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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #38: May 18, 2004

Japan Media Review Update: May 18, 2004

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

The following reviews are posted at:

Magazine Wins Libel Suit in Reversed Ruling
From The Japan Times: The Nagoya High Court ruled in favor of a magazine publisher in a libel suit concerning the use of a pseudonym in an article about an underage killer. The plaintiff, now 28, is serving a life sentence for four gang murders committed in 1994, when he was still a minor. He sued the publisher of the magazine Shukan Bunshun, claiming the pseudonym and other data could be used to identify him. Japanese law prohibits the press from identifying minors charged with crimes. The high court had originally awarded the plaintiff $2,600, but the Supreme Court struck down that decision and sent the case back for review. The publishing company, Bungei Shunju, said it hopes the case will "put the brakes on the (nation's) judiciary, which of late has been going astray" regarding privacy laws and the press. See Week in Review 04.01.04 and 03.30.04 for information on other recent high-profile privacy cases.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Sony to Sell Wireless Pen PC
From Britain's The Register: Sony is releasing a wireless tablet PC specifically geared toward mobile media applications, to go on sale later this month in Japan. Unlike other pen-based tablet devices, the Vaio VGN-U70 is based on Windows XP instead of Microsoft's slimmed-down mobile operating system, making it the world's smallest full-featured Windows computer. The device can be used both in portrait mode as an e-book reader and in landscape mode for multimedia applications such as video. The unit weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 6.6 by 4.3 by 1 inches. The initial price will be $1,871.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Internet Bulletin Board Grows in Popularity
From The New York Times: The chat site Channel 2, where millions of Japanese go for anonymous conversation, has become a convenient place for news organizations to measure public opinion, for marketers to observe reaction to new products, and for police to spot and prevent crime, such as when they reacted to a threat against the Chinese Embassy last week. In a society that prides itself on politeness and subtlety, the anonymity of the Internet has given people a rare chance to speak out with immunity, and Channel 2 has capitalized on the apparent need for a forum. Channel 2's founder Hiroyuki Nishimura said he wanted to create a site for which visitors would supply the content. What they supply is not always pretty -- comments are often filled with insults and bigotry -- but with 5.4 million visitors a month, the freewheeling discussion board has carved out a unique identity as the place where people come to argue, gossip and chat.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

TV News Opinion Survey About Hostage Crisis Cancelled
From Mainichi Daily News: TV Asahi halted an opinion survey after discovering that unanswered questions were being tallied as though readers had purposefully chosen the preselected response. The poll surveyed opinions on harassment of recently freed Japanese hostages from Iraq (see Week in Review 04.21.04). The question, "What do you think of the 'bashing' of hostages?" had a preselected response, "I think it's natural that they are criticized." That and other preselected answers, TV Asahi worried, were inadvertantly over-represented. Company officials said it was a technical error and there were no particular intentions behind it. TV Asahi had planned to present the results of the month-long poll at the end of May.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Alison Shackelford

Top Koizumi Spokesman With Rocky Press History Resigns
From The Daily Yomiuri: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, who serves as the Japanese government's top spokesman, resigned his post May 7 amid controversy over his failure to make personal payments into the nation's pension system. As Japan's longest-serving chief cabinet secretary, Fukuda has had a sometimes-tense relationship with the press, according to an Associated Press article in the San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate. He has restricted media access to some government officials and chastised other officials for information leaks.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Competition Drives Small Paper Out of Business
From Fukuoka Now: Citing the pressures of competing with a local paper more than 10 times its size, the publishers of the 30,000 circulation newspaper Kagoshima Shinpo in Kagoshima Prefecture filed for bankruptcy. The company also blamed decreasing advertising income and ever-growing debt. An article from Kyodo News in Japan Today added that a disagreement between "management and the newspaper's financial sponsors" led to the closure. The shutdown put 117 people out of work.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Alison Shackelford

Monthly Pressnet Newsletter:
China-Japan Reporter Exchange, New Newspaper Presses, Media Usage Survey

From Pressnet: Several Chinese journalists visited Japanese news outlets in mid-April as part of an exchange program, according to the May issue of The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association newsletter. The exchange was sponsored by the association and a similar journalists organization in China. The program focused on Japan-China trade relations, but was underscored by recent Chinese media reports of rising anti-Japanese sentiment in China. One Chinese journalist said the media should be careful to report such issues from a broader international perspective.

The newsletter also reports that The Yomiuri Shimbun and regional newspaper The Chunichi Shimbun both have new printing facilities, which can produce 40-page issues with 16 color pages. Also in the May report: The association's advertising committee recently released the results of its nationwide October survey on media usage, conducted with 6,000 people age 69 and under. Over 78 percent said they habitually read newspapers, while some 80 percent said newspapers "have great influence on public opinion-making." More than 43 percent also said the Internet was best for an "abundance of available information."
-- By Japan Media Review Managing Editor Shellie Branco

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