and radio presenter reporting extensively on the re-shaping of Europe’s political landscape following the fall of the Berlin Wall.