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TBS staff always gave fair coverage, president says in wake of Japan gov't doc revelations

The TBS Broadcasting Center is seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward in 2023. (Mainichi/Hisanori Yashiro)

TOKYO -- Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc. (TBS) production staff have never flinched from airing fair and impartial content, the TV station's president stated on March 29, regardless of recent documentary evidence that a previous government had complained of "bias" on a TBS news program.

    Recently released communications ministry documents record exchanges on the interpretation of "political impartiality" under Japan's Broadcast Act within the administration of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They show that Yosuke Isozaki, then a special adviser to Abe, expressed doubts about the "impartiality" of the TBS news program Sunday Morning.

    At a regular press conference on March 29, TBS President Takashi Sasaki told reporters, "Now and in the past, we have strived to broadcast fair and impartial content by making independent and autonomous decisions based on the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. I have nothing more to say."

    According to the ministry documents, between 2014 and 2015, Isozaki made comments about the Sunday Morning show such as, "A program with commentators who all make the same assertions seems to be biased," and "(Prime Minister Abe) now regards Sunday Morning as problematic ... It does not invite guests that are not in alignment with the program."

    TBS President Sasaki also stated, "TV stations always receive opinions, but we have long been broadcasting fair and impartial content. The (production) section has not held back."

    (Japanese original by Hisanori Yashiro, Cultural News Department)

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