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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #35: April 26, 2004

Japan Media Review Update: April 26, 2004

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

The following reviews are posted at:

Sony Launches E-Book With Paper-Like Screen
From The New York Times: A new kind of computer screen with many of the benefits of paper, developed by the U.S. company E Ink, will be used for the first time next month in Japan. The screen of Sony's e-book, Libriť, is said to look almost exactly like paper, and, unlike conventional displays, does not fade under bright light. The Libriť will sell for about $380, and users will be able to rent e-books from Sony's Web site. Once it determines how well the Libriť sells in Japan, Sony says it will decide whether to offer the device abroad. (See also Week in Review 01.08.04)
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Hostages Blamed for Their Own Abduction
From The Japan Times: Even before the five Japanese hostages in Iraq were freed, they became targets of criticism by the public, the government and the media. The victims and their families are accused of causing problems for Japan and its troops, and blamed for the kidnapping. The criticism led to a barrage of articles in popular weekly magazines. Kiyoshi Hayakawa, chief editor of the weekly Shukan Shincho, justified the negative articles by saying the hostages were "more than just victims, because they made the controversial decision to enter Iraq despite being aware of the dangers." Media critic and Doshisha University professor Kenichi Asano has said it is not unusual for the media to dwell on the faults of crime victims. A recent edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun accused freelance journalists remaining in Iraq after most major media companies pulled out of seeking fortune and fame. One freelance journalist attacked the mainstream media for "abandoning reporting in Iraq."
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Sunny Yu

Yahoo Japan Ad Success May Mean Online Advertising Recovering
From the Financial Times: Yahoo Japan said surging online advertising sales helped double its first-quarter profit to $228 million. A 64 percent year-on-year rise in ad revenues for the portal, Japan's largest, points to a broader recovery in the country's online advertising market. The company's broadband offering, Yahoo BB, is also recovering following revelations that employees trying to blackmail the company (see also Week in Review 03.02.04) had released subscribers' personal information. Yahoo Japan's results come two weeks after parent company Yahoo, which holds a 33.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, also posted unexpectedly strong revenues.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Shrinking Demand Will Reduce Cell Phone Sales
Via Cell phone sales reached record highs last year as Japanese consumers rushed to replace old phones with more high-tech versions boasting built-in cameras and high-speed Internet connections, Reuters reports. Hideaki Yokota, a researcher at Multimedia Research Institute, an industry research company, explains that cell phone sales are likely to decrease this year because there are fewer new subscribers. Yokota points out that the expected decrease reflects both the decline in consumer demand and an anticipated reduction in subsidies by cell phone operators.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Freed Hostages Will Postpone Press Conference
From Mainichi Daily News: The three Japanese hostages recently released from Iraq have decided to hold a press conference after they have had time to recuperate from the trauma of the abduction. They have complained of physical and mental exhaustion since their return from Jordan to Japan on Sunday. Freelance journalists Soichiro Koriyama and Noriaki Imai and volunteer worker Nahoko Takato were examined by doctors and found extremely fatigued and stressed. However, they do plan on sharing their ordeal with the media and the public after their recovery.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Sunny Yu

Cell Phones That Double as ATM Cards
From ITmedia: NTT Communications has launched its "Mobile Payment Service," through which cell phone users will able to withdraw money from ATM machines with their phones, the company said. Users' cell phones will transmit cash-card information through an infrared ray directly to ATM machines. Users will input the transaction amount into their phones before typing in their ATM pin numbers. NTT Communications calls the system "Keitai Cash Card," and it will introduce the service at 12 locations of Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, with plans to expand to other banks nationally. Compatible cell phones will initially be limited to NTT phones, but other cell phone companies also plan to launch this service because many financial institutions have expressed interest.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Toru Takahashi

Opinion: Did Japanese Media and Al-Jazeera Contribute to Hostages' Release?
From The Japan Times: During the recent hostage crisis in Iraq, the Japanese government's tight control over information forced Japanese journalists to rely on updates from the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera. Together, they created a dialogue that may have inadvertently helped solve the hostage crisis, writes Japan Times reporter Philip Brasor in his Media Mix column. Al-Jazeera and the Japanese media took the government out of the equation by talking almost exclusively to each other and public citizens. This allowed the kidnappers to weigh Japanese citizens' reaction to the crisis. Media reports that the militants blamed unkind words from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for delaying the hostages' release caused a reaction among Japanese citizens that "seems to have had something to do with the hostages' eventual release." The question Brasor considers is whether the Japanese and Arab media were a "valuable tool," or a weapon used by the militants.
-- By Japan Media Review Contributing Writer Chevonne Ching

Hostage Crisis Coverage Gains High Ratings
From Mainichi Daily News: Public broadcaster NHK's regular news programs received unusually high ratings during coverage about the Japanese hostages in Iraq, according to Video Research Ltd. Ratings for public broadcaster NHK's late-night news program were more than double its average rankings from the previous month. Ratings peaked when NHK showed Al-Jazeera footage of one of the hostages bursting into tears after being released. Private broadcasters also received high ratings for special news programs about the hostage crisis. According to Sports Nippon Newspaper, over 50 million people watched TBS, Fuji TV and NHK as the hostages were freed. NHK got more than 400 phone calls from its audience saying that they were happy for the hostages. Insiders from the private broadcasters, however, say that some callers criticized the motives of three hostages in Iraq.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Yomiuri Shimbun Expands Partnerships With British Papers
From Pressnet's monthly newsletter: Yomiuri Shimbun has started a partnership with the British paper The Times to expand its global network, according to The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association. The Times, with a circulation of 600,000, agreed to provide Yomiuri with various articles and editorials. Yomiuri will translate articles from the Times and Yomiuri's English paper, The Daily Yomiuri, will use direct reprints. A Times' partnership with The Asahi Shimbun was terminated in March. While Yomiuri will continue a similar alliance with another British paper, The Guardian, Yomiuri will end a partnership with the Independent at the end of May. A Yomiuri spokesman explained, "As our partner, the Times, known for its healthy conservatism, is more suitable for us than the left-leaning Independent."
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

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