Japan is a strong democracy with rule of law and an active civil society. Basic freedoms of expression, association, and assembly are well-respected. However, in February 2016 the Internal Affairs and Communications minister prompted an outcry when she said the government may shut down broadcasters if they repeatedly air programs that run counter to political impartiality. The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression voiced concerns during his visit in April that the Broadcast Act gives regulatory authority to the government instead of an independent third party.
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