The press is independent and highly competitive but informal alliances persist between exclusive press clubs and certain government ministries. The clubs tend to avoid or weaken critical analysis of official policies. An exception in 2001 was the prime minister's visit to the Yasukuni war shrine. Some papers praised him, others were harshly critical and included the angry reactions of other Asian countries. Journalists often self-censor rather than report difficulties of financially troubled companies and banks. The media expressed concern about the provisions in a personal data protection bill that was submitted to the Diet in April.