Japan Media Review Update: March 15, 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
Major Japanese Bank to Add Sony "Smart Card" Technology to Cash Cards
From The Asahi Shimbun: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi plans to adopt a multifunctioning credit and debit card embedded with Sony "smart card" technology as early as this fall. The cardholder can use it at a conventional ATM or, because of its Sony FeliCa smart card components, swipe it in front of a sensor to make a purchase at a store. Smart cards are being embedded in cell phones on a trial basis -- East Japan Railway Co. now allows customers to purchase train tickets with their handsets. (See Week in Review 12.15.03) The multifunctional bank cards may become more secure than their old magnetic counterparts because of plans to add personal ID protection features to the smart card. The cost of converting ATMs, however, is a setback to the bank card's widespread adoption. Sony Corp., German chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG, Visa International and Dai Nippon Printing Co. developed the new bank card.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Tim Yamamura
Japanese Media in Iraq Again Warned of Possible Terrorist Attack
From Kyodo News via Japan Today: A government source said on March 9 that Japan has received "a specific piece of information" regarding a potential terrorist attack in Samawah, Iraq, where Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers are stationed, Kyodo News reports. Japanese troops have been there since January to assist in the reconstruction of the city. The Japanese Foreign Ministry has ordered a travel advisory for media covering Japanese troops.
The warning comes amid increasing tension between the media and both the Japanese government and Iraqi officials. In February a mortar attack near a Coalition Provisional Authority building and a hotel where Japanese reporters were lodged was said to have been aimed at the journalists, according to the Japanese government. (See Week in Review 02.16.04) The attack came a month after Japan reportedly received information about a possible attack on a building that lodged journalists and the government recommended that Japanese media leave Iraq. (Week in Review 01.28.04) Weeks before the mortars fell, the CPA imposed a gag rule on Japanese journalists seeking security information about troops in Samawah.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Sunny Yu
Japanese-Brazilian Internet Radio Station Gains Global Audience
From Kyodo News via Yahoo Asia News: Radio Fenix, an Internet radio station targeting Brazilian residents in Japan, has grown into an international phenomenon. The site was started in March 2003 in Moka, Tochigi Prefecture, which has some 1,500 Brazilian nationals. Japanese-Brazilian Carlos Zaha, the founder of Radio Fenix, explained that the station's music and news was intended to support Brazilians living in Japan, but now it attracts non-Brazilians in Japan and listeners in more than 50 other countries. He attributes the increased number of listeners in Japan to their interest in the music the station airs. While the success allowed the studio to move to Brazil where they could hire a local professional disc jockey, Zaha hopes to open another station in Tokyo aimed at Japanese listeners.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori