Photo/IllutrationDavid Kaye, the U.N. special rapporteur on protection of freedom of expression, addresses foreign correspondents during a visit to Japan in April 2016. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

GENEVA--A new eyebrow-raising report by a U.N. expert makes uncomfortable reading for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his associates.

David Kaye's critique raises concerns about Abe's pet policy to revise the pacifist Constitution and also questions other policies regarding freedom of expression.

It follows a recent letter by another U.N. special rapporteur targeting anti-conspiracy legislation pushed by the Abe administration.

The government is already on the defensive, delivering counterarguments and claiming parts of Kaye's report are based on misunderstandings.

Kaye, a professor of international law at the University of California, Irvine, is the U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The 19-page report was released in English on May 30. Kaye wrote it after visiting Japan in mid-April 2016 and it will be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting scheduled to start in Geneva on June 6.

The report is divided into sections such as "Interference in the communication/expression of history," "Media independence," and "Discrimination and hate speech."

Kaye states in the conclusions and recommendation section, "The Japanese Constitution remains perhaps as the key element ... given the strong protections established to core civil and political rights, in particular, the right to freedom of expression."

Kaye raises concerns about the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's proposal to amend Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression.

The report mentions a proposal to amend "Article 21 such that 'engaging in activities with the purpose of damaging the public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes, shall not be recognized.'"

A major portion of the critique focused on examples of direct and indirect pressure applied on media organizations by government officials.

The report also raised concerns about the state secrets protection law that took effect in 2014 and said it "diminished the scope of protection of the right to access to information by expanding the capacity of government officials to establish and enforce confidentiality."

Kaye also described the infringement of the rights of Takashi Uemura, a former reporter for The Asahi Shimbun, who wrote a number of articles about "comfort women."

He recommended, "In order to further review and enhance its efforts to clarify and ensure public information on past episodes of gross human rights violations, including on the issue of comfort women, the government could consider requesting a visit of the U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of nonrecurrence."

Comfort women were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers.