Saturday, August 12, 2006

Gov't reprimands TBS for showing Abe photo during program on germ warfare unit

Gov't reprimands TBS for showing Abe photo during program on germ warfare unit: "TOKYO — The government reprimanded Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. on Friday for airing a photo panel of Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe during a TV program on Unit 731, the wartime Japanese germ warfare unit, to which Abe has no link.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which had been investigating the incident during the TV program aired July 21, concluded that TBS violated the Broadcast Law for airing an image that could cause misunderstanding by the audience.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Heizo Takenaka summoned TBS President Hiroshi Inoue to the ministry and told him that the program was not properly edited.

Takenaka also asked Inoue to submit to the ministry within a month a written document on TBS's measures to prevent a recurrence, and to report on how the measures are being implemented within three months.

'Although it was not intentional, we regret it was an image that could have misled viewers. We accept the reprimand gravely and will make efforts to prevent a recurrence,' TBS said in a statement.

The broadcaster earlier said that when a cameraman took a shot of a TBS reporter doing a phone interview in the newsroom, the camera happened to capture the Abe photo panel, which was in a nearby prop storeroom.

Abe is regarde as the most likely candidate to succeed Junichiro Koizumi as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and prime minister next month.