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Abe's Yamaguchi Pref. campaign office denies press access to cover election events

Akie Abe, right, participates in campaign activities in place of her husband Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by shaking hands with supporters in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Oct. 10, 2017. (Mainichi)

SHIMONOSEKI, Yamaguchi -- The campaign headquarters of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe here has adopted a policy of denying the local press club access to cover speeches or rallies by members of the headquarters during the election period, it has been learned.

The prime minister is running in the House of Representative election in Yamaguchi Prefecture's No. 4 constituency. A statement released by his Shimonoseki campaign office on Oct. 12 cited "the creation of a safe environment for rally officials and attendees and the smooth operation of events so that public campaign activities can be carried out without incident" as the reason for the decision.

In place of Abe, who cannot make it to his home constituency due to campaigning nationwide as prime minister, his wife Akie has instead been making speeches and campaigning for him in Shimonoseki.

In response to online calls to "surround her," among other such comments, the headquarters said that there are "activities that may be safety hazards."

The press club is challenging the policy, applying for a reversal of the ban on event coverage.

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