Hong Kong International Airport is seen on March 17, 2022. Authorities recently denied entry to Japanese journalist Yoshiaki Ogawa. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

Hong Kong denies entry to Japanese journalist Yoshiaki Ogawa

Taipei, June 30, 2023—In response to Hong Kong immigration authorities denying entry to freelance Japanese journalist Yoshiaki Ogawa on Thursday, June 29, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“Hong Kong authorities should explain their reasons for denying journalist Yoshiaki Ogawa’s entry or grant him permission to return to the city at once,” said Iris Hsu, CPJ’s China representative. “Blocking access to foreign journalists reflects Hong Kong authorities’ shameful attempts to stifle critical reporting.”

On Thursday, immigration officials at the Hong Kong International Airport took Ogawa into a room and interviewed him for about an hour before asking him to sign a document acknowledging that he would not enter the city. He returned to Tokyo the next day, according to news reports, which said authorities did not disclose the reason for his refusal.

Ogawa has covered Hong Kong since 2014, including the 2019 democracy protests, and authored the 2020 book “Chronicles of Hong Kong’s Protests.” He was planning to investigate the situation in the city three years after the Beijing-imposed national security law took effect.

Hong Kong authorities previously denied entry to Michiko Kiseki, a Japanese freelance photographer known for her coverage of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrations, in December 2022.

CPJ reached out to Ogawa via messaging app, but did not receive any reply.

In an email to CPJ, the Immigration Department declined to comment specifically on Ogawa’s case, saying it “acts in accordance with the laws and policies in handling each immigration case.”

Separately, pro-democracy broadcaster Citizens’ Radio ceased operations Friday due to what its founder Tsang Kin-shing described as the “dangerous” political situation and the freezing of its bank account. Its office was vandalized in July 2019. Tsang did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment.

CPJ has documented the drastic erosion of press freedom in the former British colony. China was the world’s second-largest jailer of journalists in 2022, according to CPJ’s annual prison census. Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai is among those behind bars; he faces a possible life sentence on national security charges.

[Editors’ note: This article has been updated to include the Immigration Department’s response to CPJ.]