(4 Nov 2022) Librarians around Japan are raising concerns their independence may be in jeopardy after the education ministry asked them to stock more books about North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals.
Following the Cabinet Secretariat’s instructions, the education ministry sent a document to public and school libraries, asking them to help maintain public attention toward the issue.
Ministry officials said this is the first time it has made a request to libraries regarding a specific theme for books.
The request has alarmed librarians about potential government overreach and whether this could infringe on the freedom of libraries to independently collect and offer books for residents.
“While the central government may feel it is doing the ‘right thing,’ it is somewhat frightening if it holds the attitude that it is only natural to seek such cooperation,” said one librarian in his 50s who works at a public library in Chiba Prefecture.
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