Jiji Press apologizes for reporter’s Okinawa remarks
Jiji Press, a major Japanese news agency, apologized Tuesday for inappropriate remarks that one of its reporters made during a regular press conference of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga that took place Monday afternoon.
At the press conference, a Jiji reporter made remarks that have been deemed to be detrimental to Okinawa and the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly. The remarks were made when the reporter asked Suga questions about the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly’s approval of an ordinance that restricts transporting soil and sand from outside of the prefecture to landfills. It is widely seen that the new ordnance is intended to block the national government’s plan to relocate the MCAS Futenma to Camp Schwab in Henoko.
At the press conference, the reporter from Jiji Press asked Suga, “Don’t you think the national government in a sense can abandon them?” The reporter also reportedly said, “I think the government can leave such folks alone.”
Afterwards Jiji Press said the remarks do not represent the company’s position and admonished the reporter. He was also transferred Jiji’s Economic News Desk to the General Administration Department, effective Tuesday.
Jiji Managing Editor Yuji Watanabe released a statement saying, “It is very regrettable that the reporter’s remarks caused an uncomfortable feeling to the people of Okinawa, including those related to Prefectural Assembly. We are sorry about it, and will carry out thorough journalistic training in order to prevent a similar incident from happening again.”