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Reports on poverty? Japan scribe shown door

New Delhi, July 16: A Japanese journalist has been given marching orders for his allegedly biased and “consistently negative reporting” about India.

Government sources said the Centre had refused to extend Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) journalist Shogo Takahashi’s visa because his reports focused “excessively” on poverty and caste system in India.

Takahashi, 46, returned home after working as NHK’s New Delhi bureau chief since early 2008. Sources said he was told a month ago that the Indian government was unhappy with his reports and that his visa would not be extended.

The sources alleged that Takahashi often filmed documentaries without taking permission from the government, as all foreign journalists are required to do. He is also believed to have misused permission on occasions by shooting documentaries different from plans submitted to the government, and even filmed high-security defence installations.

The decision to not extend Takahashi’s visa was taken jointly by the ministries of external and home affairs. His employers have expressed surprise at the Indian government’s apparently “abrupt” decision.

NHK has sought an appointment with Indian embassy officials in Tokyo, a spokesperson said. It may approach the Japanese foreign ministry to take up the matter with Indian counterparts.

A foreign correspondent said NHK’s coverage of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections had greatly displeased Indian officials. “They were upset that the documentary focused overtly on the role of caste system in the Indian electoral system,” the correspondent said.

Takahashi was a contributor to a documentary series, Indo no Shogeki (The Impact of India), broadcast from 2007-2009.

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