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Journalists chided, told to get tough in keeping tabs on Japan government

Date Posted: 2007-05-18

A newspaper reporter convicted of writing about government secrets in the Mainichi more than 20 years ago is telling journalists they must do more to keep the public informed.

Takichi Nishiyama, whose revelations in 1971 that the U.S. and Japan had secret deals involving the return of Okinawa to Japanese control led to his arrest, acquittal and then subsequent conviction, told the Foreign Correspondents Club in Japan “The bureaucracy has an iron curtain” that they must penetrate. In his own case, he revealed that Tokyo agreed to pay America $4 million extra, beyond costs, to get Okinawa back.

The now-elderly reporter is continuing to try clearing his name, but courts have rebuffed his challenge to the conviction, saying it’s too late because the 20-year statute of limitation to appeal has expired. He is appealing the latest decision, arguing that documents made public since 2000 prove he was right.

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