GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books & Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #31: March 29, 2004

Japan Media Review Update: March 29, 2004

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

The following reviews are posted at:

Japanese Magazines Argue for Freedom of the Press After Court Injunction
From The Asahi Shimbun: In the latest issue of weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, the magazine's publishing company Bungei Shunju argued against a recent court injunction against it, backed by some 30 media supporters. The Tokyo District Court demanded the publishing company cease publication of an article depicting the private life of the daughter of former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka. Shukan Bunshun's editor in chief, Seigo Kimata, announced his personal statement on the controversy in the latest magazine. "We are experiencing major concerns that we will not be able to provide readers with independent investigative reporting as in the past if the courts can virtually 'censor' articles beforehand and prohibit the sale of magazines on the grounds of libel or protecting privacy," Kimata wrote. Bungei Shunju has gained many allies after its court injunction case. Junji Asano, president of the Japan Magazine Publishers Association claimed that "the controversy could spell the end of magazine journalism in this country." The Japan Federation of Publishing Workers' Unions and the Japan P.E.N. Club also criticized the court's action. (See also Week in Review 03.22.04 and 03.24.04)
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Court Rules Filmmaker Must Pay for Altering Documentary
From The Asahi Shimbun: A Tokyo court on March 24 ordered a documentary filmmaker to pay $9,500 for altering a program it produced on sex slavery. An advocacy group, whose mock tribunal on sex crimes committed by Japanese soldiers during World War II was the subject of the documentary, had charged that the program betrayed the group by leaving out critical parts of the tribunal. The production company, Tokyo-based Documentary Japan, says it is not responsible because the editing was done by the program's broadcaster, NHK. The citizens group, Violence Against Women in War-Network Japan, had sought nearly $200,000 from both companies and other organizations. But the presiding judge in the case did not sanction NHK, noting "Broadcasters are free to produce programs by editing news materials (collected by production companies and others)." Asahi reports that the ruling could cause worry throughout the industry because it is not uncommon to run stories that do not meet the expectations of sources.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Digital Television Broadcasting Will Be Aired Through Cell Phones
From Kyodo News via The Miami Herald: The world's first terrestrial digital television broadcasting service for cell phones will be offered by six Japanese broadcasters in April 2005. Analog broadcasts are already available on cell phones, but the quality has been unsatisfactory because of image distortion. The recently finalized agreement between the six broadcast companies and MPEG LA, an American firm in charge of rights to image compression, led to the launch of the new digital service by the six companies: public broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and the five private stations, Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS), Nippon Television Network Corp. (NTV), TV Asahi Corp., Fuji Television Network Inc., and Television Tokyo Ltd. Cell phone manufacturers and operators are eager to produce products accommodating the new digital broadcasts. Taro Aso, minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, said the service will "revolutionize the pattern of viewing broadcasts and greatly contribute to the spread of terrestrial digital broadcasting as a whole."
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Baseball Legend's Son Accuses Magazine of Violating Privacy
From the Mainichi Daily News: The second son of famous baseball player Shigeo Nagashima asked a magazine publisher not to release an upcoming magazine article about him. According to the son's lawyer, the story gives details about struggles in his personal life. Shinchosa, a leading publishing company in Japan, will still run the story in its next issue of Shukan Shincho, a weekly magazine. The son feels that this story would "violate his privacy and damage his reputation," according to a notice his lawyer sent Shinchosa. This incident is expected to become a big issue because it follows closely on the heels of a similar privacy case. Bungei Shunju, another top publishing company, has been issued an injunction by the Tokyo District Court banning publication of an article revealing personal details about the oldest daughter of former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka. (See also Week in Review 03.22.04 and 03.25.04)
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Sunny Yu

Analysis: Court Order to Pull Article on Politician's Daughter Sets Privacy Against Press Freedom
From The Asahi Shimbun: Press freedom and privacy protection were pitted against each other by an injunction forbidding a magazine from publishing details about the private life of a former foreign minister's daughter. The publisher, Bungei Shunju, appealed to the Tokyo High Court against the ban, arguing that the article is a public matter because she is a potential political successor to her mother, Makio Tanaka. Makoto Sakai, a lawyer specializing in media law, insists that "being a daughter of a well-known politician alone does not put her in a public position." An article from The Japan Times reports that the magazine, which sold out at many newsstands before the ban took effect, gave details about the daughter's divorce for the first time. Some journalists worry that the injunction may discourage coverage of political figures, while others argue that the article serves no public interest. In similar privacy cases involving novels, films and magazine articles, the courts have leaned toward individual rights. (See also Week in Review 03.24.04 and 03.25.04)
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Zhen Wang

Justice Ministry to Review Controversial Site for Reporting Illegal Residents
From The Japan Times: After urging by humanitarian groups in Japan to abolish the Immigration Bureau's Web site for reporting suspected illegal residents, the Justice Ministry is expected to review the new online service. A section on the site asking informants to report their motives is being revised, under the criticism that some of the motive options (for example, that the alleged foreigner was causing anxiety) are irrelevant to legality, but intensify unfairness against foreigners. Following ministry confessions that the service "could be misleading," the Web site was modified with the note that it does not condone discrimination against foreigners. (See also Week in Review 02.21.04)
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Zhen Wang

"Manner Stickers" May Protect Against Unlawful Camera Phone Photos
From ITmedia Mobile: To fight against digital theft from illicit camera phone pictures, a company called AI has created an old-fashioned solution, "Manner Stickers," which are placed on -- and obscure -- cell phone camera lenses. Ryuji Tanaka, AI factory supervisor, created a way to "leave the typical residue from a peeled sticker in a 'void' pattern" that will signal a potential abuse. The residue can later be removed with a cleaning sticker, also made by AI. Company President Ichiro Akiyama explained how a museum, for example, could apply the sticker to visitors' cell phones upon entrance. Museum employees could search the phones' pictures at the end of the visit if they found evidence that the sticker had been tampered with or moved. Though cell phone companies have tried to solve the digital theft problem by adding a shutter sound when people take pictures, abusers have still found ways to mute the noise. With photo thieves stealing pictures everywhere from museums and bookstores to gyms and locker rooms, large corporations are already inquiring when they can buy the sticker, which is still in the testing phase.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Toru Takahashi

Monthly Pressnet Newsletter: Ad Spending Declines; Among Media, Newspapers Hit Worst
Via Pressnet's News Bulletin: The nation's biggest advertising agency, Dentsu Inc., announced that nationwide advertising spending in 2003 saw a 0.3 percent decline from the previous year, according to the report "Advertising Spending in Japan, 2003". This is the first time since the company started the annual survey in 1947 that the report indicates three straight years of declines in advertising sales. In 2003 newspaper ad sales dropped 1.9 percent, while television and Internet-related ad sales showed growth from the previous year. The report also explains that total ad spending in the first half of 2003 plunged because of the war in Iraq and SARS, in addition to the country's recession. In contrast, the end of 2003 showed a slowing in the decline thanks to a constant increase in demand from consumers for digital electronics. Dentsu also predicts that in 2004, total ad spending in the nation will increase 2.3 percent, based on such factors as sales of digital electronics and broadband equipment.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications