Japanese journalist refused visa extension

New Delhi, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) The Indian government has refused to renew the visa of Shogo Takahashi, the New Delhi bureau chief of Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), with the broadcaster expressing surprise at the decision.

After making repeated attempts to get his visa renewed, the 46-year-old Takahashi, who had been the bureau chief since 2008, returned home Sunday.

A NHK spokesperson said that the broadcaster was surprised at the Indian government’s abrupt decision.

The broadcaster has not, however, given up and written to the Indian embassy in Tokyo requesting a meeting to discuss the matter. The reply is being awaited, sources said.

According to sources, the external affairs ministry was upset over some biased content in some of the NHK’s documentary programmes.

The NHK’s coverage of the Lok Sabha elections last year, with its focus on role of caste system in Indian politics, did not go down well with Indian officials, sources said.

Takahashi had contributed to the documentary series ‘Indo no Shogeki’ (the impact of India) which was broadcast from 2007-2009.

Surprisingly, the refusal to renew Takahashi’s visa comes weeks after a Japanese journalist had complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a nationally televised press conference in May that it was very difficult for foreign journalists working in India to get accreditation from the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

‘I am very sorry to hear this,’ Manmohan Singh had said, and assured that he will ‘ask the relevant minister to look into it’.

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