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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #46: July 12, 2004

Japan Media Review Update: July 12, 2004

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

The following reviews are posted at:

Annual Paper to Be Published in Comic-Version
From Reuters via Independent Online: The Defense Agency in Japan is hoping to appeal to younger generations by scheduling to publish the 2004 white paper in a comic-book version. The ministry plans to issue the comic version, which is currently still in production, in August. The annual paper contains 450 pages with small letters and long footnotes. "We hope the public reads the reports so that we gain their understanding," Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said in a news conference after its publication. "We must compile something that is easy to read," Ishiba added. The Defense Agency has also tried to impart understanding of its operation to a skeptical public, which has been sensitive toward any implication of militarism.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Japan Aims to Create 'Ubiquitous Net Society'
From Mainichi Daily News: An annual white paper published by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications reveals a "ubiquitous network society" will soon be created that grants anyone Internet access. According to the report on information communications, the markets advancing such a society will triple by 2010 with 87.6 trillion yen (more than $8 billion) from 28.7 trillion yen (more than $2.5 billion) in 2003. It includes the world's fastest and cheapest broadband Internet connections and the dissemination of cell phones. The paper also states that in addition to computers, Internet-equipped devices will promote a Web society. For instance, cell phone users could check the contents of their refrigerators by using the phone as a remote control.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Japanese Media Lack Policy Debate Coverage
From The Japan Times: In an interview with The Japan Times, Seiichi Kanise, a former news anchorman at TBS and TV Asahi, says political coverage on television became more significant in Japanese society during the 1990s. The 54-year-old Kanise, who is a current anchor for Nippon Cultural Broadcasting Inc.'s radio station, started as a reporter at the Tokyo bureau of The Associated Press, then became a correspondent in Tokyo for Time magazine. While Kanise acknowledges the media's contribution to Japanese people's perception of the nation's political system, he points out "A feature of political reporting in Japan is that reporters are more interested in covering in-house political power struggles than in covering discussions on policies." He adds, "I think the media should report more about policy debates." He also claims, "TV reports try to use the visual images that are most eye-catching and have the strongest impact. As a result, they often show scenes of politics in confusion, and I think that helps to fuel apathy about politics among people." Kanise also thinks visual images have played a more critical role than the content of the report in television's political coverage."It's as if the wrapping paper has become more important than the thing it's wrapping," he says.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Olympics Coverage Creates Search for Best Anchors
From Shukan Post via Japan Today: As the 2004 Athens Olympic Games approach, Japanese television stations are competing for popular anchors, hoping to secure a higher audience rating than competitors. Since stations cannot monopolize the Olympics broadcast, every network airs the same live footage. Securing the best anchor is one way a station can distinguish itself from rivals. They tend to choose popular talents and celebrated hosts to secure a higher rating. "All companies use big names, so it has become difficult to get high audience ratings on the strength of the main hosts ... Every network is preparing to unveil secret guest commentators," a spokesman for one production company says. Broadcast critic Mitsuo Sadoga points out a problem in the television stations' battle: "The key factor in networks selecting their on-air team is not knowledge of the Olympic events or their style." He adds, "Networks should think about what is the most necessary information to provide during the telecasts."
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

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