News from Japan indicates setbacks in democracy as media critical of the LDP's efforts to revise Japan's Constitution are attacked and as Japan's universities are incentivized to eliminate entire departments in the humanities and social sciences:
Mizuho Aoki, Masaaki Kameda, Magdalena Osumi (June 26, 2015). “Media fire back at LDP for targeting revenue of newspapers critical of security bills,” The Japan Times, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/26/national/politics-diplomacy/media-fire-back-ldp-targeting-newspaper-funding/#.VY1sWkZBmFs
Recent calls from the younger ranks of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party to “punish” media critical of the government’s contentious national security bills have sparked an industry outcry, providing ammunition to the opposition and even raising the eyebrows of veteran ruling party lawmakers.
During Thursday’s gathering of a group of young LDP lawmakers close to Abe, attendees bashed media organizations for criticizing the security legislation being debated in the Diet, saying an effective way to “punish those media is to take out their ad revenues.” To quell the situation, Abe on Friday expressed regret over the alleged remarks.
Shusuke Murai, Subsidies used as carrot to prod national universities to streamline, ditch humanities The Japan Times (June 25, 2015).
In a move that has angered academics, the Abe administration plans to reform the national university system by telling schools to abolish departments in fields deemed less useful to the industrial world, such as the humanities, and provide more “practical” education to win a greater share of the subsidies, which account for a combined 40 percent of their revenue.
The universities have criticized the move as an attempt by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to do away with courses of study that are not known for producing immediate and visible achievement, but are nevertheless considered equally important to higher education.
Monday evening’s draft of the latest version of “Abenomics,” the prime minister’s three-pronged economic growth strategy, says an important role of national universities is “to build a system to produce human resources that match the needs of society by grasping accurately changes in industrial structure and employment needs.”
The article states that subsidies are “critical” for the universities and research institutes, 90 of which are going to be required to submit rough drafts of their six-year plan on how they plan to streamline their universities by the end of June 2015, with the plans targeted for deployment starting in April 2016.
Consider these developments in conjunction with Japan’s state security censorship bill:
The Mainichi (25, December). As I See It: State secrets law goes into effect, what now? http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20141225p2a00m0na004000c.html
Democracy in Japan is constricting.