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Gov't staffer grabbed reporter's arm during Japan PM Abe's press conference: report

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference in Hiroshima's Naka Ward on Aug. 6, 2020, following a meeting with representatives of atomic bombing survivors to listen to their demands to the government. (Pool photo)

TOKYO -- The Asahi Shimbun Co. filed a protest with the prime minister's office on Aug. 6 claiming that a government press office worker grabbed a reporter of the national daily by the arm when they attempted to ask a question during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's press conference in Hiroshima earlier that day.

    According to the newspaper company, an employee of the press office seized the right arm of an Asahi reporter for a short time when the latter raised their right hand and said while seated, "Prime Minister, I still have a question," after Abe had finished answering four questions from reporters as scheduled.

    The press meeting was held at a hotel in Hiroshima in western Japan after Abe attended a peace memorial ceremony earlier that day that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city.

    In response to the Asahi's protest, Kenji Tominaga, head of the press office, released a comment saying, "As the prime minister was pushed for time to move to Hiroshima Airport, our employee called for attention to facilitate his swift movement, but they didn't grab the arm (of the reporter)."

    (Japanese original by Naoki Oita, Political News Department)

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