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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #65: December 7, 2004

Japan Media Review Update: December 7, 2004

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

The following reviews are posted at:

Fired NHK Producer Arrested on Fraud Charge
From The Japan Times: Police arrested a former NHK producer for allegedly stealing 2.7 million yen ($26,000) from the public broadcaster. Katsumi Isono is charged with paying an event planning firm about 48 million yen (about $470,000) for work that was never performed and then receiving kickbacks from the firm. The head of the event planning firm, Hisayuki Uehara, was also arrested. NHK fired Isono in July after the scheme was first revealed (See Week in Review 07.24.04). As the broadcaster struggles to repair its tarnished image following a string of financial embarrassments, public protest continues to rise. The number of Japanese viewers who have refused to pay the mandatory license fee has risen from 31,000 in September to 113,000 in November, cutting NHK's revenue by nearly 1 billion yen ($9.8 million).
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

Commentary: Media Fail to Acknowledge Nanking Massacre
In the Chicago Sun-Times, authors Adam Gamble and Takesato Watanabe take some Japanese editors and government officials to task for continuing to deny that the Nanking massacre took place. The 1937-38 slaughter of as many as 30,000 Chinese by Japanese soldiers is recounted in best-seller "The Rape of Nanking," whose Chinese-American author, Iris Chang, apparently committed suicide last month. "No serious scholar has denied the gist of The Rape of Nanking -- that it was one of the most brutal war crimes in history," Gamble and Watanabe write. Yet Japanese publishers have repeatedly acquiesced to demands from politicians and the public by censoring content related to the massacre, they say. On the day that Chang's death was reported, Japanese publisher Shueisha apologized for running a historical cartoon depicting the atrocities in one of its magazines and said it would remove the offending cartoon from a forthcoming book version.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Eric Ulken

New Rule for Prepaid Cell Phones Aims to Stop Scammers
From the Daily Yomiuri: To curb the use of prepaid cell phones in phone scams, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications this month will begin requiring all prepaid phone users to register. At present, cell phone companies require identification from new subscribers, but companies cannot trace the identities of users when phones are resold. This anonymity has facilitated phone scams like the one known as "ore, ore" ("it's me, it's me"), in which a caller, posing as a friend or relative in distress, asks for a transfer of cash in order to avoid jail or a beating by gangsters. The scam, often perpetrated on elderly, cost victims 7.7 billion yen ($75 million) in the first seven months of this year, according to The Asahi Shimbun. Cell phone companies and the Ministry plan to introduce additional measures to combat scammers next spring.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

BBC Launches Japanese Channel
From The Japan Times: The British Broadcasting Corp. has begun offering programming to Japanese audiences through a new satellite channel launched Dec. 1. BBC Japan is a joint venture of BBC Worldwide Ltd. and Japan MediArk Co., a digital data broadcaster. Programming includes drama, factual entertainment, educational programs, documentaries and talk shows, mostly in English with Japanese subtitles. The channel will be carried on the Sky PerfectTV 110 satellite service and will cost 735 yen ($7.16) per month. The channel is reportedly expected to reach 100,000 subscribers in its first year of operation. Japan MediArk, established in 2000, is responsible for promoting BBC Japan and its advertising. Its shareholders include Kyodo News, ad agency Dentsu Inc. and wireless provider NTT DoCoMo Inc.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

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