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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 19 - 25  > JCP voted for culture & arts law stipulating freedom of expression
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2017 July 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP voted for culture & arts law stipulating freedom of expression

July 21, 2017
The Japanese Communist Party in the Diet session endorsed a bill stipulating “freedom of expression” to promote culture and the arts, and helped bring about the law’s unanimous enactment.

The JCP has pushed for the inclusion of a stipulation into the “basic act for the promotion of culture and the arts” regarding the right to freedom of expression as this is the very foundation of culture and the arts.

Galleries, museums, libraries, and public halls these days in Japan have a tendency to refuse to display some works for unfair reasons. Violation of the right to freedom of expression has been taking place in succession, stifling creative activities.

Against this backdrop, in cross-party consultative meetings on culture, the JCP has repeatedly proposed that the law include a provision protecting the freedom of expression based on Article 21 of the Constitution and the UNESCO recommendation concerning this issue.

The new law, in addition to the promotion of culture, focuses also on tourism, city planning, and international exchanges. The JCP recognizes that cooperation among these sectors has potential, but argues that preservation of cultural assets should not be trampled upon in the name of commercial tourism. In fact, Regional Revitalization Minister Yamamoto Kozo called museum curators the “biggest cancer” saying that they “lack the tourism focus”. At Q & A sessions before the bill’s vote in both houses of the Diet, JCP Dietmembers criticized the Cabinet minister for making these abusive remarks.

People have the right to create and enjoy culture and the arts. From this perspective, the JCP calls for the elimination of the focus on commercialism from the government cultural-art planning process.

The present government allocated 104.3 billion yen, only 0.1% of the total national budget, for culture and the arts this year. Since many artists strongly desire culture-related budgets to be expanded, the new law should push the authorities to improve their poor cultural administration, said Hatano Kimie, a JCP member of the Lower House.
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