Japan Media Review Update: February 2, 2004
JMR Staff (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California)
The following reviews are posted at: http://www.japanmediareview.com/japan/digest/digest.php
Foreign Ministry Warns Japanese Reporters in Iraq Are Vulnerable to Terrorist Attacks
From The Japan Times: Possible terrorist attacks remain a threat to journalists covering the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in southern Iraq, according to a warning issued Jan. 26 by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Japan Times reports sources said the government had information that lodgings in Samawah used by wire service Kyodo News could be a target. Kyodo News did not comment on whether it had received specifics on a possible target of its lodgings, but the agency relocated its staff from Samawah to Baghdad as a precaution. There are still dozens of Japanese journalists in Samawah covering the efforts of Japanese forces to rebuild the city. During a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said a recommendation for the withdrawal of reporters had already been issued.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Sunny Yu
New Online Services for Passports, Tax Returns, Visas
From The Japan Times: Apply for a passport, send tax returns, and make an appointment for a visa interview -- three more things Japanese can do on the Web. To take advantage of the government's online service for tax returns and passports, users must hold special cards that store personal information. (Such cards are used in Juki Net, Japan's national registry system.) One catch to the service: Passports still must be picked up in person. The tax returns service will begin at tax offices in Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi and Mie prefectures in February; other offices will carry it in June. In March residents of Okayama Prefecture will be the first to go online for passport applications. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo will allow visa applicants to make interview appointments on its Web site starting Feb. 1.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Zhen Wang
Fired NTV Producer Faces Ratings Manipulation Lawsuit
From Mainichi Daily News: A former producer at the Nippon Television Network is being sued by Japan's only ratings company, Video Research Ltd., for allegedly bribing viewers in order to boost the ratings of his programs. The lawsuit, filed today, demands over $860,000 from Masafumi Ando for "(damaging) the public's trust in us," the lawsuit said. Ando is accused of offering ratings monitors cash or gift certificates if they agreed to watch his programs, shown between March 2000 and October 2003. Video Research Ltd. excluded the network from the suit after concluding NTV itself was not involved.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori