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Home > Media Reiews > Other Review Last Updated: 14:56 03/09/2007
Other Review #71: February 8, 2005

Japan Media Review Update: February 8, 2005

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

The following reviews are posted at:

NHK Refuses Apology to Asahi
From The Japan Times: NHK said Feb. 1 it will not apologize to The Asahi Shimbun for saying the paper "falsely" reported the broadcaster had buckled under political pressure and edited a controversial 2001 TV program. NHK wrote a letter to the newspaper refusing to apologize and restating their position saying, "We will reveal the truth by ourselves and fulfill our responsibility to explain to our viewers." The Asahi Shimbun said NHK damaged their reputation and threatened legal action if the broadcaster's response was unsatisfactory. The conflict stems from a Jan. 12 report in which The Asahi Shimbun said Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers Shinzo Abe and Shoichi Nakagawa told NHK to alter a program presenting a mock war crimes trial in which Emperor Hirohito was found guilty. Both men have refused to admit any wrongdoing.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Erica Ogg

New Cell Phone Controlled By Shakes and Jiggles
From The Associated Press via Yahoo Asia News: A new cell phone from Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp Corp. comes equipped with a motion-control sensor that will allow Vodafone K.K. subscribers to use shakes and jiggles to control the handset, instead of pushing buttons. Starting in March, subscribers can program their cell phones for nine functions, such as e-mail, by mixing various patterns of moving the handsets from left to right, or up and down thanks to the sensor's computer chip, made by Aichi Steel Corp., that recognizes directional motion. Vodafone K.K., the Japanese unit of the British mobile phone firm, plans to sell the handset only in Japan, but has not disclosed the phone''s cost or targeted demographic.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

DoCoMo Enables Text Messaging to 5 Asian Countries
From AFP via Yahoo News: NTT DoCoMo announced its text-messaging service will be available in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand this month. The service will respond to the increasing demand from Japanese cell phone users to text message abroad. According to NTT DoCoMo, starting Feb. 15 a third-generation FOMA phone will allow users to communicate via text messages with specific users in the five Asian countries for 50 yen (48 cents) per message. The company will also introduce a new handset, 901i FOMA, with advanced ring tones and games. The company announced the new service features after predicting a bleak market outlook. While the net profit of the company between last March and December was 756.54 billion yen ($7.3 billion), a 53.1 percent increase, the company said its revenue suffered from the country's discount war.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

NHK President Resigns Amid Scandal
From Kyodo News: NHK CEO Katsuji Ebisawa resigned his post along with two other executives, due to the budget crisis created by the growing number of subscribers refusing to pay mandatory fees to the public broadcaster after last year's embezzlement scandal. Genichi Hashimoto, managing director and chief engineer, was promoted to president. The station's managing committee said it accepted Ebisawa's resignation so new leadership could help the company navigate "the emergency situation." NHK's 2005 budget shrunk from the previous fiscal year after more than 113,000 households ceased paying subscription fees. The country's 38 million subscribers supply 97 percent of NHK's revenue. Under Japanese law, every household in the country with a TV is required to pay NHK fees, though there is no legal provision for sanctions against non-paying subscribers. The July 2004 scandal came to light when NHK disclosed that a former chief producer and other staffers had defrauded the company 48 million yen ($462,000).
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Erica Ogg

Experimental Tourist Info Available for Cell Phone Users
From Yomiuri Shimbun: On Jan. 15, an experiment sponsored by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry allowed research team members to add their own remarks regarding Kuwana, Mie Prefecture sightseeing spots to a digital map, while other members, role-playing as tourists, received the comments by cell phone. Six companies, including an aeronautical map manufacturer and a cell phone firm, helped conduct the experiment, which was supervised by Hyakugo Economic Research Institute. "If citizens start sending the latest data in real time, the system could provide tourists with new information that is not in guidebooks," said Hiroyuki Nakahata, chief researcher at the institute.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

Book Sales Rise; TV and Print Media Seen as Factors
From The Asahi Shimbun: Best-seller "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was one of several hits that helped bolster the Japanese book market this year. Book sales from January to November 2004 rose 4.1 percent over the last year, with five books selling more than 1 million copies and two others surpassing the 2 million mark. The Research Institute for Publications, the research division of the All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher's and Editor'' Association, said TV was most likely responsible for the rise in sales among young people because it disseminates book-related information to them. The institute also said use of print media increased sales among the middle-aged and elderly.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Erica Ogg

TBS Apologizes for Mistaken Photograph
From The Japan Times: Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. apologized to relatives of two missing Japanese believed to be abducted by North Korea, after misidentifying the abductees in a photo provided by a North Korean defector. The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea obtained the photo of a man and woman, thought to have disappeared more than 20 years ago, from TBS. Yet, after the broadcast of the investigative group's news conference, TBS was notified that the two pictured were not abductees. The defector who provided the photo then put TBS officials in contact with the photographed couple, who told TBS they were North Koreans who escaped to South Korea. The broadcaster acquired the photo in November but did not disclose its cost.
-- By Japan Media Review Associate Editor Keiko Mori

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