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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #21: January 19, 2004

Japan Media Review Update: January 19, 2004

JMR Staff (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California)

The following reviews are posted at:

Mainichi Site Merges With MSN
From Mainichi Daily News: After a year of planning, Mainichi's Web site Mainichi Interactive and Microsoft Japan's MSN News have merged. MSN-Mainichi Interactive will launch April 5. The general manager of Mainichi's media department said the newspaper was looking for a partner to help make its Web site profitable. The site is described as "a combination of MSNBC and ESPN -- only in Japanese," according to a Mainichi story on the merger. MSN was attracted to Mainichi's "timely" news and editorial content, while Microsoft's international reach, Web technologies, and ad sales capabilities were a draw for the newspaper. The name was decided upon after months of debate over the order of the companies' names for the new site, although its URL is the reverse.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Department Store and Credit Card Company to Accept E-Wallets
From The Yomiuri Shimbun: A department store chain and Japan's largest credit card company are banding together to offer customers the option of purchasing items using their cell phones starting in the fall. Takashimaya Co. and credit card company JCB will offer the service based on new NTT DoCoMo mobile phones with e-wallets, which are scheduled for release this summer. The new phones will be equipped with cards that allow shoppers to pay instantly via wireless communication between the phone and cash register. Payments will be collected by JCB after customers settle their cell phone bills. The move reflects a growing trend in offering customers payment services using cell phones. Recently, 27 companies, including major credit card firms, All Nippon Airways and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, have conducted demonstrations of similar services that will lessen the need for customers to carry cash or credit cards.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Timothy Yamamura

Commentary: Predictions for 2004's Lifestyle-Changing Internet Technologies
Via Nikkei Electronics Asia Online: While the Internet is transforming the lives of Japanese people, various infrastructure obstacles remain, according to this site's look at the Internet in Japan in 2004. Broadband, for example, is difficult to expand to existing apartment buildings because of the complexity of laying broadband lines to individual units. Among the possible hot trends of 2004: home surveillance through video-enabled mobile phones. The article also cites government efforts to make Japan a leading IT nation by 2005 based on an IT-centered social infrastructure. Japanese now can use the Internet to track beef distribution, a response to concerns about mad cow disease. Many government agencies now allow people to fill out forms over the Net, and an online tax-filing system will soon be underway.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Zhen Wang

Commentary: Many Young People Struggle to Interact Without Cell Phones
Via The Japan Times: More Japanese youths of the keitai generation are becoming dysfunctional without their cell phones, fueling "Keitai Syndrome," according to Mark Schreiber in his column Tokyo Confidential. While there are some 800,000 public pay phones nationwide, it's estimated that there are 100 times as many cell phones, adds Yoshihiro Sato, professor of contemporary sociology at Musashino University. Sato points out that for young cell phone users, communicating through phone or e-mail has become so common that it affects the way they interact with others in person. "People are moving toward a state where they think 'I don't mind exchanging mails, but personal meetings and holding conversations are a strain,'" he said. Sato said this tendency isn't much different from "hikikomori," or a long-term withdrawal from society that has been emerging among many young Japanese.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

NTT DoCoMo to Offer Message Board for Contacting Victims of Natural Disasters
From The Yomiuri Shimbun: NTT DoCoMo will begin a service enabling customers to contact their loved ones when a natural catastrophe strikes. The cell phone company, Japan's largest, is scheduled to offer its users a free message board service starting Jan. 17 so they can let others know they are safe in the event of an earthquake or flood. The kickoff falls on the ninth anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that devastated the city of Kobe. The message board will be set up within 30 minutes of a disaster. Users within the affected area will be able to access the board via their cell phone Internet service, or i-mode, and leave messages under 100 characters. The message board will be viewable throughout the country for anyone with Internet access, including PC users and customers of other cell phone companies.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Timothy Yamamura

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