A leading Japanese political commentator who had been a regular panelist on a popular TV news program has revealed that he was yanked off the air due to pressure from the Shinzo Abe administration.
Shigeaki Koga, a vocal critic of the Japanese prime minister, held up a piece of paper saying "I am not Abe" during his last live appearance.
Koga, who used to work for Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said he was given a severe ticking off by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and other members of the prime minister's office for his critical views on Japan's bureaucratic society.
Controversy grew after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's policy committee decided to summon and question the show's broadcaster, TV Asahi over Koga's claims, as well as Japan's public broadcaster NHK over alleged factual errors in a news report.
Although the ruling party claims the meeting was not to intervene in the media coverage but to discuss recent events, some watchers view it as a worrying trend.
"The ruling party's involvement in the situation is contradictory to democracy and freedom of the press."
This is not the first time the Abe administration has been embroiled in controversy over editorial independence.
Earlier this week, a German newspaper correspondent based in Tokyo slammed the Japanese government, saying Tokyo had suppressed an article he had written on Abe's historical revisionism.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.