The Day the Journalists Ran

Following the one-two-three punch of the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Fukushima, much ink and many pixels have been spilled over foreign media outlets’ treatment of the disasters. In particular, many foreign residents (including myself and other members of this web journal) have accused the overseas mass media of panicking locals who rely on English-language news (and their parents) by overplaying the nuclear situation in comparison to more measured domestic coverage. Those playing devils’ advocate, such as Uesugi Takashi, claim the foreign media brought a balanced viewpoint to a dangerous situation the Japanese government is doing its best to downplay.

Whichever side you take, there’s one piece missing from the puzzle: How do Japanese feel about the coverage of their country from abroad? And more to the point, how do domestic journalists feel about their foreign counterparts? Largely because everyone has had their hands full dealing with the unfolding crises, there’s been precious little commentary from the Japanese about the portrayal of their nation’s predicament abroad. Until now.

“The most notable aspect of the incident was the sheer number of journalists who ‘deserted in the face of the enemy,’” declare Yokota Takashi and Yamada Toshihiro, who reported on the crisis in Tohoku as correspondents for the Japanese language edition of Newsweek. Their article, entitled “And Then the Journalists Ran Away,” is a scathing critique of the behavior of the Western mass media in the early days of the Fukushima disaster.

Until now, Japan regarded the foreign media with an unadulterated measure of respect. We honored their journalistic standards as we relied to a degree upon their authority. […] But this fairy-tale crumbled during the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Entangled in the very news they were supposed to report, [the Western media] lost all sense of composure.

Yokota and Yamada paint a portrait of journalists who were as terrified of the dangers of radiation as the readers and viewers to whom they were supposed to be delivering the news.

Take, for example, the case of a journalist from America’s one of the world’s most well-known financial newspapers, who was covering the U.S. military support efforts alongside correspondents of this magazine. […] In normal times, this Tokyo-based correspondent conducted himself with the utmost of composure. On the first day of our coverage of the U.S. military, he coolly filed stories from the front lines on his smart phone.

But when dawn broke the next day, he was a changed man. This was right as the situation at Fukushima Daiichi began to worsen. Hastily packing his bags, he began to rush away from the command center. When a U.S. military spokesman tried to persuade him that we were in no immediate danger, the preoccupied journalist cut him off with an “I just want to get out of here!” before disappearing into the city of Sendai.

Yokota and Yamada, however, reserve their harshest criticism for television reporters.

Hands down, the American television stations were the most hysterical presence. Playing up the drama of world news is their bread and butter, but it reached new heights in Tohoku […] At first, the point was to showcase their reporters doing on-site coverage. But this quickly devolved into a circus.

The pair go on to describe a breathless report by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, which (by very nature of being in English) undoubtedly wasn’t seen by many locals. It took place just after Cooper learned about the second hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

In a live back-and-forth [from Japan] with a nuclear expert back in the studio in America, Cooper peppered his fellow reporters with questions like “How far are we from Fukushima?” and “Which way is the wind blowing?” Upon hearing that he was more than 100 kilometers distant from the Fukushima reactors, he exclaimed “Then shouldn’t we get out of here?” Whether he was doing this in order to build a sense of drama, or out of sincere apprehension, we don’t know. But what is clear is that he made no attempt to calmly ascertain the facts of the situation, and in so doing needlessly fanned the fears of the audience.

Even the most well meaning attempts to frame the situation often came off as clueless, according to Yokota and Yamada.

Some [foreign journalists] lost their intellects along with their cool. […] Even going so far as to delve into stereotyping. […] When the 800 original nuclear workers were reduced to 50, the Western media quickly dubbed them “The Fukushima 50” and praised their valor. But this also proved fertile ground for prejudicial references. England’s Sky News called them “Nuclear Ninja” and “Samurai,” while the famed German paper BILD referred to the JSDF helicopters dropping water on the plants as “kamikaze.” At first glance this sort of reporting might seem harmless, but it isn’t.

The pair reasons that these “racist” stereotypes aren’t just sloppy reporting. They draw attention from the people who are truly suffering: the actual victims of the tsunami.

Effectively the predicament of the victims has been made secondary. Little has been reported about those who are desperately searching for their families, the lack of adequate medical care for the elderly who make up the majority of refugees, or the economic impact of the disasters.

They describe a vicious cycle that affected not only viewers, but governments as well.

When foreign media saw reports like Cooper’s, which overstated the terrors of radiation, many began to wonder if the situation wasn’t actually far worse than the Japanese were leading them to believe. It’s entirely possible that this overplaying of the dangers more than necessary played a key role in the decisions of several embassies to evacuate their citizens.

Yokota and Yamada reserve some words of praise for the media outlets that are treating the situation with the attention they feel it truly deserves.

The New York Times, which has run no shortage of articles that stereotype Japan, has increased the number of reporters covering the country and continues to do good work. And many other foreign journalists actually requested to be sent to Japan to support Tokyo bureaus deflated by the journalistic exodus.

But the pair conclude that even as things improve, the impact of foreign-media-fed hysteria remains.

The fact remains that the use of inflammatory words “Chernobyl-level disaster” continues to paint the entirety of Japan as devastated. The fear of radiation has led cargo ships to avoid ports in Tokyo and Yokohama, and there have even been cases of experts being forbidden from entering stricken areas to conduct surveys of the conditions there. This is hindering recovery. It’s a second disaster caused by the media.

Japan survived the trial of the Tohoku/Kanto Disaster, but we can’t say it’s thanks to the foreign media.

Matthew ALT
April 7, 2011

Matt Alt lives in Tokyo and is the co-author of Hello, Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters from Japan and Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide, among others. His blog can be found at http://altjapan.typepad.com.

179 Responses

  1. Michael Says:

    Nice article Matt. Out of interest, do you have a link to that video of Cooper? I never caught that.

  2. Avery Says:

    I had though that radiation fears were dying down this week, as the situation moved slowly towards stability, but then, yesterday evening, this indefensible ABC report hit the press:

    http://www.jpquake.info/home/abc

    It seems like answering irrational or inaccurate fears is still going to be a big issue for Japanese government and business for the foreseeable future.

  3. Cedric - Neon Magazine Says:

    Nice paper Matthew.
    The other thing that stroke me: journalists writing paper about the Japan crisis… from their own countries! We had that in France! Unbelievable!

  4. Matt Lyne Says:

    Interesting article Matt. Thank you also for the tweets during the difficult few weeks. Yours and your associates’ kept me sane, and more importantly in Tokyo, rather than on a plane out of here like too many of my friends and colleagues.

    Matt

  5. Tokyo Reporter Says:

    Interesting post. Thanks for the translation.

    So the article names Anderson Cooper from CNN but not the journalist from the American financial newspaper? That seems a bit strange.

  6. TKYC Says:

    The Australian mass media were no different… flying in reporters and pulling them out when there was a mere whiff of radiation.
    Check this as well… a news team that had filed a story on the devastation, had that replaced by their escape from the radiation.
    http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8224303

  7. uzaigaijin Says:

    Same problem with french coverage…

    I have to say in their defense that French journalists covering Tohoku earthquake and its consequences were not that scared until their offices contacted them, ordering them to come back to France (or at least to run away to Osaka…) as soon as possible.
    Also, I’ve seen few ones arriving on Tokyo on 15 March morning being ordered to come back on the same day cause it was “too dangerous” to stay in Japan.
    Everyone in France was pretty irrational that week…

  8. Meagles Says:

    Anderson Cooper

    http://www.okmagazine.com/2011/03/anderson-cooper-on-fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-explosion-should-i-get-out-of-here/

  9. Charles Says:

    Complete rubbish. An article (assuming these excerpts are contextualyt accurate) clearly fueled more by emotion than dispassionate observation. Reads more like a bloody over-the-top Debito rant than anything credible.

  10. Ryan Says:

    Nice article, indeed. I think I speak for all foreigners in Tokyo when I say we immensely appreciate all the work you’ve done these last few trying weeks.

  11. Naomi Says:

    Thank you for your nice post.
    I think CNN & Anderson Cooper betrayed lots of Japanese viewers’ confidence.

    In addition to your article, I was deeply impressed by Daniel Kahl’s YouTube messages “Stop the Hysteria” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH7JYAphuTE

  12. Daruma Says:

    True, pretty much all they said is true. Especially stuff about the fearless grey-haired reporter who turns out (again) to be a sissy (pardon my language). I still remember his coverage of Al-Tahrir in Cairo, and here came more evidence. Nice story Matt as always.

  13. Ed B Says:

    Matt, thanks for all you’ve done over the past month. One thing that cannot be attributed to the U.S. press is objectivity. A few websites who know next to nothing about nuclear power were consumed by fear mongerng. Alternative media is making progress, but it’s still prone to nuclear hysteria. The current state of the countries politics is likely in play as well.

  14. CrappyCartoons Says:

    Nicely written but I do hope there is more follow up to this article in the future.

    You begin by saying, “How do Japanese feel about the coverage of their country from abroad?” Unfortunately, you fail to answer this question as you only offer anecdotal evidence through the words of a couple of Japanese journalists.

    As an expatriate who’s made Japan his home for 17 years, I found myself infuriated by and embarrassed with the foreign press and by the panicked reaction of so many foreigners. I wonder if what has transpired will effect how the Japanese view both the foreign press and the foreigners who live among them and will their be long term consequences. Obviously, the priority now first and foremost is doing whatever we can to aid those whose lives where shattered by the triple disaster. However, at some point we foreigners will have to our point to heal any wounds that our actions have caused so that this does not become a four-headed tragedy.

  15. Jobean Says:

    Wow, that’s a whole lot of anti-American propaganda packed into one post. Nothing about the bad behavior of the notorious UK press, eh? Interesting.

    And just how racist, bigoted, ignorant, and foolish were the international media–including Japan–when they covered the Hurricane Katrina disaster?

    Try not to throw too many stones from your glass house.

  16. Paul YM Says:

    Fantastic article. I just watched a (variety) program the other evening praising the representation in the foreign press. I was flabbergasted at the quotes they were able to pull up, because all I saw was overblown panic. Good to see a critical Japanese viewpoint. Thanks so much for the translation!

  17. J Says:

    Western news media really did an excellent job in ramping up the hysteria. One good thing came of it. It disproved the stereotype that Japanese are sheepish through the resulting foreigner exodus which was so much more… sheepish.

  18. ststev Says:

    I would like to echo the sentiments in comments above. Your twitter feed helped keep me calm / sane when so much information in English was screaming that Tokyo was as good as dead. Thanks.

  19. Brian Says:

    That is exactly how I have experienced the foreign media (and even some Dutch media I respected) mangling the facts for juicy stories.

    I wrote a short summary of what we can learn from it here:
    http://www.lookingatnothing.com/?p=390

  20. kujirakira Says:

    It should be noted that Jim Walsh is not an expert on Nuclear plants or Nuclear power or anything to do with science.

    His degree is essentially in International Relations, with an expertise in Security which he’s focused on nuclear weapons proliferation.

    They throw the MIT around there to confuse people, since we all know MIT is a top school in science and engineering.
    But he has NO ZERO ZIP NADA education in such matters.

    Walsh’s profile from MIT…
    http://web.mit.edu/ssp/people/walsh/faculty_walsh.html

    What the real scientists at MIT have to say…
    http://mitnse.com/

  21. kujirakira Says:

    It may not be clear in previous comment, but Jim Walsh was the “nuclear expert” alluded to from Anderson Cooper.

    The Japanese journalists should be forgiven for believing he’s an expert on anything since that’s how CNN presented the guy.

    Again, this guy is no expert on anything except International Relations.
    What little he knows is about nuclear weapons. He knows nothing about nuclear reactors.

    CNN should’ve contacted MIT’s nuclear department instead. Where real scientists with real knowledge had an excellent breakdown of each day’s events.

    http://mitnse.com/

  22. Sophie Says:

    Great article, thanks for translating and sourcing the article. Would be wonderful if the English Newsweek would run it!

    I was a fixer for an English film crew out here who headed up to Sendai. The London-based producers started panicking and tried to pull them out, thanks to the scaremongering reports back in London and the fact that AP, CNN etc were all following suit… due to lack of gas I think they stayed put, but I think for many journalists it wasn’t a personal decision, their agencies pulled them out. Either way it was poor judgment, and as you say, if some journalists go into war zones, why are they so scared of mild background radiation…?!

  23. kujirakira Says:

    For the first comment by Michael — you can see Anderson Cooper running scared here.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iSyQkusHD4

  24. MattAlt Says:

    I’ve heard a lot of worry about how this will affect Japan’s perceptions of foreigners, but I am not worried myself. The mainstream press has paid foreign rescue efforts and donations a great deal of attention, for one thing. And for another, the people most up in arms about foreigners leaving seem to be other foreigners. (The “flyjin” term was created and to my knowledge pretty much exclusively used by expats.) I don’t really think the issue of “gaijin flight” is really on most peoples’ radar screens here.

    It’s also key to note that Yokota and Yamada don’t paint entire countries with their brush, but rather highlight bad examples, of which there are plenty to pick and choose from. And they do take pains to laud foreign journalists and outlets they feel are doing a good job (even if I am not in total agreement with them on their pick.)

    “Nothing about the bad behavior of the notorious UK press, eh?”

    You must have missed the paragraph about UK and German press calling Japanese workers “ninja,” “samurai,” and “kamikaze.” Yokota and Yamada’s article is most definitely not specifically about Americans.

  25. BB Says:

    “And just how racist, bigoted, ignorant, and foolish were the international media–including Japan–when they covered the Hurricane Katrina disaster?”

    For the most part, Japanese coverage on Katrina was objective and factual. You clearly have no knowledge on how Japanese media works.

  26. BB Says:

    Thank you for this great article. As a Japanese citizen I have become sick and tired of hearing that all of Japan has become some kind of radioactive wasteland and that everyone should flee the country to escape inevitable death… reading those articles, one would think that doomsday is afoot and the sky is falling.

    It’s good to see that there are some level-headed expats who have remained in Japan. Thanks for being the voice of reason in this storm of media-induced panic.

  27. CC Says:

    Excellent report and translation.

    I was very disappointed with CNN. Anderson Cooper reporting from Akita. Might as well have been in Seoul. Soledad O’Brien with a staged report of the English teacher just bumping into his friend in Kessenuma, while his parents just happen to be calling CNN Atlanta at the exact same time. And Gary Tuckman also reporting from Akita that he hasn’t seen much damage yet from the earthquake or tsunami … Kudos though to Sanjay Gupta who maintained some dignity and reality.

    Thank goodness for tweets from people like Matt Alt who kept it real.

  28. reine Says:

    “famed German paper BILD”

    er, famed? the “bild” is generally regarded as a sensationalist boulevardzeitung that addresses the lowest common denominator with a very relaxed relationship with truth and an outright hostile one with facts :)

    of course, newspapers like the “frankfurter allgemeine” or the “sueddeutsche” might have also used the “kamikaze” term …

  29. Bobby Serious Says:

    “Little has been reported about those who are desperately searching for their families, the lack of adequate medical care for the elderly who make up the majority of refugees, or the economic impact of the disasters.”

    I agree that the focus has been on the Daiichi plant a little too much, but this statement just isn’t true – plenty has been written about this aspect of the disaster.

    I think here the authors of the Newsweek article are themselves guilty of overstating the facts for effect.

  30. Ziemia Niczyja | Mariusz Herma » Ganbare Nippon (Kiosk 2011年3月11日) Says:

    […] Letters from Fukushima: Tepco Worker Emails, WSJ Map of the Damage, NYT Why I Stayed, New Yorker The Day Journalists Run, […]

  31. Aceface Says:

    “So the article names Anderson Cooper from CNN but not the journalist from the American financial newspaper? That seems a bit strange.”

    Actually,the original article says”世界で最も名を知られた大手経済紙” The world’s most renowned big financial paper”didn’t say “American”.So I can’t tell whether it’s Wall Street Journal or Financial Times.

  32. Sporki The Dog Says:

    I think of all media losing their journalistic standards and resort to stereotyping and fearmongering, the German media takes the crown this time.

    It is true that “Bild” is just a tabloid and can be expected to write drivel, it’s their profession. But even so-called quality media like “Spiegel” and Germany’s public TV network “ARD” showed a level of fearmongering, incompetence, racist stereotyping that easily surpassed that of CNN and Anderson Cooper.

    People have said earlier that there is not a single German journalist working for an important TV station or newspaper who can even speak or read Japanese (!). Since Fukushima, I can confirm that the quality of reporting is a shame and has no resemblance to actual, ethical journalism anymore.

  33. Aceface Says:

    I think there is implication to domestic affairs in cases of French and German medias regarding in Fukushima reporting.French wants this as purely Japanese problem to contain the anti-nuclear sentiment away from their own nuclear industry and German wants as much hysteria to oppose Christian Democrats in the election.

  34. Bao Says:

    Honestly, anyone watching/reading/listening to sensationalist journalism has to blame themselves. If I manage to find reliable coverage in five languages, so might you.

  35. Aceface Says:

    And you have Italians.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/journalism/blog/2011/04/italian-media-corrected-by-its.shtml

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/04/the-italian-presss-tradition-of-fake-interviews/73377/

  36. What do Japanese journalists think above the international media coverage | riskofradiation.com Says:

    […] balanced viewpoint to a dangerous situation the Japanese government is doing its best to downplay. Click here to read more This entry was posted in Japan Radiation. Bookmark the permalink. ← Nuclear Anti […]

  37. anon Says:

    Samurai? Racist? Tasteless, perhaps. It is a fundamental part of Japanese history, after all.

  38. Aceface Says:

    Yeah,but not in the year 2011.

  39. Rick Mercier Says:

    Excellent media critique. Have you thought about sending it to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (fair.org)?

  40. Ron Says:

    So if I understand correctly, the Japanese press is also racially stereotyping Japan’s national soccer team. You know, the team dubbed by the Japanese press as their “Blue Samurai”?

  41. A. Says:

    The behavior and standards of American media and the egregious racial stereotyping (of the Japanese as stoic samurai and ninjas, and willingly ignoring anything undermining that stereotype) has been disgraceful to say the least.

    With that said, there were also a lot of comparisons of Fukushima to TMI (Three Mile Island), which were actually *surprisingly* accurate. If anything, I do feel that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company were being very evasive and rather dishonest, and that the American media was slightly more honest and more realistic in their nervousness about something like that.

  42. Aceface Says:

    “So if I understand correctly, the Japanese press is also racially stereotyping Japan’s national soccer team”

    Well,it’s actually “Samurai Blue”is the official name of the national soccer team.So I’d assume media isn’t racially stereotyping.

    BTW,ever thought about getting a job in the U.S media industry,Ron?You seem to have what it takes….

  43. Aceface Says:

    “there were also a lot of comparisons of Fukushima to TMI (Three Mile Island), which were actually *surprisingly* accurate.”

    Well,J media and the government has been saying it’s not like Chernobyl.But always been saying more serious than TMI.

    “I do feel that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company were being very evasive and rather dishonest, and that the American media was slightly more honest and more realistic in their nervousness about something like that.”

    I disagree.TEPCO and the government has been also acknowledging how they’ve been screwing up such as a TEPCO engineer took a hike to see other reactor and came back to find out a pump lost all the fuel and cause damage in the other reactor and such.They certainly had bad presentation,but can’t confirm that they hide something,or at least at this moment so far,I can’t find any.

    Not that the two gets credit or anyting because that’s what they were supposed to be doing and they have mishandled the actual reovering the plant,which is the real problem.

  44. Ludolf Says:

    Fact is that the stupid Japanese government does not tell the facts to their own people. That has nothing to do with media hysterie. If they provided accurate information things would juat get sorted out, but no, the Japanese like to play it the Japanese way. Did you know that in eastern parts of Germany boars and mushrooms are still not eaten because of Tchernobyl?

  45. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    Awesome. Required reading.

    Tokyo Reporter, shouldn’t you be able to read Japanese?

  46. Sniffing the Chrysanthemums » Blog Archive » How many Linda Gunters can there be? Says:

    […] Reader Aceface has pointed to a Japanese Newsweek piece translated by Matt Alt on NeoJaponisme. The Japanese media are starting to notice the true colors of their international counterparts. The […]

  47. Chuckles Says:

    Personally, I am rather suprised at how mild the racializing of this particular incident had been, when compared to similar incidents. I expected widespread African-American vs Japanese comparisons; i.e.; the docile, organized and civilized Japanese versus the riotous, disorganized and threat to civilization AfAms: such as we had after Katrina. While I saw the usual “Well, the Japanese arent black” refrain, it was suprisingly mild. So, this is at least one aspect of racial stereotyping that did not occur. Then again, very few quips about the “Myth of Japanese Engineering (TM)” comparatively – and France offering assistance to Japan didnt have the tinge of Big Brother helping little Brother out with his toys – a subtext to almost all Western engagement with the rest of the world – remember; Japanese technology has only earned street cred in the past 40 years or so – approximately 1 generation to be precise.
    Again, very little invocation of the spectre of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though I did see instances of this.
    What I did see that disgusted me was a version of the whole Yellow Peril narrative – with Anderson Cooper’s disgraceful behavior, and entire fallacious idea that the whole of Japan had become one huge radiation infested zone – such that products being exported from Japan had to be banned (which is stupidly ridiculous given the location and containment of the tragedy): unlike the US’s BSE crisis a while back where there was justifiable motive to ban US beef; here there is just no such rationale. The whole idea of Mongols bearing the bubonic virus into a verdant West is clearly at work here.

    On this point alone, I’d say the coverage of the Western media has been entirely disgraceful – and that certain cadre of leftists would sieze this to articulate their anti-nuke power sentiments is just awful.

    Scientific reporting on the crisis was just atrocious

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6025/22.summary

    Nature magazine has a timeline coverage / specials thing going on the event:

    http://www.nature.com/news/specials/japanquake/index.html

    I would rely on this as opposed to uninformed commentary from overzealous-to-escape CNN and Tabloid types.

    The invocation of Samurai and Ninja is extremely unfortunate in this case; as it is evocative of the always smiling Asian, who nevertheless bears up under great stress; the docile yet hardy oriental – to compare this situation with sports is entirely ridiculous. Not to mention that the press is somehow suggesting that the mythical, mystical and almost magical powers of the Samurai and Ninja will be responsible for preservation and rescue from this situation as opposed to sound technical help which informed reporting can bring. Trivializing this with such stereotypes is alarming. This is simply denying modernity to Japan, alterizing them, putting them beyond the reach of contemporary technological solutions and quite simply condemning them to their own fate. The depths of resentment against that island nation that still lurks in some sections of occidental society is shocking.

  48. Fuseji Says:

    Ludolf, Joebean, Bobby all make good points.

    The in-your-face, one-sided media illiteracy of Neojaponisme and its contributors never fails to amuse. Perhaps, when this flyjin and “evil foreign journalists” fad dies down, when the Japan-based and wannabe Japan-based bloggers stop panicking, scapegoating, and scrambling so desperately for excuses to stay, they’ll start to admit that the recent criticisms of foreign journalism are themselves exaggerated and unreliable. There must be something about natural disaster in Japan that makes the outsiders even more nervous about their outsider status. What sort of backlash are they trying to preempt? All you’re doing here with this Neojaponisme article, despite the feigned objectivity, is what you’ve been doing for weeks; blowing smoke and making the situation worse.

    You might not realize it, but there are people in the world who don’t believe everything they hear. Cable TV in the U.S. misreported something? NHK gave a report that was not quite honest? The nuclear industry is downplaying the catastrophe? Wow, what else is new? Some of us are capable of judging for ourselves and taking the appropriate response. Some of us don’t expect or want “honest” commercial reporting to dictate what we should do. The most surprising part of this whole affair, throughout the various blog posts, the tweets, the interviews, and etc., is the fact that you thought we were as gullible as you are. What we’re taking out of this is that you’re just as unreliable as (and less professional than) the news you are criticizing.

    And when you say you don’t know many Japanese people who, whether or not they believed the (equally unreliable) content of the Japanese news, ran just like the flyjin did, you’re either lying or you’re isolated in an orientalist expat bubble. You’re trying to draw borders where they don’t exist. There are some high-profile politicians in Tokyo who do the same thing, right? Maybe you can get a letter of rec from Shin-chan and apply for a job at Fox news when you’re done reporting the truth from Japan.

    Until then, please don’t expect us to take your word for it.

  49. Aceface Says:

    “If they provided accurate information things would juat get sorted out, but no, the Japanese like to play it the Japanese way”

    Yeah,They shouldn’t do any press conferences six times a day in Japanese.
    Should hire English speaking white guy like Dave Spector to ease troubled gaijin mind.

  50. Billy Gonzoid Says:

    Generally, I think you should differentiate between the parachute journalists, who spend very little time here, and the Tokyo-based correspondents, most of whom have been travelling to the north on a regular basis, most of whom speak Japanese and most of whom live here permanently. To tar all foreign media with your rather broad brush is providing no better information than those you criticize. And the Japanese media, as usual, report only the things that advertisers (ie, Tepco) want them to report.

  51. Cleo Says:

    Why is there no Japanese criticism of Germany’s Der Spiegel coverage? From what I have seen of boring CNN coverage, there hasn’t been any racism unless you count overflattering references to Japanese culture. Did they do that for Haitians?

    Check out the articles on Spiegel Online and compare them to AMERICAN coverage and decide if Japan isn’t just opportunistically criticizing the United States – who by the way, along with the Brits, the South Koreans and Chinese were sending in more aid and human resources when Germans were leaving Japan on the 15th – 4 days after the quake.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,751042,00.html

  52. Cleo Says:

    There is nothing racist about being afraid of radiation. Consider that Japan is a country whose citizens will wear face masks to prevent catching the common cold. Are these the same people who would guzzle milk from Sendai right now? Let’s be calm and fair. They don’t want to be in proximity of radiation either.

  53. M-Bone Says:

    @Fuseji

    “believed the (equally unreliable) content of the Japanese news”

    Do you have examples of unreliability in Japanese reporting since 3/11?

  54. W. David MARX Says:

    Or I am more interested in hearing good examples of adequate danger/risk assessment of foreign media. I think the main message of nuclear experts worldwide has been quite accurate: the Fukushima site will be a radioactive mess but Tokyo should not be in any serious danger. Yet when I turned on CNN, they were literally telling audiences in a different continent, “When we come back, we will tell you how worried you should be.” The answer should have been, “None. None worried.” Maybe sad or empathetic, but not worried about own safety. If I made fun of Finnish people buying iodine pills in the wake of Fukushima, I still feel pretty okay with that value judgment.

  55. Aceface Says:

    ”Why is there no Japanese criticism of Germany’s Der Spiegel coverage?”

    Because Germany isn’t that important to Japan since 1945.

    “And the Japanese media, as usual, report only the things that advertisers (ie, Tepco) want them to report.”

    OK,so J-medias are now scapegoating TEPCO endlessly only because that’s exactly what TEPCO wants them to be,eh?

    I also want to know how many “Tokyo-based correspondents” are there exactly who can speak Japanese and live here “permanently”? They are part of the problem,not solution.

  56. MattAlt Says:

    “Some of us don’t expect or want “honest” commercial reporting to dictate what we should do.”

    So let me get this straight: you agree that the foreign coverage was terrible and sensationalist, but anyone who expects better is “gullible?” If you’ve become so jaded that you don’t even expect or want honest reporting from mainstream news sources anymore, you’re essentially arguing the same point as the authors of the original piece. (Which I might note wasn’t written by the expats you’re blustering about, but rather a pair of Japanese guys.)

  57. kujirakira Says:

    “Fact is that the stupid Japanese government does not tell the facts to their own people. That has nothing to do with media hysterie”

    This ill-founded perception that everything is a grand coverup for the Japanese government has everything to do with media hysteria.

  58. kujirakira Says:


    Perhaps, when this flyjin and “evil foreign journalists” fad dies down, when the Japan-based and wannabe Japan-based bloggers stop panicking, scapegoating, and scrambling so desperately for excuses to stay, they’ll start to admit that the recent criticisms of foreign journalism are themselves exaggerated and unreliable.

    You are sound supremely defensive.
    That entire paragraph can be summed up as “I know you are, but what am I?”

    Attacking the people and not the content is a clear indication that you have little to no insight to offer on this.

  59. Fuseji Says:

    Looks like I should have complained about more than just media illiteracy. . .

    “So let me get this straight: you agree that the foreign coverage was terrible and sensationalist, but anyone who expects better is ‘gullible?’”

    You didn’t quite get it straight. Globally, coverage of this event has been unreliable. Japanese reporting has been and continues to be extremely poor. Some English language reporting has, in the long run, turned out to be more reliable than the Japanese reporting. So no, I don’t agree with your sweeping generalizations about the foreign media.

    I also disagree with your reluctance to criticize the Japanese media on equal terms. It’s unfair to your unilingual readers to complain about all the bad English reporting and leave Japanese reporting off the hook. You’re giving people the wrong impression; that includes using this Newsweek article to imply that folks in Japan really care about all this unreliable foreign reporting. You should probably be writing about public reaction to the Aera issue in Tokyo instead, and the way nationalist discourse (something you’re familiar with?) keeps contaminating reports and discussions about the earthquake and aftermath, both inside and outside of Japan.

    The Japanese people I know who fled Tokyo didn’t do it because of English language reports. But that sort of thing would probably deflate your argument, wouldn’t it?

    “…but anyone who expects better is “gullible?” If you’ve become so jaded that you don’t even expect or want honest reporting from mainstream news sources anymore…”

    Again that’s not what I wrote. I’m talking about media literacy and critical thinking skills. It looks like you think that means absolute paranoia. I guess that helps to explain where you’re coming from.

    But I will say this: If you’re watching commercial (what did you call it, “mainstream”?) American cable TV news, anxious to follow their instructions at a moment’s notice, expecting them to report accurately and keep you safe and informed at a time like this, hell yes, you’re gullible. As I said, some of us are capable of judging for ourselves and taking the appropriate response. We don’t need to sit around wasting time bitching about Fox or CNN. There are respectable English language news sources out there we can choose to read instead. Maybe you should re-think your own reading and viewing habits before recklessly condemning non-Japanese reports.

    And I didn’t claim the Newsweek article was written by expats (by the way, did you stop to consider that source?). The expats I was blustering about are you, the Neojaponisme crew, and the other Japan bloggers who have been blowing this issue way out of proportion, here and elsewhere on the net, since the earthquake. You’re taking advantage of the fact that Japan is in the news for once, risking more confusion and disinformation just to show off your in-and-outsider status. If you can’t find a way to talk about the “difference” of Japan in order to assert your presumed expertise, you invent one. It doesn’t help.

  60. M-Bone Says:

    Fuseji – still waiting on that evidence of unreliability in Japanese reporting.

    Want to feel that you are coming out on top in online debates? Go 9/10 evidence and 1/10 snide digs. You got the ratio mixed up.

  61. MattAlt Says:

    Sticks and stones, and all that…

    I watched the crises unfold in real time and worried about the health of my family. And I had to spend a big chunk of time every day fielding hysterical phone calls from foreign friends and relatives and debunking claims in the foreign media for monolingual friends here. Some were credulous and others were not, but everyone was struck by the “temperature difference” between Japanese and non-Japanese sources.

    I am a news junkie. I love (or loved) getting up in the morning and reading the NYT, WaPo, and online news aggregators. The reason I am so confident pointing a finger at foreign media here is because the foreign media was relying almost exclusively upon the exact same Japanese press conferences as I was.

    All anyone had to go on were the official press conferences, yet foreign reporters leapt to vastly different conclusions than I or local media did. The drive to sensationalize was palpable. “We’re trying another method to cool the reactors” instantly became “desperate last-ditch efforts” in newspapers. Descriptions of the situation were conflated into “Chernobyl 2,” facts to the contrary be damned. Setbacks in what everyone knows is going to be a long and arduous process were framed as “confidence slips” and failures. All in all it reminded me less of journalism and more like vultures circling a dying man.

    “You’re giving people the wrong impression… [implying] Japan really care about all this unreliable foreign reporting.”

    You’re making this accusation of a translation of an article about that very topic, but here’s another for you.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110408a8.html

    “There are respectable English language news sources out there we can choose to read instead.”

    I would honestly like to know what these respectable English language sources that trumped local-language ones are. Please enlighten us.

  62. W. David MARX Says:

    I’m talking about media literacy and critical thinking skills.

    I have no idea what Fuseji is arguing for besides the fact that he doesn’t like us. I am guessing he believes that leaving Tokyo was the correct course of action, but he’s being quiet on this. I would say, however:

    1) Any critical, objective thinking about the nuclear issue would conclude that people in Tokyo should not have any serious worries about their own safety. I have seen no reputable sources Japanese or Western that said fleeing Tokyo was necessary.

    2) Having media literacy means calling out media who overestimated the nuclear threat to “Japan” as a whole rather than the localized Fukushima area. And for the most part, this was a sin of U.S. media rather than Japanese media. You could argue that Japanese media may have underreported but they never played up the radiation threat beyond the basic objective and rational risk calculation.

    3) I really do not think that this is some grand conspiracy on our part to finally have a chance to prove status — against our own safety — in order to get mad at the mainstream Western media. If you were on the ground in Japan, Fuseji, you would realize that the reports in the Western media in no way reflected what was actually happening or the true level of risk in staying in Tokyo. This is the source of the dispute.

  63. Aceface Says:

    “and the way nationalist discourse (something you’re familiar with?) keeps contaminating reports and discussions about the earthquake and aftermath, both inside and outside of Japan. ”

    You know something bad is happeing when HIRO from EXILE tells you in the eyes that “I Believe Japan’s Power”.

    Fly-jins want rationalize their decision based on foreign media reports and do not want to admit that part of their panic is caused by the lack of Japanese linguistic ability and institutional distrust to the host society.
    I understand their are some Japanese who fled with them,but mostly because these Japanese got freaked out because their foreign boss and colleagues,who were quite decent people in the ordinary times got freaked out.I have none of my friends,relatives fled so far.I even moved my kid from Nagoya to Kanto last week to have him entreing junior highschool.

    “Some English language reporting has, in the long run, turned out to be more reliable than the Japanese reporting”

    I don’t think it even takes that much amount of time.Radiation can be measured scientifically.Most of the radiation related news will be confirmed by the scientist within 12 hours.
    As we debate this now,The NYT is making latest mistakes regarding the trouble “inside”the reactor,so far no one really knows.They probably got the info from American sources or something,but I don’t understand why they simply put these bits of info without checking along with second opinion.

  64. kujirakira Says:


    The expats I was blustering about are you, the Neojaponisme crew, and the other Japan bloggers who have been blowing this issue way out of proportion, here and elsewhere on the net

    It is the English-speaking media which has blown things way out of proportion.
    This blog, and others, are merely demonstrating this fact.
    That you have to continually sink to attacking the people and not the content further demonstrates the validity of their assessment.


    I’m talking about media literacy and critical thinking skills.

    Of course, that’s what the original article and this entire blog entry is about.

  65. Markus Says:

    I believe the article isn’t that fair either. There were tons of reports in foreign media about the devastation caused by the tsunami. Sadly, the news stations that panicked the most were those that raised the most money. And there was a lot of sympathy and coverage for the tsunami victims despite the nuclear fears.

    I absolutely agree that the Fukushima coverage in foreign media wasn’t based on rationale and facts but rather emotions. And it wasn’t helpful at all but rather destroyed trust and faith among foreigners, I should stress. But you can understand that if you take into account that most people in Europe had been through a nuclear disaster already. Most of them grew up with fear of nuclear power plants.
    On the other hand, the Japanese media isn’t that fact-based either. Today I saw a report about the contaminated sand-lances. The report was only about the situation of the fishermen and restaurant owners. Than one producer of sand-lances was given the opportunity the talk about how sad he feels that people don’t eat his products. After that the reporter ate one and said how delicious it was. That was it. No information about the possible health issues. No information about radiation induced diseases. Only “this man is in a very troublesome situation although his fish is delicious”. Another report explained how you can order contaminated vegetables from the affected area, that retailers refuse to buy, online and thereby support the people in Fukushima. Of course no information about the risk whatsoever.
    Well done Japanese media!
    I don’t think Japanese people are in a position to complain about the foreign media coverage.

    And what do they really complain about?
    The ones who really suffered from this weren’t Yokotoa and Yamada but us foreigners who relied on English information while having our families at home freaking out. If any, we should be complaining about that.

  66. Mulboyne Says:

    I certainly found some of the early coverage of the aftermath of the earthquake to be unhelpful and sometimes offensive. However, the tone of this Newsweek article also seems wrong to me so I was surprised to see it applauded so widely in the comments here. Since one of the few commenters who has disagreed has done so poorly, I thought I might try to take a stab at it myself.

    The largest foreign populations in Japan are Chinese and Korean. They headed for the airports and trains in fairly great numbers in the immediate aftermath and tour groups from both countries are still not visiting even as the Tourist Agency reports that some westerners are trickling back.

    I doubt very much whether Anderson Cooper’s behaviour in Japan influenced their decisions. Both communities would have been watching their own country’s media reports and, probably to a greater extent than westerners, local reports. Why do the authors of the Newsweek piece spend all their time addressing only western media?

    It seems to me they have a large chip on their shoulder, which appears supported by their early claim that “これまで、日本には外国メディアに対するある種の尊敬の念があった。ジャーナリズムの理想とあがめ、その権威に頼ることさえあった。” Which Matt has translated as “Japan regarded the foreign media with an unadulterated measure of respect. We honored their journalistic standards as we relied to a degree upon their authority.” Foreign media here is obviously intended only to mean western media but, honestly, that is surely absurdly overstated. The only reason to inflate the regard the authors claim Japan had for overseas reporting is to make the alleged fall from grace seem more dramatic.

    It’s too simplistic to draw a straight line of causation between foreign press coverage and the reactions of foreign embassies in Japan and foreigners. I also can’t agree with Aceface’s assertion above that most Japanese who decided to leave Tokyo were primarily influenced by foreigners doing the same.

    Unease in Tokyo started almost from the first press conference TEPCO gave. It was so shambolic, it was hard to believe these men could have any grasp of the situation at all. On that first Friday, central Tokyo convenience stores and supermarkets sold out of stock because huge numbers were trapped in the city overnight. They were still empty in the first few hours of the weekend because deliveries didn’t get through. It was following developments at Fukushima and the early botched press conferences that hoarding began in earnest. That certainly wasn’t generated by any foreign coverage.

    There were no scenes of fighting in the aisles or at the cash registers but stocks sold out all the same. “Deliveries are probably being cut because of petrol shortages,” said some. “Supplies are being redirected to Tohoku,” said others. The Sankei has a report today pointing out that Kanto not only never faced any supply shortages but actually received more deliveries than usual.

    Using reports from one major supermarket, they say that, on the 16th March, the supply of bottled water was 2.5x above normal, rice 2x, cup noodles 2.7x and pasta 3.6x. The reason shelves emptied so quickly is demand had exploded. They estimate bottled water demand was 31x normal levels, cup noodles 14x, pasta 27x, batteries 16x and items like toilet paper 30x.

    I’ve no doubt that some of this demand was also prompted by the prospect of power outages rather than fear of clouds of death and acid rain but it would be ridiculous to say that the Japanese media consistently played down the risks. Take a look at this report in Post Seven from the 19th March:

    http://www.news-postseven.com/archives/20110319_15556.html

    It not only quotes Kyoto nuclear researcher Prof. Hiroaki Koide saying how the Tokyo metropolitan area is at risk – 「最悪の場合、数か月のうちに400~700kmの範囲にまでこのレベルの放射性物質が飛来し、汚染される可能性があります。首都圏もすっぽり危険エリアです」 – he also gives you a hint about how you can put together your own makeshift anti-radiation suit. I posted that picture on Twitter and one friend replied that it would make me look like a ninja. Based on this Newsweek report, I see I’ll have to explain to her that she wasn’t just using a cliché when she said that, she was really being racist.

    Post Seven is a weekly magazine which thrives on sensationalism but look around briefly and you’ll find Koide quoted by the Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, Tokyo Shimbun and J-Cast. The foreign press is being inflammatory by talking about a Chernobyl-level disaster? Then what about this piece from the Sankei on the 15th March, quoting our friend Koide and headlined 「チェルノブイリに近づく」:

    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/110315/dst11031520320144-n1.htm

    Another claim in the Newsweek piece is that western coverage of Fukushima has meant insufficient coverage of the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. It’s a little strange the authors want to level that accusation exclusively against the foreign media when there has been some soul-searching locally about whether the domestic press has been guilty on the same charge. The government has been questioned over its priorities on that count too.

    It will be useful to look back at all coverage of this disaster and make an evaluation. It’s a good exercise to conduct for any large-scale story. That Newsweek article is a poor first effort. It fails to show how western media reports are uniquely culpable for behaviour demonstrated by Japanese, Koreans, Chinese and westerners alike. It ignores the alarmist reporting also seen in Japanese and other overseas sources and assumes that anxiety is only informed by what people read in the media.

  67. Fuseji Says:

    Marx: “I have no idea what Fuseji is arguing for…”

    I’ll let you work it out on your own.

    Why do you want me to take a position on the issue of people who left Tokyo? Why is it any of my business? Are those people, or their reasons, all the same?

    “I have seen no reputable sources Japanese or Western that said fleeing Tokyo was necessary.”

    Neither have I. But within the larger problem of media accuracy, why is flight so important? If you realize that there is no serious threat of radioactivity in Tokyo now, aren’t there other questions to ask? Like examining the accuracy of reporting on relief efforts, or looking at the increasing reports of crime in the shelters, or double-checking reports on Tokyo power outage schedules, or reviewing Tepco’s PR history? What about the earthquake’s effect on the election? Why flyjin?

    “Having media literacy means calling out media who overestimated the nuclear threat to “Japan” as a whole rather than the localized Fukushima area.”

    There clearly is a threat to Japan as a whole as a result of the power plant problems. It may not necessarily involve radiation, but there is a threat.

    I think literacy means being able to read the articles carefully, evaluate their facts, and understand the difference between what they’re reporting and what they’re advocating. Then maybe calling out the media who distributed unreliable data or under- or overestimated the nuclear threat, regardless of the language they’re reporting in. It doesn’t mean spreading the blame over stereotypes like “foreign reporting.”

    “If you were on the ground in Japan, Fuseji, you would realize that the reports in the Western media in no way reflected what was actually happening or the true level of risk in staying in Tokyo.”

    This is yet another sloppy exaggeration.

    One source of my dispute, Marx, is that if you were on the ground in Japan, you would realize that most of the people on the ground in Japan don’t rely on Western media for information to begin with. You would realize that for many or most Japan residents, the issue at hand is the reliability of local media they have immediate access to, not foreign media they don’t read.

    That said, foreign and local reports share a lot of information too, or often draw from the same flawed source information. Describing it as a problem between “Japanese” and “foreign” media is too simplistic to begin with.

    Matt: “I watched the crises unfold in real time and worried about the health of my family.”

    As did I. I got about 3 hours of sleep a night as I spent the better part of a week comparing major international news sources on the event in real time, NYT and WaPo included. There was very little difference between in quality or content of reports I read in Japanese and English. Maybe if I read tabloids instead I could have found those articles about Chernobyl 2, next to the articles about bat-kids and Michael Jackson.

    >http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110408a8.html

    Yes, I already read this. Note that Kyodo’s report cites Ministry officials as accusing “some foreign media, especially tabloids.” It doesn’t look like they’re making accusations about all or most foreign language media.

    A day after Kyodo/JT released that article, the NYT—which has a long history of being criticized for biased (if not clearly racist) reporting on Japan, and then somehow got praised by Yokota and Yamada in Newsweek . . . go figure—released an article about day laborers working very dangerous temporary jobs in nuclear facilities.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/world/asia/10workers.html

    In the last few days I have also read some English language reports about anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo that have been attracting thousands of people. BBC and AFP reported briefly on the Koenji demonstration on the 10th that involved over 10,000 people. Can someone please point me to an Asahi, Mainichi, or Yomiuri article, or Japanese broadcast TV footage of the Koenji demo?

    If I believed Matt and Marx here, I would assume the English language reports I read are flawed, and that TEPCO is most likely a trustworthy company that has been forthcoming and honest in its reports about the nuclear disaster and has no history of covering up unfair/immoral labor practices. I would have to assume that people in Tokyo who are “on the ground” and who have access to Japanese-language media actually have no rational reason to protest against nuclear energy that is still, for the vast majority of people living in Japan, very safe. All this demonstration stuff must be an English language media hoax. Either that or the protesters are all watching CNN instead of NHK and reading the New York Times instead of the Yomiuri . . . Who should I believe?

    And is nobody prepared to comment on the controversy surrounding the Aera issue? Were you all too busy watching Fox to hear about it? That’s quite an oversight for a topic like this, isn’t it?

  68. M-Bone Says:

    Reporting on the Koenji demo – reports in Asahi (you know the major papers don’t put all of their content online, right?), clip on Nihon TV (video on the site now if you want to watch it), NHK, reports from Nikkei, Kyodo, and Sankei that I have seen. Mainichi ran a four part series covering anti-nuclear feelings in Japanese society, including the demonstrations. No doubt more to come in the 4/11 papers and morning news.

    Japanese reporting broke the stories about TEPCO corruption. Tabuchi just did the “Fukushima workers as Haken/freeters” which was all over the Japanese press on March 25 and 26. The theme even made it onto Beat Takeshi’s TV Tackle and Hodo Station… over ten days before the NYT touched the story. Kyodo, Yomiuri, and Asahi had stories about how workers were being offered as much as 100man a day to work at the plant and how many of them were over 50 (presumably without pensions).

    It seems as though you have made two coherent claims in your posts – that sticking to Japanese news would not give you insights into labor exploitation and that the protests were not reported. Both of these claims are demonstrably BS.

  69. MattAlt Says:

    Mulboyne, thanks for the well-reasoned criticism of the piece. There is a lot of food for thought there. But I have to take issue with your double-quoting of Hiroaki Koide. Yes, he’s an assistant lecturer, but nobody who quotes him seems to mention he’s also a major supporter of Japan’s anti-nuclear activists. He writes for their newsletters and speaks at their events.

    I almost hate calling this out because I am no blind TEPCO supporter and do find many of his complaints about the nuclear industry worthy of further investigation. But it’s a fact Koide’s made a living by criticizing the industry and I’d hardly call him an unbiased source. I agree that the dangers of radioactivity in the air and food should not be understated, but calling the situation “another Chernobyl” simply isn’t correct except in the broadest of terms. It did nothing more than give foreign media the sound bite they needed to whip themselves into even more of a froth.

    Fuseji, I find it telling that we still see no answer to the repeated requests for your sources. The original article and the majority of comments have been about media behavior in the immediate aftermath of the crises. You seem to be arguing that during that period, Western media far outshone Japan’s. Once again, what are these “respectable English language news sources” that got it so right when the Japanese got it so wrong?

  70. Mulboyne Says:

    Matt, I don’t disagree that Koide has an agenda but his claims were being widely reported by the local media right from the outset and that sort of coverage has been too conveniently ignored by the Newsweek authors.

    Actually, I meant to also mention the title of their piece, “And Then the Journalists Ran Away”, looks very similar to a headline used by Shukan Shincho “日テレ、デスク逃亡!共同、退避命令!メディア臆病風” with the difference being that the weekly made the accusation against Japanese journalists, not foreign journalists. What made them flee?

    It would be great if all these Japanese articles and features were online but a lot of publications don’t have an active web presence. I can still show you the mixed message being sent by the contrasting covers of AERA and Shukan Post which became a heated subject:

    http://news.livedoor.com/article/image_detail/5429000/?img_id=1815361

  71. Aceface Says:

    Markus wrote

    “On the other hand, the Japanese media isn’t that fact-based either. Today I saw a report about the contaminated sand-lances.”
    “No information about radiation induced diseases”

    I have to ask either your level of Japanese ability or whether you’ve seen the whole thing.Because the goverment had banned the sales of sand-lances off the coast of Ibaragi,hence the report.

    “Another report explained how you can order contaminated vegetables from the affected area, that retailers refuse to buy, online and thereby support the people in Fukushima. Of course no information about the risk whatsoever.
    Well done Japanese media!”

    Are you sure that the said vegetables are from “contaminated affected area”?Or simply from nearby?Because if it7s from contaminated affected area,it’s illegal.And there’s no way television would broadcast that.What I saw was the effort to help farmers who raise vegetables in Fukushima that is not within the non-safety zone,yet retailers refused to buy because of the bad reputation of the name “Fukushima”.

    Anyway,your reaction to the supposed “sappy J-media coverage”strengthened my thought on why Westerners blindly believed western medias.

    Mulboyne wrote

    “Why do the authors of the Newsweek piece spend all their time addressing only western media? ”

    I think you are switching question,but would it be surprise for you that we don’t have huge respect on journalistic standard of People’s daily,Xinhhua,or Chosun Ilbo?

    I agree the article is a bit western centric,but the editor of Newsweek Japan whom I have contact via twitter understands Chinese,so I think it’s intentional to focus criticism on English language media.And that’s not surprise,because they are the true global news media.No?

    Even if Newsweek covered these non-western media,the answer would still remain the same.
    My buddy at NHK had passed me a memo that NHK will air report on “How foreign media had reported the disaster”.And these medias will be,CCTV of China,KBS of South Korea,ITAR-TASS of Russia and Le Monde of France.And I’ve read the transcript of the interview.CCTV was so-so.China kept the low key on criticism because they are afraid of the panic may spread by rumour.
    In case of KBS,the guy was more desperate,because the panic is already spread by media and rumour.KBS got sandwitched by the government and public opinion over popular suspicion over US beef contaminated with BSE in 2008.
    LeMonde and ITAR-TASS guys were very informed.Because they are here for more than 15 yeara and can read Japanese and you can’t expect that from most of the English language medias.

    Fuseji
    C”an someone please point me to an Asahi, Mainichi, or Yomiuri article, or Japanese broadcast TV footage of the Koenji demo?”

    Google “高円寺、デモ”and you’ll get Jiji,Nihon TV and NHK.

  72. Fuseji Says:

    Cheers to Mulboyne for a couple of interesting posts. I share your surprise that the Newsweek article was praised so widely here, but I think they introduced it for that purpose. I’m also pleased that many of the readers didn’t fall for it.

    M-Bone:
    >Reporting on the Koenji demo – reports in Asahi (you know the major papers don’t put all of their content online, right?),

    Yes, I know that. The big news usually makes it online, but occasionally you can find scans of the print version online or magazines debating the contents of lesser print articles.

    The reports you mention would be exactly what I asked for! However I haven’t had much luck finding them. I see a lot about the election in today’s news, but nothing significant about the demo yet. When I searched and sifted through the sites a few hours ago I didn’t find the Nihon TV, Nikkei, or Mainichi reports or videos you mentioned. Could you give us links to some of these? I’m sure everyone here would appreciate it.

    After digging a little more I did find this tiny Kyodo article:
    http://www.47news.jp/CN/201104/CN2011041001000587.html
    I also found an NHK article I hadn’t seen about a demo that started in Minato-ku with about 2000 people.
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20110410/k10015213681000.html

    >Japanese reporting broke the stories about TEPCO corruption. Tabuchi just did the “Fukushima workers as Haken/freeters” which was all over the Japanese press on March 25 and 26. . .

    Tepco corruption is a decades-old story to begin with. But if the reports you mention addressed some of the same issues the NYT article did, that’s great! I’m still curious to read about any local reactions to the NYT article though.

    >It seems as though you have made two coherent claims in your posts – that sticking to Japanese news would not give you insights into labor exploitation and that the protests were not reported.

    You’re putting quite a spin on what I wrote. My claim is that the scapegoating and stereotyping of “foreign” media advocated here can only make a confusing situation worse. They claim that there’s a fundamental difference between foreign and domestic reports on the situation, and that we can’t trust the “Western” media. I argue that this presumed essential difference between foreign and domestic journalism is imaginary to begin with. In the simplest terms, we need to be as critical of Japanese media as we are of media from anywhere else. Is that clear enough?

    (I wonder if any of these folks were around to see the way the Japanese media reported on Sept. 11, 2001. . .)

    Matt: “nobody who quotes [Koide] seems to mention he’s also a major supporter of Japan’s anti-nuclear activists. He writes for their newsletters and speaks at their events.”

    So what? Do you mean to say that affiliation somehow makes him less objective than people who work in the nuclear industry (aside from, perhaps, the day laborers)?

    By the way some of the “respectable” English language news sources I read during this catastrophe were Kyodo, AP, The Guardian, New York Times, BBC, Jiji, Reuters, Japan Times, Asahi, Mainichi, etc. Many of my friends are also praising Dave Spector’s comments on the situation . . . wait, which side does he go on?

    I on the other hand find it telling that we still see no comment or even acknowledgment from you of the Aera scandal. For someone “on the ground” in Japan who’s going out of his way to complain about all the bad Western reporting, I’m a little shocked that you have no idea what we’re talking about. How could you possibly rant about questionable or controversial post-earthquake news reports without even mentioning this? Here’s a link that might get you started.

    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/entertainments/news/110320/ent11032021480015-n1.htm

    Aceface, I did news and regular searches through Google, Yahoo, and other engines and put 高円寺 and デモ and 反原発 and any other useful keyword I could think of into the Japanese newspaper sites M-Bone suggested. Google gave me a Kyodo report, a handful of blogs with photos, and activist websites (like labornet). The other newspapers gave me nothing. That was about 6 hours ago. If things have changed now, I’d love to see the links. At this point though, I’m starting to get the impression that domestic anti-nuclear demonstrations are being underreported in Japan.

  73. MattAlt Says:

    One mainstream magazine running a sensationalist headline and then apologizing for it does not a scandal make.

    Look, nobody is insinuating the Japanese press is always right and the foreign press is always wrong. Yokota and Yamada certainly didn’t and neither from what I can tell has anyone here. Everyone agrees that there was a difference in tone between domestic and foreign reporting in the immediate wake of the nuclear accident. The real debate comes down to whether you believe that foreign coverage had its finger on the pulse of a situation the Japanese were trying to downplay, or were merely sensationalizing a situation they only barely understood for drama’s sake.

    However you personally feel, the question of foreign media’s impact on the situation isn’t going away. In fact, this very topic popped up in today’s issue of the Nikkei Shimbun, which carried an interview with a woman named Yuri Okina. She runs a Japanese thinktank called National Institute for Research Advancement, and cited the linguistic gap as the direct cause of foreign (mis) perceptions that Japan was hiding something. I translated an excerpt here:

    http://altjapan.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/04/communication-breakdown.html

  74. Aceface13 Says:

    “When I searched and sifted through the sites a few hours ago I didn’t find the Nihon TV, Nikkei, or Mainichi reports or videos you mentioned. Could you give us links to some of these? I’m sure everyone here would appreciate it. ”

    Ask and you shall recive.Here’s Nihon TV report for you,Fuseji.

    http://news24.jp/articles/2011/04/10/07180563.html

    “高円寺 and デモ and 反原発 and any other useful keyword I could think of into the Japanese newspaper sites M-Bone suggested. Google gave me a Kyodo report, a handful of blogs with photos, and activist websites (like labornet). The other newspapers gave me nothing. That was about 6 hours ago. If things have changed now, I’d love to see the links. At this point though, I’m starting to get the impression that domestic anti-nuclear demonstrations are being underreported in Japan.”

    You are free to think what you like.But
    have this idea ever occur to you that there could be MORE THAN ONE anti-nuclear demonstration in town and that attracted other reporters? because they are more important or well publicized to media in advance?
    Try google with”浜岡、デモ”.
    You have Asahi,Nikkei,Mainichi,Sankei,and Tokyo Shimbun reporters covering the topic.

    How could you possibly rant about questionable or controversial post-earthquake news reports without even knowing how to find what you are looking for by using basic search engine,Fuseji?

  75. Mulboyne Says:

    Matt, thanks again for taking the time to translate Yuri Okina’s piece and bringing it into the discussion.

    On a sidenote, since it’s been mentioned a couple of times above, if anyone should be given credit for trying to highlight the role of day labourers in Japan’s nuclear industry then it’s Kenji Higuchi (樋口健二) who did so as long ago as 1987. Mainstream media outlets in Japan weren’t interested at the time but, in 1995, a friend of mine made “Nuclear Ginza”, a documentary for Britain’s Channel 4 which featured his work. You can find it on the web.

    It’s good that media sources in both Japan and the West have now given this story a higher priority but something of an indictment of both that they ignored it for so long.

  76. Billy Gonzoid Says:

    a view on Japan’s media re. Tepco

    http://www.japansubculture.com/2011/04/why-japans-mainstream-media-cant-be-trusted-to-report-objectively-on-tepco-%E6%9D%B1%E4%BA%AC%E9%9B%BB%E5%8A%9B%EF%BC%89/

  77. M-Bone Says:

    Fuseji – what Aceface said, 浜岡 was important. I also recommend 集会 and 脱原発 as search terms. Subscribing to newspaper content wouldn’t hurt either. There is also a bit of an “old news” side to this as well because Japanese outlets have been reporting on demonstrations for weeks now and that reporting has helped to build momentum for this weekend.

  78. M-Bone Says:

    “It’s good that media sources in both Japan and the West have now given this story a higher priority but something of an indictment of both that they ignored it for so long.”

    I’ve been very surprised to discover that this practice is also widespread in the United States nuclear industry. The Department of Energy frames it as “There is a strong national trend [in the nuclear industry] … for employers of all sizes to rely on contract labor, temporary hires, or “labor-ready” workers (e.g., day laborers) for tasks that have traditionally been performed by direct hires.” Poor safety provisions, training, workers maxing their yearly exposure at one plant in a few weeks and moving on to another, etc.

    In Japan, this has been highlighted since at least the late 1970s when there was an expose. Some details here –

    http://timshorrock.com/?p=1254

  79. Aceface Says:

    Billy Gonzoid

    I don’t know how much you can read Japanese.

    Adelstein linked the article claiming ”Washington Post was the first to criticize TEPCO’S missing CEO. Here’s why Japan’s media was 2nd”.

    First of all,TEPCO’s public relation officer announced Shimizu being hospitalized to the press both foreign and domestic.
    WaPO article Adelstein mentioned was written by Andrew Higgins, Monday, March 28, 10:20 PM ET.That’s 14 hours behind Japanese time.Meaning Japan is 14:20 PM in the afternoon.Ofcourse WaPO will be the tell the news because they have online news.J-press would only put the content on the web AFTER the evening paper.So WaPO being the lead to tell the news is purely because of time zone and being online.But then,this may not even true,because TV news could have been reporting this.I have to check whether NHK had reported this instantly after the TEPCO press conf.I have to say Adelstein is spinning some info here.

    One of the journalist who was member of the tour to China was Motoki Masahiko,the former editor in chief of Ohmynews Japan(now gone)and ex-editor in chief of Weekly Gendai,a hardcore anti-nuclear fear0-monger Shukanshi.

    He has been harsh on Fukushima since the day of disaster,and when this “paid trip to China partially funded by TEPCO”being exposed by Shukan Bunshun,Motoki wrote what he thinks had happened over web magazine J-Cast.
    http://www.j-cast.com/tv/2011/03/24091244.html?p=3

    “この訪中団の正式名は「愛華訪中団」といって、『自由』という雑誌を出していた石原萠記さんの呼びかけで始まり、すでに10回になる。趣旨は日中の人間が忌憚なく話し合うことで友好を深めようというもので、私もその趣旨に賛同して、時間の都合がつけば参加している。
    石原さんと東電との関係は木川田一隆元社長時代からだそうで、歴代社長とも親しいため、この会の団長の多くは東電の社長や会長がなっているのは事実である。わずかだが負担金はある。中国政府側の招待だと聞いていたが”

    And as I see the list of the participants,what Motoki says seems to be accurate.Participants are all conservatives who are indeed possess strong interest in Sino-Japanese relation,but I don’t think they have much influence in actualy editorial policy of MSM for the number of media people are so few and most of them are retired.

    第1回訪中団<01年3月18~24日>
    訪問地=北京、杭州、上海
    団長
    江田五月(参議院議員・元科技庁長官)
    副団長
    日野市朗(衆議院議員・元郵政相)、山本勝(東京電力副社長)
    団員
    星野利一(大成建設常務)、大橋博(教育財団理事長)、元木昌彦(週刊現代元編集長)、野口敞也(連合総研専務)、石原圭子(東海大学助教授)、藤井弘(日本対外文化協会常務)、江田洋一(江田事務所代表)
    顧問
    石原萠記(日本文化フォーラム専務、(社)日本出版協会理事長、情報化社会を考える会代表)
     
    張香山(21世紀日中賢人会議代表)、陳昊蘇(中国外交学会会長、陳毅氏長男)、沈祖倫(前逝江省々長)、王国平(杭州市常任書記)の各氏、国家自然科学基金、中国学会、政界人と交流。ほかに清華大学、上海交通大学、上海総工会の代表や阿南・駐中国大使と懇談。
     
    第2回訪中団<02年10月6~12日>
    訪問地=秦皇島、北京、杭州、上海
    団長
    大森義夫(NEC専務)
    副団長
    大橋博(教育財団理事長)
    片桐俊博(荏原製作所専務)
    団員
    田島克己(東京電力企画部長)、佐々木孝一(JR東日本施設部長)、松本豪郎(日立製作所電力統括部長)、元木昌彦(週刊現代元編集長)、有馬克彦(全国栄養士養成協会常務)、石原圭子(東海大学助教授)、藤井弘(日本対外文化協会専務)、江副行昭(ガラス工芸家)、江田稔(原産会議理事)、長岡正道(NEC中国担当)
    顧問
    江田五月(参議院議員)、石原萠記(日本出版協会理事長)、坂井隆憲(衆議院議員)、徐迪旻(亜州友好協会理事長)
     
    張香山(21世紀日中賢人会議代表)、成思危(全人代副委員長)、王毅(外務省次官・駐日大使)、楊振亜(元駐日大使・21世紀委、中国側首席)、陳宝鑒(前ビルマ大使・中国人民外交学会副会長)、王国平(杭州市常任書記)、王建忠(秦皇島市書記)、菅瑞亭(秦皇島市長)。上海・市政府関係者ほかと交流。
     
    第3回訪中団<03年11月2~8日>
    訪問地=呉江、北京、上海、杭州
    団長
    大森義夫(NEC専務)
    副団長
    水谷克己(東京電力常務)
    森本正(中部電力常務)
    団員
    生駒昌夫(関西電力支配人)、長岡正道(NEC中国担当)、石原圭子(東海大学助教授)、野口敞也(連合総研専務)、元木昌彦(週刊現代元編集長)、花田紀凱(週刊文春元編集長)、赤塚一(週刊新潮元編集次長)、有馬克彦(全国栄養士養成協会常務)、高橋透(ラストリゾート代表)
    顧問
    石原萠記(日本出版協会理事長)、徐迪旻(亜州友好協会理事長)
     
    張香山(21世紀日中賢人会議代表)、呉江市長、趙凱(文匯新報グループ社長)、黄誠毅(国家電力代表)、江綿康(上海市プランナー・江沢民氏次男)、王国平(杭州市常任書記)ほか。趙凱(上海文江新報集団社長)。精華大科技センターで討議。
     
    第4回訪中団<04年8月13~20日>
    訪問地=瀋陽、北京、上海、杭州
    団長
    勝俣恒久(東京電力社長・日本経団連副会長)
    副団長
    水谷克己(東京電力常務)
    越智洋(中部電力常務)
    団員
    濱田康男(関西電力取締役)、田中豊蔵(財務省財政制度等審議会委員・元朝日新聞論説主幹)、大林主一(中日新聞常務)、石原圭子(東海大学助教授・お茶の水大学講師)、元木昌彦(講談社社長室付・週刊現代元編集長)、花田紀凱(宣伝会議常務・週刊文春元編集長)、大河原正太郎(勝俣社長秘書)、江田洋一(江田議員秘書)
    事務局長・有馬克彦(全国栄養士養成施設協会常務理事・自由社取締役)
    顧問
    江田五月(参議院議員・民主党副代表・参議院議員会長・元科学技術庁長官)
    石原萠記(日本出版協会理事長・日本対外文化協会副会長)
    徐迪旻(NPO法人亜州(アジア)友好協会理事長・「愛華」編集長)
     
    何魯麗(全人代副委員長)、李道豫(元駐米大使・国際公共協会々長)、沈国放(外交部副部長)、王国平(杭州市常任書記>、国家電力公司総裁、藩陽市長、上海テレビ局。在日中国人留学生との会合。資生堂工場、同済大幹部と交流。
     
    第5回訪中団<05年8月28~9月3日>
    訪問地=深圳、広州、杭州、上海
    団長
    荒木浩(東京電力顧問・元社長)
    副団長
    大林主一(東京・中日新聞・相談役)
    団員
    和田馨(関西電力・秘書室長)、高木洋隆(中部電力・工務部長)、増田祐治(東京電力・総務部長代理)、恒川昌久(“信毎”東京支社長)、石原圭子(東海大学助教授)、秋山実(ラストリゾート常任監査)、花田紀凱(元・週刊文春編集長)、福住一彦(創志グループ部長)、神尾正充(「連合」組織拡大センター次長)、大嶋敬史(東京電力秘書部副長)、藤井弘(情報化社会を考える会・事務長)
    顧問
    石原萠記(代表・日本出版協会理事長、日本対文協副会長)、徐迪旻(NPO法人亜州友好協会理事長)
     
    陳文江(深圳市人民政府副秘書長)、蕭錦哲(広東省人民政府外事弁公室局長)、夏林泉(大亜湾核電送・副総経理)、肖耀堂(広東省公共関係協会会長)、徐尚武(広東省人民政府秘書長)、夏林楽(広東原子力発電所)、田蕪軍(粤電集団・党委書記)、王国平(杭州市委書記・浙江省委常委)、單人(杭州市電力局長)、薛沛建(上海メディア・グループ総裁)、陳梁(東方衛視総編輯兼総経理)ほか。中山記念堂、西冷印社など見学。
     
    第6回訪中団<06年8月28~9月3日>
    訪問地=西安、紹興、杭州、上海
    団長
    荒木浩(東京電力顧問・元社長)
    副団長
    笹森清(“連合”前会長)
    団員
    坂上要一(関西電力・監査役室長)、岩堀剛士(中部電力・秘書部長)、増田祐治(東京電力・総務部長代理)、大林主一(東京・中日相談役)、田中豊蔵(元・朝日論説主幹)、石原圭子(東海大学助教授)、元木昌彦(元・「週刊現代」編集長)、花田紀凱(元・「週刊文春」編集長)、有馬克彦(全国栄養士養成施設協会・常任理事)、佐藤淳(東京電力秘書部副長)、藤井弘(情報化社会を考える会・事務長)
    顧問
    石原萠記(日本出版協会理事長、考える会代表)、 徐迪旻(NPO法人・亜州友好協会理事長)
     
    王成文(西安市人民政府副書記)、王忠徳(西安市長)、成麗娟(西安人民対外友好協会会長)、陳洪涛(西安開発区管理委副主任)、池芳(開発委副局長)、王国平(杭州常任書記)、金勝山(杭州副市長)、薛沛建(上海メディア・グループ総裁)ほか。西安の華清池、兵馬俑、大雁塔、乾陵、ハイテク開発区など見学。
     
    第7回訪中団<07年8月13~18日>
    訪問地=南京、姜堰、無錫、蘇州、上海
    団長
    笹森清(労働者福祉中央協議会会長。“連合”前会長)
    団員
    半谷栄寿(東京電力・事業開発部長)、竹田芳弘(関西電力・購買部長)、西村文宏(中部電力・用地部長)、田中豊蔵(元・朝日論説主幹)、加藤順一(元・毎日中部本社編集局長)、淡川邦良(北海道テレビ・常務)、野口敞也(前連合総研専務)、元木昌彦(元「週刊現代」編集長)、赤塚一(元・「週刊新潮」編集次長)、鈴木隆一(ワック・マガジン社長)、石原圭子(東海大学准教授)、大橋英夫(創志学園グループ・専務)、永川祐三(AVプロジェクト社長)、藤井弘(情報化社会を考える会・事務長)
    顧問
    石原萠記(代表・日本出版協会理事長)、徐迪旻(NPO法人・亜州友好協会理事長)
     
    叶晧(南京市委・常務委員・宣伝部長)、孫文学(南京人民対外友好協会副会長)、南京電力局幹部と意見交換(三電力団員)。王嵬(市政府宣伝部副部長)、呉静(南京人民政府新聞弁公室処長)、高紀明(泰州市常務委員)、徐志良(姜堰市副市長)、王仁政(姜堰市市長)、繆鴻(経済開発区管理委主任)、沈亮(蘇州国家高新区管理委副局長)、王平(蘇州高新区日本事務所長)、王葛先(蘇州高新区管理委副主任)、薛沛建(上海メディア・グループ総裁)ほか。霊山(禅寺)、寒山寺、南京中山陵などを見学

  80. Fuseji Says:

    Matt: “One mainstream magazine running a sensationalist headline and then apologizing for it does not a scandal make.”

    Given the strong response that issue stirred up in Tokyo, I’d have to disagree. And I doubt you’d stand by that statement if it were a mainstream English language publication instead. I’m a little disappointed, although not really surprised, that you’re not willing to address the Aera issue here.

    “Look, nobody is insinuating the Japanese press is always right and the foreign press is always wrong.”

    The end of the paragraph dissolves into exaggeration again, but this first sentence at least is a step in the right direction.

    “However you personally feel, the question of foreign media’s impact on the situation isn’t going away.”

    I tend to agree. The Japanese media needs to restore public confidence right now. The more they report about faulty English language articles nobody in Japan read, perhaps the less people will worry about the irresponsible Japanese language articles everyone did read.

    Aceface:
    Thanks for the one link you added. A 28 second video with a report that’s almost the length of two Tweets. Did you notice the date and time of publication?

    “You are free to think what you like.”

    Sure, I’ll think what I like, but it’s hard to argue with facts. What I’d really like to think is that you and the other posters who keep talking about links and reports that I haven’t seen are being completely honest.

    I do see MSN, Sankei, Chunichi, NHK, Asahi, reports in about a dozen results for Hamaoka and demo. Most of those are actually about the Hamaoka demonstration, and it appears all of them were published after I did my searching yesterday. At least we’ve proven that Japanese news outlets aren’t afraid (obviously! I would hope) to put _some_ of their reporting about anti-nuke demonstrations online.

    “But have this idea ever occur to you that there could be MORE THAN ONE anti-nuclear demonstration in town and that attracted other reporters?”

    Yes, although with Shizuoka and Tokyo you’re talking about two different towns. So why do you think there would be a handful of brief reports on a demonstration in Shizuoka that involved roughly 2,500 people, according to these reports, but almost nothing about a demonstration in downtown Tokyo that involved 15,000 people? When I search for Koenji demo now—still the same as the search terms you suggested—Google news gives me four results. One is the Kyodo article I linked to, and one is the NTV/NNN article you linked to. In other words, almost nothing from the major news sources.

    Where are the other articles you referred to? Instead of wasting your time complaining about my internet skills, why don’t you just prove me wrong instead. That would save us both time. I still hope to find that I’ve missed something, or a whole lot of things—that’s why I’ve been asking for articles. Please, show us the links!

  81. Aceface Says:

    “A 28 second video with a report that’s almost the length of two Tweets. ”

    We were talking about very specific representation of anti-nuclear related article on Japanese media,notably demonstration in Koenji.Right?I don’t think the quantity of Koenji demo article won’t solely represent the attention media pays on subject.If you want find any criticism on TEPCO or nuclear power plant in Japanese media,you don’t find so much problem these days.

    “Did you notice the date and time of publication?”

    It’s been uploaded yesterday afternoon.Any problem?

    ”Yes, although with Shizuoka and Tokyo you’re talking about two different townsSo why do you think there would be a handful of brief reports on a demonstration in Shizuoka that involved roughly 2,500 people, according to these reports, but almost nothing about a demonstration in downtown Tokyo that involved 15,000 people?”

    Fuseji,you don’t seems to be doing your homework.The rally was ABOUT shutting down Hamaoka reactor which is in Shizuoka,but the rally itself took place in Tokyo organized by anti-nuclear civic group.And the one in Koenji was organized by some recycle shop owner not partculalry political and it’s slogan was slightly vague.

    “Where are the other articles you referred to? Instead of wasting your time complaining about my internet skills, why don’t you just prove me wrong instead.”

    Nikkei:
    http://s.nikkei.com/ezVgFQ

    Mainichi:
    http://bit.ly/gd5YvW

    Sankei:
    http://bit.ly/gKX8vG

    NHK:
    http://bit.ly/h3zDrY

    Chunichi:
    http://bit.ly/hJJRsd

    Tokyo Shimbun’s link seems dead,

  82. Aceface Says:

    “although not really surprised, that you’re not willing to address the Aera issue here.”

    I think you are acting waaaay too smart assly for someone who don’t even know how to use search engine,but even AERA issue can be used as counter narrative to the dominant western media coverage that “J-media is full of feel-good article and undermine the ratiation danger”.

  83. M-Bone Says:

    “Yes, although with Shizuoka and Tokyo you’re talking about two different towns. So why do you think there would be a handful of brief reports on a demonstration in Shizuoka that involved roughly 2,500 people”

    Are you actually reading those reports? The anti-Hamaoka Power Plant demonstration was IN TOKYO. Why are you arguing at length about stuff that you aren’t reading?

    Why this one was more reported beats me, but Aceface’s assertion that they may have had better press releases / contacts / organization seems solid.

  84. Fuseji Says:

    M-Bone:
    You’re right, 2500 people right there in Shiba Koen. Sorry, I was half asleep when I wrote that. Thanks for the correction.

    Maybe it was organized by a more legit group than the Koenji protest was. But still, very odd that the other would get almost no attention. I’m sure the newspapers would have seen the same info about the protest that I did.

    I am still waiting for the specific articles you and Aceface mentioned, though.

    It looks like Aceface would rather send puerile insults than evidence, so I’m just going to assume he/she is making that part of it up. Happy trails.

    Are there any comments on how deceptive the newest round of NYT, BBC, and Guardian articles are?

  85. M-Bone Says:

    “I do see MSN, Sankei, Chunichi, NHK, Asahi, reports in about a dozen results for Hamaoka and demo.”

    Isn’t this good enough? I already lost one post in the spam filter.

  86. Mulboyne Says:

    I think it’s fair now to question how inflammatory the words “Chernobyl-level disaster” (チェルノブイリ級) can be following the official decision to raise the evaluation level of Fukushima to match Chernobyl.

  87. M-Bone Says:

    On one level, it is “Chernobyl-level” – a similar amount of radiation has been released and “Nature”, the leading science publication, has just reported that they expect the difficulty of cleanup and lasting contamination of wildlife, mushrooms, etc. to be more like Chernobyl than Three Mile Island.

    On another level, however, the “disaster scale” does’t measure what actually happened at Chernobyl – irradiated graphite blown thousands of feet into the air and poor people rounded up and forced to shovel stuff back into a naked reactor. On this level, scientists say that the Fukushima accident is “nothing like Chernobyl”.

  88. Mulboyne Says:

    I think it’s evident, though, that this particular part of the Newsweek argument is weakened by today’s announcement.

    Just 24 hours ago, it was still possible to accuse someone of risking an exaggerated comparison if they even mentioned Chernobyl. After all, Fukushima was officially a 5 (albeit with a seemingly strong chance of going up to 6) and not in the same ballpark at all. Now it is.

    Going from calling a comparison to Chernobyl “inflammatory” (あおられたこと) to something like “unclear” seems a rather large backward step.

  89. tomojiro Says:

    Come on Mulboyne. The type of accident is very different. Reactors of Chernobyl literally exploded. Fukushima not. People outside were scared because foreign media initially reported as if there were a big meltdown occurring like in Chernobyl.
    The scaling up of the Fukushima incident is likely because of the difficulty of cleaning up and the large area affected by low level radiation, but not because of a large explosion and high level radiation beyond the nuclear plant, as initially the media hype suggested. Two different things.

  90. MattAlt Says:

    “Are there any comments on how deceptive the newest round of NYT, BBC, and Guardian articles are?”

    I suspect this is one of the big reasons we seem to keep talking past each other. As has been repeatedly explained, neither the original article nor this conversation have ever been an indictment of the western media as a whole. It is a discussion of how they gathered their information and framed their reporting in the immediate aftermath of the quakes.

    In fact, the Japanese government and TEPCO’s inability to provide better English support to foreign mass media came up again last night, on Beat Takeshi’s “TV Tackle” roundtable show. This topic isn’t going away anytime soon.

    “I think it’s evident, though, that this particular part of the Newsweek argument is weakened by today’s announcement.”

    Does it? I’m honestly not sure. First of all, as far as I can tell the move to Level 7 is still only a proposal at this point. (Please point me to a link if I’m wrong and this has since been made official.)

    But the point remains that it WAS officially at 5 for the duration of the immediate post-accident period. This is an incredibly dynamic sort of situation. For one thing, using the most recent analysis to support immediate post-accident claims that this was “another Chernobyl” feels a little too close to schadenfreude to me. But my biggest issue with “Chernobyl” is that it’s an incredibly loaded word. It implies explosions and government cover-ups, and using it obscures key differences between the disasters; even the IAEA who is proposing the level shift says that it refers mainly to cleanup, and that total impact will be less than that of Chernobyl.

    (All of this hair-splitting is cold comfort to those suffering the immediate effects of the reactor situation, though…)

  91. M-Bone Says:

    Part of the problem here is really in headline practices. In the last 20 minutes we have Reuters with “Fire at Japan’s Crippled Nuclear Plant” and AP with “Small Fire Put Out at Japan’s Damaged Nuclear Plant”. Common UK and American headline practices put everyone off on the wrong foot.

  92. Fuseji Says:

    M-Bone: “Isn’t this good enough? I already lost one post in the spam filter.”

    I was looking for information about the Koenji protest. The reports on other protests are helpful and very interesting as well, but they were brought up in lieu of reports on Koenji. I’m looking for professional news reports (more than the two small ones I already found) on the protest in Koenji that reportedly involved 15,000 people.

    One final comment to Aceface about message #81 (April 12, 2011 at 12:13 am). Let me preface it by saying that I did not see Aceface’s message #81, the one with the links, until hours after #80, #82, #83, and #84 were approved. That’s why I responded to M-Bone’s correction of the error I made, and only mentioned Aceface’s escalating insults (and not the links) when I submitted what is now message #84. These and other messages in the thread have been approved out of order.

    The messages that are currently #78 and #79 were posted out of order as well. Hours ago, my message that began with a response to Matt’s comment about “One mainstream magazine…” was #78, right after M-Bone’s #77 with the search term suggestions.

    In messages #81 and #82, Aceface quoted and responded to my message #80 (which was previously message #78; April 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm). It is clear s/he looked at it before posting the links in #81.

    It’s obvious though that s/he didn’t look at it very closely. Aceface, I’ve repeatedly made it clear that I’ve been asking for reports on the Koenji demo, not more reports on the Hamaoka-related demonstrations. We both know you already noted these sources for reports on the Hamaoka demonstrations, and I already confirmed that I searched and found “MSN, Sankei, Chunichi, NHK, Asahi, reports in about a dozen results for Hamaoka and demo” in message #80 (again, the message you quoted and responded to).

    None of the five links you sent in message #81 mention Koenji. The links you provide in message #81 are not the ones you said you found about the Koenji protest in message #71 when you dishonestly claimed, “Google “高円寺、デモ”and you’ll get Jiji,Nihon TV and NHK.”

    This is very immature, disruptive performance from someone who resorts to insults and claims that other posters don’t have basic internet skills. I didn’t join this conversation to argue with trolls. I hope you won’t mind when I skip your contributions to the rest of the discussion.

    Sorry for the digression, and apologies in advance if the numbers get mixed up again after I post this message. It’s difficult to keep track of the discussion when posts are getting shuffled around like this. It’s a good thing I’ve been saving screen captures! For the record, there are 91 messages now and I haven’t read anything after Mulboyne’s message #86 yet.

    Mulboyne: “I think it’s fair now to question how inflammatory the words “Chernobyl-level disaster” (チェルノブイリ級) can be following [. . .]“

    We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, but at this point I agree. I think this is one of the issues people “on the ground” will have to ask questions about in the upcoming weeks and months, along with the potential for increasing criticism of foreign media reports, as Matt pointed out.

    Incidentally, I found some Japanese blogs (not affiliated with pro news sources, as far as I can tell) that discuss the merits and demerits of foreign reporting on Fukushima and the earthquake. Here are two of them. I have not read them completely yet, but they might be of interest.

    福島原発で、よく海外のニュースを見た方がいいとありますが
    http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1358542703

    海外メディアの伝える”真実”の福島原発報道 ~真相は上から2番目の「レベル6」相当~
    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/tarutaru22/e/dc1c1448111541b9e07045762298e84d

  93. Fuseji Says:

    My last message was posted as #92.

    Matt:
    “As has been repeatedly explained, neither the original article nor this conversation have ever been an indictment of the western media as a whole. It is a discussion of how they gathered their information and framed their reporting in the immediate aftermath of the quakes.”

    If you mean that, then you need to tailor your presentation of the issue more carefully. In your introduction and comments, you frame the Newsweek article’s “scathing critique” as one example of a larger criticism of “overseas mass media,” “English-language news,” “behavior of the Western mass media,” “foreign media outlets’ treatment of the disasters.” You do not qualify or specify those in any way. It’s not clear what you mean by English-language news or Western media, or how much of it counts as being in the immediate aftermath.

    You mention the “claims” of Uesugi—without dealing with his opinions at all in your translation—and mock the intentions of those who disagree by saying they’re playing “devils’ advocate.” You imply that the Newsweek article shows what the “Japanese” think, and the only reason they haven’t addressed this issue on a larger scale is that they’ve “had their hands full dealing with the unfolding crises.” This all shows a strong bias.

    Matt:
    “It is a discussion of how they gathered their information and framed their reporting in the immediate aftermath of the quakes.”

    Your presentation of the article is a simplification of that discourse, and an endorsement of the most general conditions of its critique–that Western media (if such a thing even exists as a coherent or unified entity or organization) has been bad, and Japanese media (ditto for this stereotype) is better. In your own words, “many foreign residents (including myself and other members of this web journal) have accused the overseas mass media of panicking locals by overplaying the nuclear situation in comparison to more measured domestic coverage.”

    Matt:
    “In fact, the Japanese government and TEPCO’s inability to provide better English support to foreign mass media came up again last night, on Beat Takeshi’s “TV Tackle” roundtable show. “

    Is that like the Okina piece you summarized? It seems like the strategy is now transforming into a sort of passive-aggressive apology: “Oh we’re sorry, foreigners, that you aren’t capable of understanding our language. We should have spelled it out for you.” That sounds like a thinly veiled insult, and yet another attempt by the Japanese mass media to deflect growing criticism of the Japanese mass media. Leave it to Takeshi to exploit these kinds of stereotypes for his ratings.

    Matt:
    “But the point remains that it WAS officially at 5 for the duration of the immediate post-accident period.”

    The Asahi disagrees with you. Today’s article about the possible upgrade to level 7 says that the incident was provisionally rated by NISA as a 4 until it was upgraded to level 5 on the 18th of March.
    http://www.asahi.com/special/10005/TKY201104120085.html

    One of those unreliable Western news sources quoted an expert 4 days before that upgrade (in the immediate aftermath, on the 14th), already suggesting it should be upgraded from a 4 to a 5 or 6.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/world-asia-pacific-12733393

    14 March 11 17:44 ET
    “But the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) cast doubt on Japan’s classification of the crisis at Fukushima as level 4 of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Chernobyl was classified as level 7.
    ’Level four is a serious level,’ ASN chief Andre-Claude Lacoste said, but added: ‘We feel that we are at least at level five or even at level six.’”

  94. Mulboyne Says:

    I think I understand the basis for Fukushima being upgraded. I’m making no argument about escalation or revised worst case scenarios. I’m only speaking about one particular comment in the Newsweek article Matt translated.

    My main complaint was that the piece lacks as much nuance as the media reports it seeks to criticize and I think the point is illustrated well in this instance. It regards any mention of “Chernobyl-like” by the media as out of order because the authors think it risks giving the impression of Chernobyl-like repercussions, regardless of how the report actually treated the comparison.

    It now transpires that “Chernobyl-like” is a very appropriate starting point for an understanding of Fukushima and those who suggested at the outset that the severity of the problems might put it on the same rating have been proved correct.

    I can’t understand the thinking which says Chernobyl should have been banned from the conversation while the official rating remained at 5. Surely we needed to be looking forward to what scale of incident we might face. We had a version of this when people (Daniel Kahl was one) said Fukushima was “nothing like 3 Mile Island” because it was still rated 4. Then of course it was raised to 5 and suddenly it was very much like 3 Mile Island.

    A few days after the earthquake, just as Fukushima became a problem, I listened to a number of experts, including Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, on a British Embassy conference call.

    We were all assured that Fukushima was as serious a failure as Chernobyl but would not end as badly and would not be a health problem for Tokyo residents. I found what was said very credible – it helped that it coincided with what I wanted to hear – and I reposted someone else’s summary of the meeting on a few blogs.

    Quite early on, then, I was made aware of the difference in mechanics between the two events which was enough to convince me I was in no danger from what was happening in Fukushima. The information I got then formed the framework for how I continue to see things so the elevated assessment announced today hasn’t changed my view of what’s happening.

    There were others who listened in to that embassy call who weren’t reassured. The word “radioactivity” had a mesmerising effect which seemed to switch off rational thought and produced a visceral response. I think the same might apply to some extent to “Chernobyl” and even a benign term like “radiation”. Matt touches on this when he talks about Chernobyl being “a loaded word”.

    However, it’s also the right word. We’d be in an intellectually more honest place if we had immediately accepted the comparisons with Chernobyl and set about explaining why the repercussions were different. Instead we’re caught saying “It’s not like Chernobyl at all,” followed by “Well, all right, it is. But not in a bad way.” I know which I prefer and that’s why Newsweek’s blanket condemnation was wrong and unhelpful.

  95. MattAlt Says:

    @Fuseji: The term devil’s advocate is “mocking”? Self-criticism of one’s inability to communicate internationally is “passive-aggressive,” “exploitative,” and “a thinly veiled insult”? I appreciate your sharing your viewpoints. I’m afraid we’re just going to have to agree to disagree here.

    @Mulboyne: I get where you’re coming from about tone, but I think you’re reading too much into a single line from an article written several weeks ago, before the threat level was officially raised. The point of translating this wasn’t to prove Yokota and Yamada were necessarily “right,” but rather to add a Japanese opinion to the critique of foreign media coverage in the wake of the disaster.

  96. Fuseji Says:

    Matt:
    “I’m afraid we’re just going to have to agree to disagree here.”

    I can’t tell if you’re honestly surprised that I called you out, or if you’re just dodging to avoid responding to the criticisms of your article. The reasoning behind this anti-gaijin journalism fad is flawed to begin with. Even if you’re not willing to give that up yet, the least you could do is stand by what you wrote.

    I’m sure you knew what you meant when you said reporters who disagreed were playing devil’s advocate. And in the interests of reading comprehension, please note that I didn’t say the idea of using or improving English translation in Japanese agencies was exploitative. It’s interesting that you chose to call it “self-criticism.” I think Tepco and the Japanese government have much more important reasons to self-criticize right now.

    “The point of translating this wasn’t to prove Yokota and Yamada were necessarily “right,” but rather to add a Japanese opinion to the critique of foreign media coverage in the wake of the disaster.”

    You could have added many opinions and many different voices to this presumed debate. You chose one very biased opinion, one that sets Japan vs. the world in an imaginary binary opposition, one that does not clearly reflect popular feelings (or even common knowledge of foreign news) “on the ground,” and one that selectively criticizes a small handful of reports. You introduced that opinion as representative of one side of a larger debate—the side you chose—and framed it in your own colorful language without questioning or critiquing it in any way.

    Here is one possible alternative opinion from Japan, from someone who, in light of the level 7 upgrade, is pissed off about earlier 2ch and Twitter reactions to Aera’s “Radioactivity is coming!” issue.
    http://eastjapan.sblo.jp/article/44254257.html

  97. Aceface Says:

    “I didn’t join this conversation to argue with trolls”

    Sorry,Fuseji.I just love watching gaijins losing emotionally out of control and run amok.One of a few entertaining side of otherwise rather depressing crisis.

    “#81 mention Koenji. The links you provide in message #81 are not the ones you said you found about the Koenji protest in message #71 when you dishonestly claimed, “Google “高円寺、デモ”and you’ll get Jiji,Nihon TV and NHK.”

    My bad.News47 wasn’t Jiji,but it was Kyodo.And NHK’s demo coverage(organized by eight civic groups)DID NOT including Koenji crowd.So yeah,I have to apologize and you have my acknowledgement that you can use google just like other 6billions.
    But still,if you have largest news wire and most viewed private broadcaster covering the demo,what more can you expect?

    “It’s obvious though that s/he didn’t look at it very closely. Aceface, I’ve repeatedly made it clear that I’ve been asking for reports on the Koenji demo, not more reports on the Hamaoka-related demonstrations”

    Actually,I don’t take troll that seriously.I love insulting them,though.And I’m also using excuse that English is my second language,and I’m having difficulty understanding them without Google translation.Anything bad in my posts,blame goes to Google.Anything good,it came from me,capish?

    But I did mention that there were more than one anit-nuclear demonstration in Tokyo and organized by eight civic groups and covered by other major news outlets that didn’t show up in Koenji.
    So your thesis that “domestic anti-nuclear demonstrations are being underreported in Japan” is a bit overstatement.

    The one in Koenji was organized by nobody and spread because of twitter.The number 15000 is coming from the dude who organized it.Not confirmed by media nor police.That doesn’t mean media missed the news,but there were rather many news to cover on that day,and the moment they found out the rally was big enough for the news,they didn’t have any reporters left to cover.
    Remember,it was election day and eve of a month anniversary since the quake.

    Re;Uesugi Takashi.Matt and I’ve been together and exchanging opinion over skype everyday for the past four weeks.I have opinion on Uesugi,and he has opinion on Uesugi and both are not so good.However,as you say it may require another post to say how bad he could have been in the last four weeks.And there are tons of evidences.

  98. M-Bone Says:

    Fuseji – it seems as though you have defended your Googling skills, but your claims about the Japanese media actually look worse.

    In those articles in my original post, I took 都心 or 都内 to be referring to the protest that you were interested in seeing reporting on. It turns out that there were TWO big protests in Tokyo this weekend. One was reported in virtually all the major news sources, the other was not.

    You originally insinuated that Japanese media was hesitant to report nuclear protests (All this demonstration stuff must be an English language media hoax) – not true. The better organized protest got all of the coverage and if you had been reading the press on anything other than a Koenji Google, you would have seen it.

    You presented Tabuchi’s report on Fukushima labor as a unique contribution in English – not true.

    So we’re still pretty much back to square one with this. You rail against Matt for translating a single piece. You could offer a contrast in the form of effective, balanced English reporting. You could offer a counter-example of inept or overly conservative Japanese reporting… but you simply haven’t.

    This piece that Matt has highlighted is far from the only critique of Euro-American reporting. You write “The reasoning behind this anti-gaijin journalism fad is flawed to begin with” but you make it sound like this is something that Matt and a few Japanese critics have invented. Hollywood Reporter’s TV critic gave it a devastating review. The journal ‘Science’ has deplored the state of science reporting over Fukushima in the press and published pieces supporting the Japanese evacuation radius and the lack of a threat to public health. A number of important Japan experts, people sensitive to things like binary opposition, have strongly critiqued reporting at workshops and presentations at the AAS in Hawaii. Is there anyone saying anything good about it?

    I know Matt has had to deal with the press in the last month. So have I. Not on scientific issues, but the line of questioning ended up going like ‘So tell us how bad it is going to be’, ‘Actually, I don’t think X is going to be so bad’, ‘You mean X is going to be bad, right?’ They ended up running a photo of a person with a mask on in Miyagi as a ‘radiation fear’ picture, refused to let me fact check a draft, etc.

    You still have no answer to the questions – where was the good foreign reporting? Or where was the bad Japanese?

    BBC claimed at one point that there were few buildings standing in Sendai while showing a picture of Minami Sanriku. AP headlined “millions without food” in the last week of March. Now both BBC and AP had good reportage as well. But did they present anything that went beyond what was being reported in Japan to make up for the often shocking lack of fact checking, language skills, or general knowledge?

    Right now the BBC is reporting the radiation level rise – which was being speculated about in the Japanese press three days ago. They have a piece which argues “So far the amounts of radioactive materials released from the site are very unlikely to cause any detectable long-term health problems” – what Japanese commentators have been stressing all along.

    The Newsweek piece and Matt are not claiming universally miserable reporting (note their props to the NYT), but has the Western press collectively really brought anything to the table that makes up for glaring and criticism-worthy problems? The single example that I can think of is stressing congressional testimony in the third week of March that the fuel pool at reactor 4 had gone dry in the NYT. This was a scoop, but later turned out to be incorrect (according to Science on April 1).

  99. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    I’m on the han-fuseiji side here, but to be fair to Tabuchi, the temporary workers article was pretty good for what it was and who it was sold to. It may have been based on domestic stories already prevalent in the Japanese media, but she did go for original sources even if they were hard to track down and she could have relied on much more on taking domestic reporting for granted. She even acknowledged the practice as something that might be an industry-wide, rather than Japan specific, issue, something which Japanese media sources probably never did. Aside from an expert talking about how the workers represented a “hidden world” of nuclear power, she also didn’t really spin the meme that this was something the Japanese media had ignored.

    Setting the bar a bit low? Perhaps, but it seems to me that the role of foreign correspondents is to report on issues that are not making it into the discourse of their target audience, and I think this story satisfies that criteria. Indeed, it totally rips to shreds the “valiant hero” theme about the Fukushima workers that gushes out of the breathless mouths of morning U.S. talk show hosts. Some of Tabuchi’s jointly authored stuff during this crisis has been a bit tiresome, but when she is given her own byline she can write some pretty good stories for her audience.

    That said, no stories of inherent worth to Japanese audiences has been “broken” by the foreign media. I think that is the litmus test here. And that is the test that Fuseji’s postings don’t stand up to.

  100. M-Bone Says:

    You will no doubt notice that I’ve said little about the US press on this – really only jumping in to ask for examples where the Japanese press was bad / worse. The Newsweek article has some good points, but others are a bit overplayed, I think. In this way, it selects evidence and blows things up a bit – exactly what we can point to as being wrong with the non-Japanese quake and Fukushima reporting. These are, after all, examples of information being turned into a product.

    “to be fair to Tabuchi, the temporary workers article was pretty good for what it was and who it was sold to.”

    I agree – very good piece. It just can’t, be used as an example of either leading originality or going beyond the Japanese press.

    “that gushes out of the breathless mouths of morning U.S. talk show hosts”

    That’s one of the problems that I see in non-Japanese reportage on Fukushima generally – counterpointing. Tabuchi’s piece did it well, but today, there are reports from BBC, AP, Reuters, WaPo, and the Guardian that contain arguments that Japanese leaders may have ERRED IN RAISING the disaster level. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t as the press is consistently looking to confront. It is just very ironic that some of the same outfits that were criticizing Japanese leaders for taking it lightly are now criticizing them for going overboard after raising the level.

    This type of counterpoint is good – to a point (although one has to wonder if they would be as anxious on domestic issues where they actually have to deal with the people they describe regularly – why didn’t the appalling civilian murder deer hunter pose “Kill Team” photos become Obama’s Abu Ghraib? Because most NYT editors vote Democrat). If the radiation debate has revealed anything, however, it is that you can find someone to counterpoint anything (Chernobyl death toll estimates are seriously between 40 and 1.2 million people). You can provide a stream of expert opinion and still be utterly confusing. People in New York might have enjoyed their disaster watch with their coffee and morning paper – and a big knock on the coverage is that it tended toward describing what was happening at the plant in gory detail (a fire there, steam cloud here) without providing as much about the scientific opinion potential effects – is this going to impact people’s health? What about the appropriateness of the evacuation radius? These were reported as well, but I guess about a tenth as much as the “Let’s Look at What’s Blowing Up Today!” style.

    That’s the difference – non-Japanese news consumers could enjoy their disaster porn without actually having to worry about DOING anything. Even then, some people went ape shit (Iodine pills in Ireland? Seriously? Evacuating from Okinawa? North Korea is closer to Fukushima! I wonder if we will see a decline of American, Canadian, UK, Aussie trouists to Asian destinations near Japan?). The Japanese press actually has to continue living in the country long after the NYT has returned to Tabuchi’s solid regular pieces punctuated by light up dental grills and vending machine disguises disguised as news.

  101. Fuseji Says:

    M-Bone:
    “So we’re still pretty much back to square one with this.”

    If you only read parts of my messages and then ask irrelevant questions in response, you’ll probably stay there.

    People are trying to turn this into a debate about me! I’m flattered, but I don’t think it helps.

    I realize it’s hard to think in grey when talking about a blog article that is programmed in black and white, but I’ve never had any interest in playing the opposing team in the world Matt describes. Some people who disagree with my ideas want to funnel me into a position where my argument rests on whether I can produce bad Japanese articles or good English articles. That misses the point entirely. We’ve been through this. I clarified my reasons for participating in this thread several times since it began.

    “You could offer a counter-example of inept or overly conservative Japanese reporting… but you simply haven’t.”

    Why does it have to be inept or one way or the other to prove my point? I linked to several articles of varying quality that reflect a variety of opinions from different positions on the Fukushima disaster. Have you acknowledged those yet? Did you even look at them?

    As I said in my first few posts here (you can go check…in fact you should go check, as I’m getting tired of being told I wrote things I didn’t write), I realize that much of the reporting on this issue has been unreliable. That includes a lot of what fits in the vague category of “foreign reporting”–whether that means articles written in the English language, articles written in languages other than Japanese, articles published by newspapers with offices in other countries, articles by Japan-based journalists that have been printed in foreign publications, articles in Japanese by people without Japanese passports, or whatever (since nobody here has spent two seconds trying to decide what they mean by “foreign”!!). There have been good and bad articles on both side of this presumed journalistic divide. We can’t simply pretend that Japanese media is beyond critique.

    Back to your accusations:
    “You originally insinuated that Japanese media was hesitant to report nuclear protests”

    I might insinuate that at some point, but it’s an issue I’m still reviewing now.

    But originally? No, I asked for Japanese language reports on something I had only seen reported in English. I still haven’t found evidence that the larger protest–with 15,000 people, six times as big as the Shiba park one–was given serious attention in the Japanese media, despite unsupported claims from you and other posters that it was. I’m still looking! You claim you’ve seen those reports and you could have helped us out, but you’ve passed on chances to do so.

    “(All this demonstration stuff must be an English language media hoax)”

    This is called playing devil’s advocate. Ask Matt.

    “The better organized protest got all of the coverage and if you had been reading the press on anything other than a Koenji Google, you would have seen it.”

    That’s speculation. You assume the protest was better organized, despite the fact it attracted 1/6 as many participants as Koenji, because it was reported better? I don’t follow your logic there. Regardless, how could you have you missed the many times I said I did see reports on the Hamaoka protest? We talked about them. You even corrected something I wrote about them!

    “You presented Tabuchi’s report on Fukushima labor as a unique contribution in English — not true.”

    No I didn’t. I presented Tabuchi’s report as an example of Western reporting and, following the model we’re discussing here, which assumes that Western reporting is untrustworthy and Japanese reporting is somehow untouchable, tried to imagine how the anti-Western media “debate” would respond to it. And it’s not unique. I have found other articles in English that examine the labor problems at Fukushima in similar detail.

    Maybe it is news though? Nobody here has produced any Japanese reports that went to the same lengths. You said her article (or her something–was it an article?) about haken/freeters was all over the press (where exactly?). The NYT article is about much more than the fact that Tepco hired freeters or paid them a lot of money.

    “This piece that Matt has highlighted is far from the only critique of Euro-American reporting.”

    Obviously. But how upset are people in Japan that some people who (supposedly) don’t know Japanese well enough to understand press conferences made claims about Fukushima that were incorrect, or that differed from what the Japanese news said, or differed from what the Japanese news said for a few days? Matt keeps emphasizing that they are very upset–more and more concerned, in fact, with think tanks and people like Takeshi joining in to comment on the issue.

    (PS, I wonder if Matt would consider adopting the term Euro-American in his summary of this issue.)

    “A number of important Japan experts, people sensitive to things like binary opposition, have strongly critiqued reporting at workshops and presentations at the AAS in Hawaii.”

    We would have to take your word for it, but AAS folks aren’t necessarily any more objective than Neojaponisme bloggers.

    “Is there anyone saying anything good about it?”

    That’s another loaded question. Like I said, that sort of thinking is Matt’s game, not mine.

    People are saying many things about it, though.

    http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1258253812
    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/tarutaru22/e/dc1c1448111541b9e07045762298e84d
    http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1157797951
    http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1059030800
    http://logsoku.com/thread/hayabusa.2ch.net/livejupiter/1300107499/

    Here’s a Tweet from March 18 you might like: 「皆、海外のニュースを信用しましょう」

    Chrysanthemum:
    “That said, no stories of inherent worth to Japanese audiences has been “broken” by the foreign media. I think that is the litmus test here. And that is the test that Fuseji’s postings don’t stand up to.”

    That’s not the litmus test here. Regardless, some people in Japan do disagree with you. But as I’ve said, it’s more important to realize that audiences in Japan are paying much more attention to Japanese media than they are to foreign media. And sure, they’re pissed off about unreliable news. All unreliable news, not just all news produced by gaijin.

    And to repeat the point I’ve been making time and time again, people need to realize that . . .
    Ah, forget it. Just go back and read my posts again.

    Here’s another one of those dangerous English language articles, by the way:
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110412f2.html

  102. Fuseji Says:

    Another NYT article raises the stakes:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/world/asia/13japan.htm

  103. tomojiro Says:

    Fuseji, Please stop using “yahoo chiebukuro” to back up your point. The only thing you are proving with this links is that there a couple of morons on the net.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AklF1loJVAzaQOaiBMZZ0zEjzKIX;_ylv=3?qid=20070805075726AAFvRKr

  104. Fuseji Says:

    One Japanese response, among many, to the above NYT article:
    http://ameblo.jp/yonosuke27/entry-10860113960.html

  105. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    Fuseji: There are two implications behind your assertion about the nuclear demonstrations that weaken your argument. First, there were ample news services that did cover the demonstration, including Japan’s largest newswire service.

    http://www.47news.jp/news/2011/04/post_20110410212800.html
    http://www.47news.jp/CN/201104/CN2011041001000587.html
    http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/236370

    Second, (and here I will concede that the protest was not covered in many of the major outlets), in the context of a major national disaster when there is news streaming out of every pore of Tokyo and Northeast Japan, a protest by 15,000 people is not that big a deal. Forty and fifty thousand people protested on March 8 and 21, 2003 before the Iraq War, and 30,000 protested on the anniversary of the beginning of the war. The article 9 association holds protests and gatherings in Japan every year, attended by thousands, even in times when there is no overt push by the government to revise the constitution. Protest, despite the usual stereotypes about Japan as a buttoned-down place, is actually quite common, and therefore not particularly newsworthy. More newsworthy, perhaps, is the poll that showed that around 50 percent of Japanese still think that nuclear power is just fine. If there were a groundswell of support for a new anti-nuclear movement maybe you would have a point, but it simply doesn’t exist.

    “That’s not the litmus test here.”

    Actually, it is if one of your points is that “Some English language reporting has, in the long run, turned out to be more reliable than the Japanese reporting.” I would expect you to be able to produce at least “some” articles coming up with new or more reliable information not covered in Japanese, and explicitly pointing to pieces that were deliberately covered up.

    And that is your point, isn’t it? That some foreign media has been bad, and some has been good, and much the same with the Japanese media. Well, yes, I can find articles in the Western European, American and Australasian press which are pretty balanced, but they are few and far between, and none are original, breaking news if one takes the Japanese media as standard. Perhaps Lisa Katayama can write an article about how that guy’s pillow is faring during all of this.

    M-Bone: “I guess about a tenth as much as the “Let’s Look at What’s Blowing Up Today!” style.”

    I’d go along with that, although as you say there are exceptions. Chico Harlen’s article in the WaPo about why NHK outclassed everyone else, for example. Although even he chickened out:

    http://www.jappenings.com/2011/04/05/quicknote-on-media-disaster-coverage/

    Interestingly, I think this might be driven by the fact that the newspaper of record for the U.S. and its ugly little sister in the capital are both on the East Coast of the United States. I saw a bit more balanced reporting on the “dangers” coming from outlets like the LA Times, perhaps because some self-indulgent citizens of California thought that danger could be headed their way, and the responsible thing to do was to tell them it wasn’t. Disaster is only porn if you know it isn’t going to try and leap out of the TV and try to fuck you.

  106. Bobby Serious Says:

    As an aside:

    “I would honestly like to know what these respectable English language sources that trumped local-language ones are.”

    On March 21, the WSJ had an exclusive story on Tepco delaying using seawater to cool down the reactors as it wanted to protect its assets.

    http://tinyurl.com/4go7mhz

    This story was picked up Japanese media and one J-reporter questioned Edano about it at that evening’s press conference “WSJ ni yoru to…”

    A small example, but I think it shows that some foreign media are doing serious, investigative reporting here.

  107. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    Okay, one point foreign media. But it is not a point without complications:

    Where for example, did the WSJ get its story? A single line uttered by a former TEPCO employee is the only evidence that TEPCO was trying to cover its ass. It is not clear that he was involved in the decision, and actually noted that TEPCO’s behavior was reasonable given the risk. You do know that pumping seawater into a reactor is a terribly risky move, right? If I were a TEPCO executive, I would be thinking long and hard about a decision that might corrupt the containment vessel too. Not just because the assets are at risks but saltwater injection carries the risk of a containment breach down the line. By that stage the Japanese media had already reported on the fact that TEPCO had prevaricated about the saltwater until Kan told them to get their act together.

  108. Bobby Serious Says:

    Agreed – the story is not, errr, water-tight. Although the WSJ doesn’t have a bad reputation for sourcing.

    But anyway, the article–which did break new ground and left Japanese media playing catch up–stands as a counterexample of a foreign media outlet doing something their Japanese counterparts weren’t.

    The following WSJ & FT stories also show seriousness, balance and sensitivity on the economic and human aspects of the disaster:

    http://tinyurl.com/5tvc7ka
    http://tinyurl.com/42w3ebg
    http://tinyurl.com/3vd4nmz

    Read those, and then read these quotes from the Newsweek article:

    “Entangled in the very news they were supposed to report, [the Western media] lost all sense of composure.”

    “Effectively the predicament of the victims has been made secondary. Little has been reported about those who are desperately searching for their families, the lack of adequate medical care for the elderly who make up the majority of refugees, or the economic impact of the disasters.”

    I’m not coming to the aid of all western media here…Lord knows some of them have been shocking…it’s just that Messrs Yokota and Yamada are guilty of the same lazy generalizations that they seek to attack in the Western Media. And I think that needs to be recognized.

  109. MattAlt Says:

    @Bobby

    I appreciate your highlighting examples of good reporting and I absolutely cheer them on. However, it’s critical to note the dates on those pieces. The WSJ ones are from last week (I can’t tell on the FT one as I don’t subscribe). Yokota and Yamada’s article focused on the behavior of the foreign press in the immediate aftermath of the quake/nuclear disaster.

    I don’t think anyone here even once put forth the argument that the foreign press can’t ever get it right. The argument is that they failed _in the immediate wake of the crisis_, when any scrap of information represented a potential lifeline and had the ability to create panic. Even within that period, Yamada and Yokota took pains to point out examples of what they felt was good reporting. So let’s take care not to compare apples and oranges. I think the general consensus (hope?), even among those who strongly criticized the foreign press in the immediate aftermath, is that things seem to be improving.

  110. Fuseji Says:

    Tomojiro:
    “Please stop using “yahoo chiebukuro” to back up your point. The only thing you are proving with this links is that there a couple of morons on the net.”

    Sure, if you say so. Are these morons too?

    Question: “How serious is the fukushima nuclear plant problem?”
    Best Answer: “Its not as serious as the media and the anti-nuke people are making it out to be. . .”

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AkQXYbhV1cKSqsQvm7kBXx8jzKIX;_ylv=3?qid=20110412091244AALcPr0

    Or do you just mean to say there are a couple of people on Yahoo you disagree with?
    . . .

    Chrysanthemum, regarding your message from April 13, 2011 at 11:13 am:

    First, I appreciate your effort to provide some links and your consideration that the Koenji protest was not covered in many news outlets.

    Second, I can’t really tell if you were aware of this when you sent the message, but all three of your links are for the same article. The first two links lead to the same page for the same article on the same site. (Try pressing 記事全文.) Your example of “ample news services” gave us three links to two different sources for the same one Kyodo article.

    Third, I posted that Kyodo article here two days ago with the same URL as your second link. Scroll up. I guess you missed that one.

    Fourth, I’m acutely aware that protests are common in Japan and have been for a long time. That’s basic Japanese history. The major Japanese newspapers don’t have a great track record for reporting them in recent years though. I have witnessed or participated in well-organized but ultimately unreported political rallies, anti-globalization demonstrations, and anti-Yasukuni protests (featuring unreported violent beatings by the participants on the Right that led to unreported arrests and jail time for the participants on the Left—newspapers were there but didn’t publish it). Also nurse and health care workers’ rights marches, TV and film union demonstrations, JR employee pro-labor demonstrations, and the like, all in downtown Tokyo. If the majors think this isn’t newsworthy, that might explain why there’s such a strong grassroots media network in Tokyo. I’ve never seen anything that involved as many as 15,000 participants, though.

    (To M-Bone: I might be getting closer to insinuating that Japanese media is hesitant to report nuclear protests.)

    “. . . in the context of a major national disaster when there is news streaming out of every pore of Tokyo and Northeast Japan, a protest by 15,000 people is not that big a deal.”
    “Protest . . . is actually quite common, and therefore not particularly newsworthy.”

    So a few newspapers chose to waste important time reporting a smallish demonstration with 2,500 people that wasn’t newsworthy in the first place? I’m calling bullshit on this one.

    “More newsworthy, perhaps, is the poll that showed that around 50 percent of Japanese still think that nuclear power is just fine. If there were a groundswell of support for a new anti-nuclear movement maybe you would have a point, but it simply doesn’t exist.”

    That is not my point either. I’ve found no indication in major newspapers that there is a groundswell of support for a new anti-nuclear movement. More support than a month ago? Maybe. Would the papers give us an accurate evaluation of that support? Maybe. It looks like you fit right in here, though. Compare your sentences above to what I hypothesized a few days ago:

    “If I believed Matt and Marx here . . . I would have to assume that people in Tokyo who are ‘on the ground’ and who have access to Japanese-language media actually have no rational reason to protest against nuclear energy that is still, for the vast majority of people living in Japan, very safe.”

    I can’t help but wonder if the poll you mention was reported in the same newspapers that avoided the Koenji protest.

    One final thought for now. Tomojiro thinks Yahoo is full of morons so I’ll skip that source this time. For all I know Twitter is full of morons too, but here are a few Tweets by others in Japan who were looking for news on the Koenji protest. The second one retweets the first, but the last one makes an interesting comparison to what I believe was one of the same Iraq demonstrations Chrysanthemum mentioned. I left the names out but I think they were all from different accounts. You can verify them on Twitter if you like. In fact it would be great if you did.

    昨日の高円寺の一万人を越える反原発デモ。今朝の朝日新聞には載っていなかった。どこかちゃんと扱っていた一般紙やテレビがあったら教えて下さい。私はどういう国にいるんだろう?

    小浜でも の「でも」は、一昨日高円寺で1万人以上のデモがあったという噂を受けて…。しかもどこのマスコミも取り上げてないらしいです…。 RT: 昨日の高円寺の一万人を越える反原発デモ。扱っていた一般紙やテレビがあったら教えて下さい。私はどういう国にいる?

    高円寺などの反原発デモを、なぜあまりマスコミは取り上げないかということだけれど、10万人規模になれば無視はできなだろうな。イラク戦争のデモは4万人でも一部の新聞しか取り上げなかった。ツイッターの中でもずうっとデモを続けるのがいいよ。

  111. Bobby Serious Says:

    Matt – thanks for your reply.

    It’s pretty easy to find examples of balanced reporting in the days after the quake (admittedly from a small number of outlets).

    Here’s the WSJ on March 15:

    http://tinyurl.com/3l53fs7

    Vs the NYT’s more alarmist piece on the same day:

    http://tinyurl.com/3wkwaqn

    I wouldn’t say the WSJ has “lost all sense of composure” here.

    And that’s my beef with Yokota and Yamada-they stretch the facts to fit their thesis…exactly what they charge the western media with doing in their reporting on Fukushima.

    Cheers

  112. MattAlt Says:

    @Bobby

    Thanks again for pointing these out. In hindsight, there is always going to be wheat among the chaff. But I urge you to remember the context. It was an incredibly stressful time, and the problem was that these nuggets were often drowned out by a flood of subpar and/or sensationalist reporting. Yokota and Yamada are certainly picking examples for maximum effect, and there are always going to be counter-examples (they bring a few up themselves at the end). But I don’t think one can convincingly argue that taken as a whole the foreign coverage wasn’t sensationalized to a certain degree.

    The NYT piece you linked to is classic middle-of-the-crisis reporting from them. The use of terms like “stricken Japan” (instead of “stricken Fukushima,” which would have been more accurate if not nearly as sexy) went a long way towards convincing many the apocalypse was nigh, I suspect. If I got a nickel for every time the NYT used “desperate” or “catastrophe” in a headline or lede, I’d have been able to buy my way onto one of those chartered jets the bankers used in the epic Escape from Roppongi.

  113. Fuseji Says:

    Bobby says:
    “[. . .] Messrs Yokota and Yamada are guilty of the same lazy generalizations that they seek to attack in the Western Media. And I think that needs to be recognized.”

    Absolutely right.
    And thanks for your reading suggestions.

    Matt says:
    “The argument is that they _in the immediate wake of the crisis_, when any scrap of information represented a potential lifeline and had the ability to create panic.”

    Over the course of the discussion you’ve been slowly reducing the radius of your argument to this “immediate wake” range, but without specifying what that means. We can add this to the list of unclear terms you’ve been relying on.

    Even if we pretend to agree on that phrase, how did scraps of info from the “foreign press” represent a lifeline for the vast majority of people in Japan during the immediate wake of the crisis? Do Yamada and Yokota explain this? If it is true that many people in Japan did pay close attention to foreign reports during the immediate wake, why were they looking for alternative sources of information in the first place, especially when the reliability of those sources was in question during the immediate wake of the crisis?

    “Yamada and Yokota took pains to point out examples of what they felt was good reporting”
    –and in your following message–
    “…there are always going to be counter-examples (they bring a few up themselves at the end)…”

    First it was “examples,” now it is “a few” counter-examples. Are you serious?

    We should count how many times you claimed Yamada and Yokota provided examples. They didn’t. Not a few examples, not examples plural; one example. They took great pains to point out only one example of good reporting, and it’s not even an example of reporting at all. They picked the entire New York Times. They did not mention any articles, they named no journalists. While you translated it as “example,” they called it an “exception.”

    “I think the general consensus (hope?), even among those who strongly criticized the foreign press in the immediate aftermath, is that things seem to be improving.”

    Maybe some of those critics are reevaluating their positions. In some small but very unfortunate and scary ways, the situation itself is changing to more accurately reflect the alarmist, exaggerated, irresponsible reports that Yamada and Yokota wanted to criticize.

    What have Yamada and Yokota written since then?

  114. M-Bone Says:

    Bobby Serious brings a bunch of good stuff to the table. I think that we are hitting an argument block here – has anyone involved in this discussion insinuated that there is no good non-Japanese reporting? Fuseji, however, started with –

    “NHK gave a report that was not quite honest?”

    “the (equally unreliable) content of the Japanese news”

    “Japanese reporting has been and continues to be extremely poor”

    “Some English language reporting has, in the long run, turned out to be more reliable than the Japanese reporting.”

    You talk about media literacy, but haven’t given any support for this at all.

    Now, your obsession about Koenji Vs. Hamaoka protest just seems petulant. As far as I can see, none of the major foreign news organizations covered the Hamaoka protests (except the Chosen Ilbo. Why? Because they have a strong Japan presence and ended up favoring the same one that the Japanese news outlets did. Voice of America did as well, following Kyodo. There was also a paragraph in an AP article about something else)! While we’ve given you a few news clips and wire articles about the Koenji one (which has NOT been confirmed by anyone to have been over 10,000). I guess the foreign press are HIDING the Hamaoka protest!

  115. Aceface13 Says:

    If Kyodo picks up Koenji demo,of which it did,meaning every single paper that exists in Japan can get the story from their wire service.
    Koenji was organized by recycle shop owner and crowd was gathered via twitter the demand was “No Nuke”.
    Shiba koen demo was organized by eight anti-nuclear civic groups and demand was more specific.”Stop Hamaoka plant now”.
    If you are writing a story on sns and activism,Koenji would probably a better case,but if you want mre indepth coverage on anti-nuclear sentiment,me think Hamaoka is better for it’s more down to earth.
    Koenji did attract more crowd ACCORDING to the organizer.But we will never know.

    Anyway,this isn’t the first time media missed mass rally orgaized by concerned citizens while being covered by foreign media.There were anti-Chinese rally in Tokyo last October organized by some rightwingers.Twitter was filled with Fuseji-esuqe conspiracy theory accusing J-media being pinko.

    One of the coverage from foreign media of which I think was largely exaggerated was from Globe and Mail’s Mark Mackinnon.

    “A BLACK SUN RISING IN DECLINING JAPAN”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/a-black-sun-rises-in-a-declining-japan/article1744434/

    And he also penned an article wth somewhat resembling title
    “DARK DAYS FOR THE EMPIRE OF THE SUN”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/dark-days-for-the-empire-of-the-sun/article1948181/

    My prediction of the coming article from Mark Mackinnon.
    “BLACK FACE ACTOR,BIG IN THE LAND OF RISING SUN”.

    Bobby sez:
    “A small example, but I think it shows that some foreign media are doing serious, investigative reporting here”

    I could be a bit too sketical.But I wouldn’t lionize WSJ report as”serious,investigative” when you are calling up and ask question to the official with his addrss and telephone number are on the web.Basically WSJ piece is a speclation and not much else and I’m not even sure they are the first to report this.However,I need to check again so I can come up with some links.

    “it’s just that Messrs Yokota and Yamada are guilty of the same lazy generalizations that they seek to attack in the Western Media. And I think that needs to be recognized”

    What needs to be recognized here are
    1)This is the first critical article to foreign media coverage
    2)It’s on Newsweek Japan,and Yokota is Tokyo correspondent of Newsweek International.Meaning there are lots of risks involved with this article,which is why they choose not to translate this into English themselves(I’ve confirmed to one of the editor of the mag via twitter)

    3)Yokota and Yamada didn’t count out all of foreign medias,they praised NYT of which I disagree,and focused on bad ones.But it wasn’t a big secret that they were the dominant.

    4)Western media’s generalization of J-media coverage was far more worse and some of them were COMPLETLY wrong.

  116. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    “why were they looking for alternative sources of information in the first place, especially when the reliability of those sources was in question during the immediate wake of the crisis?”

    That’s the point of the article, isn’t it? That there is a false perception about the superior nature of news sources abroad. And I think it is a point well made. There are many people in Japan who still think Time or CNN are in a league of their own. That’s why Yamada and Yokota were shocked when Cooper rocked up without any knowledge of the situation on the ground and acted like the precious celebrity that he is.

    As for the protests, it is not exactly as if the global standard is to provide coverage of any protest or march that maxes out at 10,000 or so. Thousands of people march in capitals all over the world on almost a weekly basis, have savvy press strategies (not just twitter tactics – I suspect the focus on Hamaoka was due to the fact that the media knew it was taking place) and still don’t get mentioned in the media. You say the media should report the anti-nuclear march. To which I would ask, “Why?” To show that some people are pissed off about TEPCO and nuclear power? Wow. That’s news.

  117. M-Bone Says:

    I have an idea – how about we drop the Koenji/Hamaoka thing, allow Fuseji to raise a two sentence point for continued discussion, and move on from there?

  118. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    I still think the Fuseiji’s point about the reliability of the Japanese media stands or falls on the basis of whether he can point to information that the foreign media reported before the Japanese media broke it or foreign stories that were right in directly contradicting Japanese media sources.

  119. Aceface13 Says:

    In sort of defense to Fuseji,this just in.

    小熊英二(quikion)
    on twitter sez
    .
    4月10日の高円寺の反原発デモ、15000人との報道が、共同通信の英語ニュースでのみ出ている。http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/84371.htmlしかし国内の新聞・テレビでは報道なし。この国は報道管制下か?

    BTW,it’s interesting to know Nihon TV covered Koenji demo after having read these.

    http://amzn.to/cs7KeS

    http://amzn.to/aq7oYs

  120. M-Bone Says:

    Are Arima’s books worth checking out? Does he have the documentary evidence to back up his claims?

    Kyodo had that report in Japanese as well. You can see it on the 47News site.

    Seriously, however, how much play has this been getting in English? I see three lines in a Reuters article, one line in BBC (which just says “thousands”) but when I Google News “Koenji, protest” I only get Daily Yomiuri and the like. Voice of America on Hamaoka and a few others – but it’s pretty slim pickings. Nothing in the Guardian, NYT, Globe and Mail, Times, Post, etc. that I can see even with search terms “Japan, protest”. Conspiracy?

    Couldn’t it just be that there wasn’t much in the way of reporting on this anywhere? Or did I miss something?

  121. M-Bone Says:

    WSJ ran a Reuters video on its website but apparently did not report the protests in its print edition. Here, Reuters estimates each of the two protests at 2500.

    http://online.wsj.com/video/thousands-march-in-tokyo-in-antinuke-protest/DE35856D-2755-44FA-B9F5-1A281C243F18.html?KEYWORDS=Japan+protest

  122. Aceface13 Says:

    “Are Arima’s books worth checking out? Does he have the documentary evidence to back up his claims?”

    Arima does mention the name of the disclosed US files.But it’s not the kind of quote you would expect from academics.His most recent 「大本営参謀は戦後何と戦ったのか」very frequesntly use the term “Underground government地下政府”.It was the term used by GHQ to describe the Japanese military and intelligece community after those institutions disbanded,so it has historical legitimacy,yet that adds unneccessary conspircy theory-esque tone in the work.

    However,I’ve also read Nihon TV-CIA link form another article written in mid90’s by Fred Kaplan,so it wasn’t new to me.

    “Kyodo had that report in Japanese as well. You can see it on the 47News site.”

    Yeah,that actually gives me some negative inpression on Oguma.I mean,did he only googled in English to find out about a mass rally held in the city he lives? Rather snobbish if you ask me.

  123. Fuseji Says:

    I don’t know who here can read Japanese and who can’t, but the author of the article and the most vocal critics in the comments are ignoring the links and quotes I’m providing.

    M-Bone Says:
    “You talk about media literacy, but haven’t given any support for this at all.”

    Yes, I wrote about media literacy. For the sake of media literacy, please re-read the messages I posted a couple days ago, think carefully about what my argument is, and then think about what kinds of evidence I have or haven’t given to support my argument.

    “Now, your obsession about Koenji Vs. Hamaoka protest just seems petulant.”

    You, M-Bone, and a couple of others here have insisted that multiple major news sources in Japan ran articles about the Koenji demonstration. You named publications and claimed that you had seen specific articles. You claim to have read articles and then run away from those claims like they’re on fire.

    I’m not obsessed with Koenji. I want to clarify what kinds of information have and have not been made available to the public in Japan via major Japanese news providers. But every time you lie about your sources it prolongs this issue and takes us farther away from the bigger topics we’re trying to discuss. Your (and others’) obsession with lying about imaginary evidence of reporting on the Koenji demonstration is petulant.

    This is what you submitted on the 11th, M-Bone:

    “Reporting on the Koenji demo – reports in Asahi (you know the major papers don’t put all of their content online, right?), clip on Nihon TV (video on the site now if you want to watch it), NHK, reports from Nikkei, Kyodo, and Sankei that I have seen. Mainichi ran a four part series covering anti-nuclear feelings in Japanese society . . . ”

    Aside from the brief articles by NTV/NNN (with a 28 second video) and Kyodo—which were both, despite their brevity, very interesting and included very helpful information—nobody here including yourself has produced citations for the other articles, or quotes from those articles, references to those articles in other blogs or articles, or any sort of evidence that they even existed in the first place.

    In your next message you wrote this:
    “I have an idea – how about we drop the Koenji/Hamaoka thing,”

    I’m not sure what prompted this sudden change, but I’m very happy to drop this Koenji issue. Let’s settle that right now.

    The Koenji demonstration with 15,000 people was vastly underreported. It was completely ignored by almost all of the major news sources in Japan.

    Most importantly, many people in Japan are very curious about this protest, are still struggling to find basic information about this protest, and are extremely upset that it wasn’t reported by the major newspapers that they usually rely on. We know this because we can see that they’ve been venting their frustration publicly. Here’s yet another tweet on the subject from yesterday:

    高円寺の15,000人も集まった反原発デモを日本のメジャーなメディアがカバーしていないのは、日本人として、なんとも悲しくなった。

    Let’s accept the facts that we have, discard all the bullshit that has been posted in this thread, and move on. Deal with it.

    The Chrysanthemum Sniffer says:

    “That there is a false perception about the superior nature of news sources abroad.”

    Either that, or the perception that there is a false perception about the superior nature of news sources abroad itself is false. I think someone else above suggested that this belief in the “superior nature” of foreign news sources is a straw man. I can’t find that opinion now; correct me if I’m wrong about it.

    “You say the media should report the anti-nuclear march. To which I would ask, “Why?” To show that some people are pissed off about TEPCO and nuclear power? Wow. That’s news.”

    We went through this in our last exchange. We don’t need to do it again.

  124. M-Bone Says:

    “The Koenji demonstration with 15,000 people was vastly underreported. It was completely ignored by almost all of the major news sources in Japan.”

    Reuters, the only major foreign source to cover it as outlined above, placed it at 2500. Still harping on this?

    Many Japanese angered at the lack of reporting – based on a tweet? How many tweets do you think we can find that are angry about silly generalizations thrown around about Japan assuming that its standard of reporting has been “very poor” as you claimed?

    Nobody lying about Koenji – see above post about how I mistook “in the city” for Koenji, not realizing that there were two protests that day.

    In any case, you are blowing smoke and your rhetoric has totally gotten away from you – you begin by arguing that one cannot draw a black and white distinction between Japanese and foreign reporting. Fair enough. You then draw a black and white distinction between foreign and Japanese reporting, stressing the Japanese as “very poor” and oft surpassed. And no evidence to boot. Like this –

    “I argue that this presumed essential difference between foreign and domestic journalism is imaginary to begin with.”

    Um, no you don’t. You just think that one essential difference, the inferiority of Japanese reporting and Japanese people being kept in the dark, is okay to harp on…. but not the other – the often exploitative English-language coverage.

    “one that sets Japan vs. the world in an imaginary binary opposition”

    Time to knock that off yourself.

  125. Fuseji Says:

    Me: “The Koenji demonstration with 15,000 people was vastly underreported. It was completely ignored by almost all of the major news sources in Japan.”

    M-Bone: “Reuters, the only major foreign source to cover it as outlined above, placed it at 2500. Still harping on this?”

    How does this even respond to what I wrote?

    “. . . based on a tweet?”

    What do you mean based on “a tweet”?

    “In any case, you are blowing smoke and your rhetoric has totally . . .”

    Ad infinitum. I wish I could give you credit for making more of an effort to read this time, but it seems too difficult for you to process that information and impossible for you to admit your mistakes (I’m being generous calling them that) and move on. I have better things to read, and I’m sure you can find someone else to argue with about something or other.
    .

    Have we looked at these articles yet?

    On March 15th (“immediate aftermath”?) Nikkan Sports released this Kyodo report that quotes an Israeli scientist who claims “Japan is covering up the truth.” There are varying responses and criticisms of this report (and Israel) in Japanese on the net.
    http://www.nikkansports.com/general/news/f-gn-tp0-20110315-748846.html

    A couple of days ago MSN/Sankei released this article about South Korean newspapers criticizing Japan for concealing the fact that this was a Level 7 incident from the start.
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/110413/kor11041312400003-n1.htm

  126. The Chysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    I think I’m done here. As M-Bone says Fuseiji is spinning several contradictory assertions at once and then denying it when he is called out on them by claiming that he is arguing something different from the matter at hand.

  127. W. David MARX Says:

    Sorry that arguing against an ornery troll was the impetus, but I’m very impressed with the link collection amassed here related to the issue.

  128. M-Bone Says:

    The first American scientist to investigate Chernobyl on site raises important points – the Fukushima vs. Chernobyl radiation release reports might only be comparing a single isotope. The total radiation released at Fukushima may be 1/450 of Chernobyl (depending on how much one thinks the Soviets were lying) and the majority of that was dispersed over the sea.

    http://the-diplomat.com/a-new-japan/2011/04/12/how-bad-is-the-fukushima-crisis/

    Contrast with recent howling about 400,000 Fukushima-related cancer deaths unless nearly 8,000,000 people are uprooted (coming out of a Chernobyl anniversary conference in Germany – scholarship there not peer-reviewed).

  129. MattAlt Says:

    And getting back to the original topic, here’s the link to an April 5th article from Nikkei Business Online. It’s an opinion piece, but I think it highlights an important fact: many Japanese are blaming THEMSELVES for gaijin flight, not the gaijin themselves.

    http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/topics/20110404/219308/?ST=money&rt=nocnt

    Title: “The Real Danger Makes English Communication All the More Necessary”

    Excerpt: “The lack of information led the foreign press to focus on pessimistic news… NHK and other domestic sources did provide a certain level of English-language coverage. But if the government had made a clear, English-language announcement immediately after the accidents occurred at Fukushima Daiichi, the sense of needing to ‘escape Japan’ would undoubtedly not have spread as far as it did within the expat community.”

  130. jdm Says:

    If I may add something to this passionate discussion. One of my neighbors told me this morning that she used to live in Vienna (Austria) when the Chernobyl accident happened and she remembers well that many Japanese including herself tried to leave Europe and go back to Japan. She was still furious that the Japanese government had not done anything at the time to help Japanese going back home. She also thought meaningless the criticisms made by some members of the Japanese press against those foreigners who left: “they have forgotten that we did exactly the same 25 years ago!”

  131. W. David MARX Says:

    There was also a one-year blanket international travel ban for Japanese employees after 9/11.

  132. Aceface13 Says:

    “One of my neighbors told me・・・・”

    I have to disagree with your “neighbor”,jdm.

    1)Soviet Union wasn’t exactly that open regarding Chernobyl at that time.On the other hand,Japanese government was not and so was the local media.

    2)I was a student of Gakugei Univ.Oizumi highschool,a school dedicated for KikokuShijo back in 1986 and remember the days well.Lots of m friend parents were Japanese expat in Europe and didn’t particulalry flew out of Europe,not in the scale of exodus that actually affects the economy as happening in Japan right now.Even my old man went to France during that time.

    “There was also a one-year blanket international travel ban for Japanese employees after 9/11.”

    Never knew about that.I flew to NY on October 5th to take a vacation to see what it’s like.The first time to have my boots on American soil since I left the country in 1984.
    I was pretty shocked with jingoism in America and had to travel to the west coast on Christmas vacation.

  133. Aceface13 Says:

    Unintended sarcasm.
    I think Japanese government was more open to information on Fukushima plant then Soviet Union was in 1986.

  134. Fuseji Says:

    Thanks for sharing that anecdote, jdm.

    Chysanthemum:
    “I think I’m done here.”

    Despite a couple of mistakes that you failed to address you weren’t quite as done as the others who chose to post so recklessly here. But thanks for what you did add to the discussion.

    W. David MARX Says:
    “Sorry that arguing against an ornery troll was the impetus, but I’m very impressed with the link collection amassed here related to the issue.”

    No problem. It was my pleasure to provide the links and quotes I could.

    I saw a couple of passionate messages today written by long time friends who were born in Tokyo and have lived in Koenji for decades. They advised their overseas acquaintances to avoid Tokyo if they can because food, air, and water are surely becoming contaminated. They said nothing will ever be the same, physically or spiritually. Scary stuff.

    I don’t think these people “blame” themselves for gaijin flight. I don’t think they feel any guilt at all about telling people to stay away. I think they believe they’re giving the safest and most reasonable advice they can to keep others safe.

    The Guardian has recently published a few sensational articles that are guaranteed to push peoples’ buttons. Here’s one, scrutinizing Japan’s earthquake prediction system:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/apr/13/flawed-earthquake-predictions-fukushima

    Here’s another, challenging anti-nuclear activists’ harsh evaluations of the disaster:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/apr/13/anti-nuclear-lobby-interrogate-beliefs

    Last paragraph from the second article:
    “This is an especially difficult time to try to make the case for keeping the dangers of nuclear power in perspective. The frightening events at Fukushima are still unfolding, the disaster has been upgraded to category 7, making it one of the two worst such events on record. But it is just when the case is hardest that it most urgently needs to be made, however much anger this generates. If we don’t stick to the facts, if we don’t subject all claims to the same degree of scepticism, we could make a bad situation worse.”

  135. tomojiro Says:

    I knew that this will start at some point. The politicizing of the word “Flyjin”. It is discriminative and not only Non Japanese who fled!

    http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/life/tell-me-about-it/richard-smart-word-just-doesnt-fly-363573

    Honestly said, as a Japanese I am disappointed by the initially sensationalized coverage of the Nuclear accident, and really frustrated at the still lingering stereotypes among foreign medias in both praising (Japanese who are resilient, courageous, culturally taught to endure hardships) or criticizing (Japanese who are group oriented, not able to think independently, only following the rules or manuals, having not any emotions, and the culture of “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”).

    “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”… I am especially tired with this phrase, is there a kind of manual what phrase should be used when reporting about the Japanese?

    But I have no bad feeling against non-Japanese who left Tokyo or left the country. That I think is an option for anybody who will face a disaster of this size in a foreign nation.

  136. W. David MARX Says:

    Scary stuff.

    That is scary. And completely detached from reality.

  137. Aceface13 Says:

    “I saw a couple of passionate messages today written by long time friends who were born in Tokyo and have lived in Koenji for decades.”

    Koenji?The famous hotbed of anti-muclear crowd?And you got someone in contact who actually live in the place?
    That most certainly rank you up amongst in the knows,fuseji.
    My hands up.

  138. Aceface13 Says:

    BTW,Donald Keene said he is going to get Japanese citizenship and decide to move to Japan permanently to express his solidarity,according to NHK interview.
    I guess he doesn’t have any friend in Koenji….

  139. MattAlt Says:

    I can attest that the air, food, water and spirituality of Koenji have been compromised. I especially like the way they compromise it in those little bars beneath the tracks.

  140. Connor Says:

    They said nothing will ever be the same, physically or spiritually.

    Say what you will about this amazing troll Fuseji- this man is courageous enough to go directly to Twitter in order to report the musings of hippies- IN TWO LANGUAGES.

    Dude, your blanket indictments of “the Neojaponisme gang” or whatever aside, I don’t think anybody here is a big fan of the kisha clubs or any of the other more authoritarian/repressive institutions at play in the Japanese media. But they got this one basically right, no matter what they said about a protest in Koenji.

    Also, for next time, instead of constantly asking everybody to scroll up the thread and re-read the various Tolstoy-length gobs of exposition you’ve stuck onto it, just summarize your main point into one sentence, as if you’re debating in good faith! It’s not as much fun as claiming that other people “just don’t understaaaand [you], maaaaan,” but far more intellectually honest!

  141. Aceface13 Says:

    I hate to present you some links to twitter right after Connor’s post,But here are some interesting tweets regarding Koenji demo.
    Seemingly there were no advance notice to the neighborhood and some of the residents are not so amused.

    http://togetter.com/li/122505
    http://togetter.com/li/123669

  142. human Says:

    granted, the international media has spent much of its time dealing in hyperbole but…

    it’s also obvious to the entire world, and increasingly to many japanese themselves, that the japanese media — particularly NHK, of course — has been trying to downplay the severity of the nuclear crisis; as well, the gov’t itself and tepco have had to slowly but surely admit to their own fair share of obfuscation…

    i truly believe that as time goes by, we will all come to know just how extensive and serious this situation was and will be for a long time to come…

  143. M-Bone Says:

    Mainichi anti-nuclear series that I alluded to above has culminated with two strong editorials –

    A solid critique of complacency and a call to move away from nuclear power –
    http://www.mainichi.jp/select/opinion/editorial/news/20110415k0000m070174000c.html

    and a plan for a Japanese energy revolution –
    http://www.mainichi.jp/select/opinion/editorial/news/20110416k0000m070168000c.html

    and check out the TOC of the latest issue of Sekai –

    http://www.iwanami.co.jp/sekai/

  144. Fuseji Says:

    Thanks to tomojiro for an interesting comment.

    Did anyone read the Nikkan, Sankei, or Guardian articles?

    Or do you just have nothing to say about them?

    MattAlt Says:
    “I especially like the way they compromise it in those little bars beneath the tracks.”

    Why does everything you’ve written about this issue sound like a joke?

    Connor Says:
    “to report the musings of hippies”

    Fifty-somethings in business suits who had nothing but complaints about the big demonstration . . . and they’re hippies? Nice try.

    “just summarize your main point into one sentence, as if you’re debating in good faith!”

    I did, in one or two sentences, in at least three different posts. You’re not the first to ignore it. But maybe you could read what’s being posted in the thread and comment on the issue instead of on me? It’s not as much fun as sitting on the sidelines and complaining about posters you don’t like, but far more intellectually honest.

    Interesting Kyodo article in English:

    Commissioner calls for verifiable probe of Fukushima nuke crisis
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/85324.html

  145. Anymouse Says:

    People need to treat this debate more objectively. I am ready to hear criticism of my neighbors, regardless of their nation or ethnicity.

  146. Aceface13 Says:

    “it’s also obvious to the entire world, and increasingly to many japanese themselves, that the japanese media — particularly NHK, of course — has been trying to downplay the severity of the nuclear crisis; as well”

    I’m pretty sure that will be the argument coming from foreign medias and people who got freaked out with their coverages to justify their action.
    Let’s bring either some links or sources,human.
    At least J-medias have to deal with the readership that actually live in the area,unlike foreign media where 99% of readership who can’t point where Fukushima is,and were in no pressure to write hyperbole headlines to compete with the headline with war in Lybia.

    What RANK7 simply means the change in criteria were the maximum simple ends at 7.The amount of radioactive elements are 10% and most of them were not even plutonium as it was in Chernobyl.
    Besides the judgement were made by the Japanese government of which has been accused seamlessly for being “downplaying” or “covering up”the incident.Wondering why all the foreign critics chose to trust them now for there’s no change in the situation.
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/13_12.html

    Not exactly sure why anyone in Japan still has some credence to this NRC Chairman guy.He’s supposed to be the man in charge of spreading false information all along.

    fuseji:

    “Why does everything you’ve written about this issue sound like a joke?”

    Don’t tell me yours aren’t.

  147. Fuseji Says:

    There’s still no indication that the “news junkies” of Neojaponisme have evaluated the information posted here.

    human Says:
    “it’s also obvious to the entire world, and increasingly to many japanese themselves, that the japanese media — particularly NHK, of course — has been trying to downplay the severity of the nuclear crisis . . . “

    NHK seems to be in a strange position in Japan. I hear a lot of first-hand stories about how NHK (or people employed by NHK—I’ve known several) really do their best to produce objective and trustworthy reports and TV shows. It seems to be a complicated issue. “On the ground,” few viewers say they trust NHK’s reporting, but many still want to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    I’ve never been employed by NHK, and I have no problem complaining about faults in their material.

    “i truly believe that as time goes by, we will all come to know just how extensive and serious this situation was and will be for a long time to come…”

    You’re right. And it will take time

    I have another piece of information or debate to add to the comments here.

    This is a brief and obviously incomplete summary of one exchange that’s been going on between Japanese sources of information and “foreign” sources of information regarding Fukushima and radiation leaks and exposure after 3/11. I’m reading and relaying what I can, but there are many more links and articles about this on the net, so if I’ve missed or mistaken any of the details please correct me.

    Greenpeace has been an interesting player in this presumed conflict between “reliable” Japanese news sources and “unreliable” foreign news sources. I’m not sure why the harsh reports of this independent global campaigning organization were left out of Newsweek Japan’s complaints about foreign media coverage.

    Greenpeace has been expressing concern about Japan and the nuclear industry’s assessment of the disaster in Fukushima for weeks. They’ve been doing independent radiation tests and reports on the levels in the Fukushima region since late March. On the 27th, they reported that they found elevated radiation levels in Iitate, outside of the official mandatory evacuation zone, and suggested expanding the evacuation area.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-radiation-team-pinpoints-need-to-extend-Fukushima-evacuation-zone-especially-to-protect-pregnant-women-and-children-/

    Reuters reported that officials in Japan rejected that suggestion. Reuters paraphrased a nuclear agency official as saying that “most residents in the area concerned had left and hardly anyone was living there anymore.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/28/us-japan-zone-idUSLKE7DP00720110328

    Greenpeace responded on the 28th, encouraging action. Greenpeace said that their radioactivity readings matched those of Japan, and noted that Japanese officials claimed most of the people in that area had already left.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-responds-to-Japanese-government-accusations-of-unreliable-data-on-Fukushima-radiation/

    On the 30th, the IAEA also suggested that Japan reassess the situation.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110330/wl_asia_afp/japandisasteraccidentnuclear

    On the 3rd, Japan Times published a Kyodo report explaining that experts from the IAEA said that “levels of radioactive iodine-131” in Iitate had “dropped below levels requiring an evacuation order.”

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110403a3.html

    On the 9th, Asahi reported the results of testing from “team of experts from Kyoto University and Hiroshima University.”

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201104080169.html

    On April 11, nearly two weeks after Greenpeace’s press release, Sankei reported that the Japanese government announced that it decided to start evacuating residents over the next month. Despite Japanese officials’ earlier statements, it seems actually only 1000 of the roughly 6500 person population of the village had already evacuated.

    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/110411/dst11041112070023-n1.htm

  148. M-Bone Says:

    “so if I’ve missed or mistaken any of the details please correct me”

    I think that you are mistaking Greenpeace public relations for an original contribution to the debate.

    “Greenpeace has been expressing concern about Japan and the nuclear industry’s assessment of the disaster in Fukushima for weeks. They’ve been doing independent radiation tests and reports on the levels in the Fukushima region since late March. On the 27th, they reported that they found elevated radiation levels in Iitate, outside of the official mandatory evacuation zone, and suggested expanding the evacuation area.”

    Here is a Japanese government official report from days before the Greenpeace press release showing elevated radiation levels in the north west –

    http://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/other/detail/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2011/03/24/1303995_2416.pdf

    Here is confirmation that Edano mentioned highly elevated radiation levels outside of the 30km zone at press conferences even before that –
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/110323/plc11032319250014-n1.htm

    Here is Japan’s nuclear people (NSC) announcing days before Greenpeace became involved that elevated radiation levels outside of the 30km zone presented an increased risk of internal radiation exposure –
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0323/TKY201103230465.html

    You can find an identical issue reported on TV news at the same time –
    http://news24.jp/articles/2011/03/24/07179285.html

    While the link is unfortunately no longer online, NHK ran a feature entitled – “30キロ圏外に避難を” on the 24th, summarizing a variety of scientific opinions about why the 30km zone for evacuation should be expanded.

    Kyodo reported on the 25th the results of a specific study of internal radiation exposure in high radiation areas outside of the 30km zone –
    http://www.47news.jp/news/2011/03/post_20110325045602.html

    The Yomiuri with an extensive graph / report on high radiation outside of the zone on the 25th –
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/science/news/20110325-OYT1T01048.htm

    By the time Greenpeace decided to become involved the issue had already been extensively reported and debated in Japan. As Kyodo reported, the levels subsequently fell. The level (of external exposure) was not one that would present an immediate threat to health through the first week of April.

    Was the Japanese government overly cautious in not ordering an earlier evacuation? Not only do I think so, but I argued so in print twice between March 25th and April 7th. My rational was that gaps in scientific knowledge about low level radiation exposure mean that a better safe than sorry approach is prudent.

    However, the prudence of Japanese government actions is NOT what we are discussing here. We are talking about the relative openness and quality of Japanese reportage and (mostly) English language coverage. The chronology that you outline above is a prime example of what I have been describing all thread – the Japanese government released good information that was widely reported in Japan by the print press and on television and it was only days later that Greenpeace and English-language sources reported the same things and made effectively identical demands to the Japanese government that were already being made by Japanese scientists in the press and public forums.

    Because of weather patterns, the radiation in that area has continued to increase and it is now clear that evacuation is necessary because of increased possibility of sustained exposure –
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/feature/20110316-866921/news/20110417-OYT1T00554.htm

  149. williambanzai7 Says:

    Why does anyone believe the mainstream media are suddenly going to change their nature in a natural/nuclear disaster?

    Misinformation, sensationalism and cowtowing to the “powers that be” are all in their nature. Foreign or Japanese, makes no difference.

  150. M-Bone Says:

    “Was the Japanese government overly cautious”

    Sorry – not cautious enough.

  151. Aceface13 Says:

    “There’s still no indication that the “news junkies” of Neojaponisme have evaluated the information posted here.”

    Actually,Matt did.I was asked my opinion on many of them over skype.
    Having said that you are endlessly extending the argument beyond the content of the written post and the course of discussion,almost to the level of no one understand what you are arguing about.

    “I hear a lot of first-hand stories about how NHK (or people employed by NHK—I’ve known several) really do their best to produce objective and trustworthy reports and TV shows.”
    “I’ve never been employed by NHK”

    Hate to nit-pick,but that’s not exactly the “first-hand”stories in any meaning of the word.You call them “second-hand”stories if you only “heared”from someone you know working at NHK or whereever.

    You do realize the fact that not only Matt has friends in NHK,but he also work for NHK WORLD as reporter,do you?

    “I’m not sure why the harsh reports of this independent global campaigning organization were left out of Newsweek Japan’s complaints about foreign media coverage.”

    Because
    a)The article is about “ranaway journalists”.
    b)Greenpeace is an NGO with anti-nuclear issue and not a media outlet.

    Anyway the name “Greenpeace”doesn’t fly that well in Japan for obvious reasons.Greenpeace statement “Let’s have science over politics here”was probably met with synical smile by many especially at The Japanese Institute of Catacean Studies.

  152. MattAlt Says:

    Just for the record, having done a few segments for various NHK and NHK World shows does not equate to being employed by NHK. I am employed by an independent company that has no ties to the Japanese mass media and have no issues criticizing when I see a need to criticize. There is PLENTY to criticize about NHK, believe me. I think people who work there (and I am close friends with several) are the first to admit that.

    But focusing on coverage of the crisis, I found NHK’S reports a lifeline of rationality amidst foreign “scoops” about the SHIBUYA EGGMAN reactor and such. What a lot of people abroad fail to understand is that in the midst of a crisis like this, you WANT the news presented in a measured way. (That doesn’t mean you want things hidden from you, and as M-Bone and others have repeatedly shown, there is very little if anything that foreign media and NGOs are reporting that Japanese sources did not report first.)

    Fuseji, I’ve got to ask. Were you in Japan during the disaster? Are you in Japan now? I assume the answer is no from the way you’ve been presenting things (you apparently didn’t participate in the protests you’ve mentioned and that you are repeating things you’ve been told by friends in Koenji rather than relaying firsthand observations). I don’t mean this as a leading question or anything. It’s just that I find mistrust of local media outlets to be much more prevalent among those who aren’t actually here. (And in the end analysis, mistrust of the “official Japanese line” is the basis of your issues with the original piece, is it not?)

  153. Fuseji Says:

    Matt, thanks for a sober response, and sorry for another long post.

    MattAlt Says:
    “Just for the record, having done a few segments for various NHK and NHK World shows does not equate to being employed by NHK.”

    I don’t know the details of your professional affiliations with NHK or any other major TV channels or news sources, domestic or foreign. Should we ask further? Whether or not you share that information is up to you.

    My NHK-employed friends and I have had many uncomfortable conversations about the ways NHK works and the often low quality of NHK’s reporting. Uncomfortable for them because they understand NHK’s problems better than the average subscriber but they don’t want to bite the hand that’s feeding them. It’s uncomfortable for me because I can’t complain too much about NHK when that’s how my friends make a living, and I don’t want to make them feel like shit. It sounds like my NHK friends might not be as willing to complain as yours are.

    “But focusing on coverage of the crisis, I found NHK’S reports a lifeline of rationality amidst foreign “scoops” about the SHIBUYA EGGMAN reactor and such.”

    Again, what do you expect from a U.S. cable TV news source like Fox? Of course NHK is more reliable than Fox. Almost anything is rational compared to Fox. What a bad example!

    However, the Shibuya Eggman fiasco was still very far removed from the real information people in Japan were reading, watching, and struggling to deal with. How much panic did it cause in Tokyo when people learned about the great threat of the Shibuyaeggman reactor?

    “What a lot of people abroad fail to understand is that in the midst of a crisis like this, you WANT the news presented in a measured way.”

    Maybe this is another way that you and I differ. The way you say “measured” sounds dangerous to me. Fox news, CNN news, stuff like that is the perfect example of “measured” reporting; it is calculated, it is loaded, and it is delivered in strong but exact doses. In the midst of a crisis, people need the news presented in a straight, factual way. I don’t think people want others measuring essential facts they deserve to evaluate for themselves. “Measured” reporting usually ends up getting measured for presentation, for dramatic effect, and for sales. Needless to say, NHK doesn’t have to worry about sales the same way Fox does.

    There’s another issue hidden in between the lines of your comment above though. In the midst of a crisis like this, human survival might depend on access to reliable information. I think you’ve already written that this is something you’ve considered.

    As such, it’s understandable that people might latch on to any half-reliable report they can find in an attempt to get a grasp on reality. We’re desperate to find a voice of reason, but it’s hard to know what to believe in the midst of confusion. If people really are reading this stuff, then articles like the Newsweek piece, and dishonest, distracting reports about things like “flyjin,” capitalize on the confusion and the thirst for news and just make it harder to find reliable and more necessary details. It’s a malicious distraction.

    “Fuseji, I’ve got to ask. Were you in Japan during the disaster?”

    I thought this was obvious? I don’t mind giving you an answer if you and Marx respond to a question I posed earlier in the thread. I’ll get to my question in a couple of paragraphs.

    One of the ideas I’ve been challenging is the implication that certain people “on the ground” in Japan necessarily or naturally have a clearer view of the media situation than other members of the global audience that is looking at this problem.

    This “on the ground” phrase seemed important to Marx, that’s why I’m quoting it so much. On April 10th he told me that “If you were on the ground in Japan, Fuseji, you would realize that the reports in the Western media in no way reflected what was actually happening or the true level of risk in staying in Tokyo.”

    That line blew my mind as one of the most irrelevant, irreverent, disconnected, and disrespectful comments I had read about the tragedy in Japan. People in Japan and their access to news didn’t seem to factor in his comment at all. No wonder he thinks my Koenji friends’ anxiety about radioactivity is “detached from reality.” I don’t know what sort of reality he’s in, but I don’t think he’s in a position to judge.

    No, I was not in Tokyo during the earthquake or for the protest demonstrations. I had not been in Tokyo for months when the earthquake struck. I’ve lived most of the last two decades in Japan—where most of us have known about Tepco’s scandals and have dreaded a disaster like this for years—so I have years of practical, daily, lived experience with Japanese language media. Still, aside from a tiny minority, I can’t see how the Newsweek report addresses the attitudes, confusion, and questions of people who were “on the ground” when the earthquake hit and who are still struggling to live through what’s happening now.

    And now I will ask my question. Why should we focus on this runaway journalist and/or “flyjin” topic? Why is it important now? I would pose that question both to you (the Neojaponisme contributors) and the Newsweek authors. I can’t see any rational excuse for judging others for their choices to stay or to go when there are much more pressing issues at hand. At best, the flyjin issue is counterproductive, borderline racist (as much as “gaijin” is more or less a make-believe ethnicity in Japan, and since many Japanese passports left too), and a distraction from the true tragedies happening now in reality and in all the faulty news reporting.

    I responded to Marx’s weird injection of flyjin rhetoric in an earlier post. On the 11th I wrote, “aren’t there other questions to ask? Like examining the accuracy of reporting on relief efforts, or looking at the increasing reports of crime in the shelters, or double-checking reports on Tokyo power outage schedules, or reviewing Tepco’s PR history? What about the earthquake’s effect on the election? Why flyjin?”

    Marx never gave us an answer. I’d be very curious to hear an answer from both of you, Matt and Marx, on this point now. We know what you wrote in your blog article. Why did you think this very one-sided article was such a significant document to share with the Japan-interested and English-speaking world? To many people who don’t have experience in Japan or access to Japanese language sources of information? And to all of us who are struggling to find and evaluate reliable or useful information about the earthquake and nuclear plant disaster? Again, why flyjin?

    Matt again:
    “And in the end analysis, mistrust of the “official Japanese line” is the basis of your issues with the original piece, is it not?”

    No, Matt, it is not. My issue with the original piece (and your framing of that piece) is that it’s biased and exclusive. I’ve written about this in a few different comments above, if you don’t mind reviewing my earlier submissions. In the interest of brevity I’ll just quote one more section from one post I wrote. “We need to be as critical of Japanese media as we are of media from anywhere else. Is that clear enough?”

    Is that clear enough?

    I have to say, it is a relief that so many of your readers do not think the Newsweek article was an example of fair or balanced reporting. I hope it’s not premature of me to observe that this flight/flyjin topic seems to be expiring in the news, as buzzwords and fads and (unfortunately) human tragedies often do. Nonetheless, you could have chosen to show balanced or more realistic examples of how people in Japan are dealing with the inaccurate international reporting (international including Japan) that came out in the immediate aftermath of this earthquake.

    The debates about media reliability, whether Japanese or “other,” are continuing on the net and in the newspapers. Hopefully I can open a few more cans of worms with some additional links, but I’ll save them for another comment.

  154. nate Says:

    Just a couple points:

    1) the Koenji demo was pretty huge. I’m not very surprised there was little media coverage, given their history of protest-coverage, but I thought it might get more play than it did.

    2) the website: http://410nonuke.tumblr.com/
    There are events planned for 5/7 and 6/11 too.

    3) with Aceface’s repeated classing of the source for attendance numbers being a ‘recycle shop owner’/organizer, I wonder if he is intentionally minimizing Shiroto no Ran and Matsumoto Hajime? His place has been a HUGE boon for all sorts of alternative politics in Japan over recent years.
    Website: http://trio4.nobody.jp/keita/index_com.html

    4) there was another demo on the same day (the 2,500 attendee one), that was organized by established anti-nuke groups. everyone there was old! check out the videos on the websites listed above–the demo at Koenji was VERY ‘Koenji’–young, punk, and politically engaged.

  155. nate Says:

    Here is another nice snap that shows the scale of the Koenji crowd:

    http://twitpic.com/4j2rly

  156. nate Says:

    And lastly…..perhaps the most appropriate soundtrack for recent days, and my above posts:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja5iOdWOKYs

  157. Aceface13 Says:

    Looks like we have a “Cryjin”here.

  158. Aceface13 Says:

    “3) with Aceface’s repeated classing of the source for attendance numbers being a ‘recycle shop owner’/organizer, I wonder if he is intentionally minimizing Shiroto no Ran and Matsumoto Hajime? ”

    Sorry,nate.I honestly didn’t knew who the man was but a recycle shop owner as it’s being written in some of the article that I linked.Of which seems to be accurate judging by reading the links you gave us.

    Anyway,”15000″attendence numbers are coming from organizer,and usually media always put the number from both the organizer and police.

    “His place has been a HUGE boon for all sorts of alternative politics in Japan over recent years”

    Really?The last time I was in Koenji was about ten years ago when I went there to buy a Sonic Youth washing machine T-shirt,so I wouldn’t consider myself as the authority of the scene.But I didn’t know who he is nor his place before.But then,I can’t say I’m an expert on alternative politics either.

    Speak of alternative politics and Koenji.The demo has been covered by Amamiya Karin on Chunichi/Tokyo Shimbun’s evening paper today.

    I still think Hamaoka related rally is much more “serious”than Koenji.But would probably have second thought if I knew the estimated attendence number in advance.

  159. tomojiro Says:

    I love Koenji and Asagaya. Totally left from the 70’s. I know a place where you can meet hippies (seriously!).

    Even after 30 years it is still “Love and Peace”. Lived there when I was a Uni student.

  160. nate Says:

    Gotcha, no biggie– His katagaki as a “recycle shop owner” is accurate but somehow I imagined you knew more about Shiroto no Ran and were saying that deliberately. Calling Matsumoto a “recycle shop” owner is kind if like calling Chibana Shoichi a “supermarket owner,” if you know what I mean?

    As far as Koenji, definitely. A lot has changed in over in the last ten years, but the current political scene is an out-growth of the kind of place it has been for a long time (Asagaya likewise).

  161. nate Says:

    And for the record, I am really liking the 節電。なんだか東京はやっと落ち着いたような、大人の街になったさ。

  162. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    So I’m back.

    “We need to be as critical of Japanese media as we are of media from anywhere else. Is that clear enough?”

    Yes, but I don’t think “criticize” is necessarily the same thing as “be critical of”. I approach any news source with critical faculties switched on. But “being critical” only works if you actually watch the coverage. How much of the live NHK broadcast did you watch after the tsunami hit and the nuclear disaster evolved? Or are you just basing your thoughts on preconceived notions of NHK as that boring channel that doesn’t have the whiz-bang news graphics? It seems to me that if you didn’t trust NHK in the first place, you probably wouldn’t watch it for your information on the nuclear disaster, which, like a critic of novels who only reads the secondary literature, would mean you are talking out of your ass.

    By the way, polls regularly show that most people in Japan trust NHK and do so more than other conventional news sources, so I don’t know where you get your “few viewers say they trust NHK’s reporting” line from.

    http://www.asyura2.com/10/hihyo11/msg/486.html

  163. human Says:

    this article shows the extent to which the japanese gov’t, along with tepco, is willing to go to hinder the flow of information about fukushima, etc…

    http://japanfocus.org/-Makiko-Segawa/3516

  164. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    Fine, but this thread is not about the deception of the government or TEPCO, it is about the quality of journalistic sources, and the school reopening story has been well-covered in the Japanese media, even at the editorial level:

    http://shasetsu.ps.land.to/index.cgi/event/715/

  165. Fuseji Says:

    More than five days later and there is still no answer to the questions I asked of Matt and Marx in my previous comment. Their reluctance to answer direct questions about what they wrote says more about the quality of Neojaponisme’s commentary than I probably ever could.

    Thanks to nate and human for the links & photos they added.

    Nate, here’s another good soundtrack choice:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWRDYFKGrSY

    Here are some of the links I collected several days ago. All English language sources this time. Are they accurate? You be the judge.

    Japanese commentator Arudou Debito has posted many potentially controversial statements about media reporting of the earthquake and nuclear crisis that are often as well-documented (sometimes with article page scans) as they are inflammatory.
    http://www.debito.org/

    The Huffington Post—a website I can’t say I respect for journalistic integrity—ran a few opinion pieces about the earthquake and the “flight” issue. Here’s one:
    David Wagner – To Stay or Not to Stay: That is the Question
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-wagner/to-stay-or-not-to-stay-th_b_845817.html

    AP reported that people “on the ground” in Japan are upset about Tepco’s month-late response plan.
    http://hosted2.ap.org/APDefault/Article/Article_2011-04-17/id-b1b57301dbca48c881ac37afab17c7df/

    CBS had a piece about trust of Tepco and the government weeks ago:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/16/eveningnews/main20044017.shtml

    The Committee to Protect Journalists released an article that borrows from some of Uesugi’s reports and considers Japan’s recent moves to censor online reports and comments:
    http://www.cpj.org/blog/2011/04/japan-discourages-freelance-online-reporting-on-nu.php

  166. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    “More than five days later and there is still no answer to the questions I asked of Matt and Marx in my previous comment.”

    More than four days later and there is still no answer to the questions I asked of Fuseiji in my earlier comment. His reluctance to answer direct questions says more about the quality of his commentary than I probably ever could.

  167. Aceface13 Says:

    Japan Focus’s Segawa article is terribley written which is not particulaly surprising if you think about where the article being posted in the first place.

    “Mistrust of the media has surged among the people of Fukushima Prefecture. In part this is due to reports filed by mainstream journalists who are unwilling to visit the area near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.”

    That’s horse shit.There are almost daily reports coming out from evac zones such as Minami-Soma from “mainstream journalists”.That’s because most of major media outlets have more than one bureau in Fukushima.NHK has three and private broadcasters have more due to their alliances with local stations to form nation wide networks.

    The basis of this accusation is from “Ikarashi Yoshitaka, 33, is one who is particularly keen on restoring his business and the local economy”.Who?
    Segawa should have checked herself what mainstream journos are doing instead by turning the TV on.

    And next she goes onto quote Uesugi Takashi narrative entirely.

    “However, surprisingly, the Japan government continues to prevent freelance journalists and overseas media from gaining access to official press conferences at the prime minister’s house and government.”

    which is not even true.Uesugi even asked this question to Edano at the press conf and Uesugi is a free-lance.Reuters reporter was also present and so were net-media.

    “Freelance journalists and foreign media are pursuing the facts, even going into the radiation exclusion zone.”

    Lots of people went to radiation exclusion zone until last friday.Except Uesugi….
    Anyway most of the accusation by Uesugi is mainstream media undermines the radiation fear that totally confuses the whole Segawa article that media plays up the nuclear damage.Yet Segawa keeps on using Uesugi quotes.

    “According to Uesugi, after the reactor blew up on March 14, there was concern about the leakage of plutonium.”

    First of all,the reactor never blew up

    “However, astonishingly, until two weeks later when Uesugi asked, not a single media representative had raised the question of plutonium at TEPCO’s press conferences.”

    Sorry,but media has asked question over MOX fuels that contains plutonium that are being kept in reactor 3 from the beggining.Uesugi conveniently ignored it for some reasons.

    “On March 26, in response to Uesugi’s query, TEPCO stated, “We do not measure the level of plutonium and do not even have a detector to scale it.Ironically, the next day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano announced that “plutonium was detected””

    This is not even irony.Uesugi spread via twitter that “TEOPCO has NO plutonium detector!”but there is no such things in the universe.You have to take some sample to the lab and then you get how much plutonium being contained within the radioactive materials.Edano simply confirmed the detection of Plutonium as TEPCO did.
    This “plutonium detector” issue has become instant twitter mem and raised many question over Uesugi’s knowledge over the issue and credibility.

    TEPCO was cautious for numbers of reasons.1)they wanted to cover their ass 2)they didn’t want have more damage to the local community by mislead media reports 3)You can detects plutonium elsewhere in Japan thanks to Chinese nuclear tests in 60’s and 70’s.Back then China tested the bomb on the ground of Taklamakan deseert.Tons of plutonium fall out detected elsewhere in Japan and still left as it was.And TEPCO needs to confirm whether detected Plutonium is coming from Fukushima or from Chinese tests.

    “Uesugi’s reports and considers Japan’s recent moves to censor online reports”

    That’s the latest of series coming from seamless mislead reports from Uesugi.He read an Shukan Post article that mistakenly report on online censorship being prepared right after the quake.Things went big because Masayoshi Son of SOFTBANK joined the chorus believeing Uesugi’s tweets.

    http://togetter.com/li/122797

    Nate:

    “Calling Matsumoto a “recycle shop” owner is kind if like calling Chibana Shoichi a “supermarket owner,” if you know what I mean?”

    Chibana WAS called as “商店主”or something in one of the earliest report on demo around “the elephant cage”.I came to know “the shop owner”was the same dude who took off the flag during the emperor’s funeral only after some shukanshi reported it.
    Press gets these infos from the police because you have to fill out some form at the nearest police precincts.And press can get the name and the occupation.Usually only their occupation comes up on the article.Hence “the recycle shop owner”

    Fuseji:

    “My NHK-employed friends and I have had many uncomfortable conversations about the ways NHK works and the often low quality of NHK’s reporting. Uncomfortable for them because they understand NHK’s problems better than the average subscriber but they don’t want to bite the hand that’s feeding them.”

    I know pretty good numbers of NHK guys but they are not that unwilling to bite the hand that’s feeding them,especially their bosses aren’t around.Most of the NHK related scandals were coming from the whistle blowers from inside the institution.
    They just think being selfcritical doesn’t always mean agreeing every single unfounded accusations from half-baked ideas from confused gaijins,just like folks at Neojaponismes don’t,know what I mean?

  168. Fuseji Says:

    Japan pays the price for obsequious media
    (Mainichi Japan) April 24, 2011

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/column/news/20110423p2a00m0na026000c.html

  169. Aceface13 Says:

    From the same author,David McNeil,the editor of Japan Focus on CNNGo.

    http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/life/tell-me-about-it/david-mcneill-why-i-love-japan-even-more-earthquake-305769

    If I were the editor of Mainichi,I wouldn’t be so obsequlous to McNeil.Instead I would change the title as it is,like:”Japan-pays-the-price! Almost-flyjin journo turn the blame on local media”or something.

  170. MattAlt Says:

    This may come as a shock, Fuseji, but I have a job that precludes spending every hour of the day addressing anonymous critics on the internet.

    You seem hellbent on making me the straw man for your apprehensions about this situation, but I am nowhere near the Japanese media apologist you attempt to make me out to be. Never have been. I give credit where it is due, but I didn’t see much to credit of my own country’s efforts in the weeks after the quake and nuke situation.

    If we stretch the timeline out to months or years or decades, yes, the foreign media may well scoop a fact that the Japanese have missed. But to my knowledge that hasn’t happened. (Cue the scramble to Google to prove me wrong on this one point, but it doesn’t change what happened in the immediate aftermath — which was the whole point of the original article, as continues to be almost deliberately ignored.)

    If you want me to work on faster responses, you need to work on posting more concise questions. But I’ll make you a deal. I promise to go over your comments and make an attempt to decipher your argument once you address the many, many rebuttals that M-Bone, Chrysanthemum Sniffer, and Aceface have posted. It’s only fair to let others into this conversation, because this issue isn’t about you and me.

    “Japanese commentator Arudou Debito has posted many controversial statements”

    Finally, some common ground!

  171. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    “Uesugi even asked this question to Edano at the press conf and Uesugi is a free-lance.”

    Indeed, Edano, who as everyone knows was front and center for the first weeks after the crisis, insisted on being an “open Chief Cabinet Secretary” when he assumed the office, and made his press conferences open to non-kisha club types.

    http://www.kisha-club.jp/2011/01/post_24.html

  172. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer Says:

    As for McNeill’s Mainichi article, the first seven paragraphs are actually quite accurate. Here are the main points enumerated by paragraph:

    1. The difference between the reporting in Japan and overseas (English langage) media is indeed stark;

    2. “Japan’s newspapers and broadcasters have on the whole reported the crisis soberly, led by NHK’s almost adjective-free reports.”

    3. U.S. and European journalists have engaged in hysteria

    4. Most (or some) foreign correspondents have been sensitive to criticism of this hysteria.

    5 and 6: However, even these sensitive types are more willing to engage in sensationalism than cover the real stories.

    7: Foreign media representatives don’t bother reading the local media.

    As to this last point, McNeill states the following:

    “I remember a few years ago researching an article on the Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture — many seismologists predict another huge quake in the area — and being astonished to find not a single newspaper article on this very important issue.”

    McNeill would do well to remember that newspapers are mostly about reporting the news. However, the local media have been reporting on Hamaoka fairly regularly. Here’s a piece from a popular weekly printed three months before the current disaster:

    http://www.wa-dan.com/article/2011/03/post-78.php

    Google searches of regular terms suggest that newspapers have reported on the issue, but because of their online policies you have to do a bit of digging to find them.

    The rest of the article is just anecdotal.

  173. Aceface13 Says:

    Hamaoka has been pretty hot subject before and after 311 here in Tokai region with Chunichi have been covering the issue(at the same time getting tons of ads from Chuden).

    McNeil’s Japan Focus has “analysis”of Japanese TV stations earliest move on March 11 by Dosisha Prof,Phillip J.Cunningham.The primal source of this analysis is Youtube.

    http://www.japanfocus.org/-Philip_J_-Cunningham/3506

  174. Fuseji Says:

    Matt –

    We all have jobs. I’ve been doing 50-plus hour work weeks for the last month. So what?

    “I promise to go over your comments and make an attempt to decipher your argument once you address the many, many rebuttals”

    You’re just looking for an excuse not to answer.

    I answered the questions (including yours) that addressed what I actually wrote. I’m not going to defend statements I didn’t make, and I’m not going to babysit trolls who are just here to post false information and then try to pick fights when they get exposed. If you read the comments you know who and what I’m talking about.

    You can use me as an excuse if you want; say that you’re not willing to answer until I expose more of their fantasy links and respond to their insults, fine. It doesn’t change the way it looks when you keep avoiding the same simple questions about things you did write … things you apparently have less and less confidence in.

    “what happened in the immediate aftermath — which was the whole point of the original article, as continues to be almost deliberately ignored”

    I asked you to explain this vague “immediate aftermath” phrase many times. How can you possibly say that it’s being “almost deliberately ignored” when I reference it every chance I get? You didn’t start relying on that phrase until after several comments here criticized your presentation of the article, but it was never ignored. Far from it.

    Again, your summary of the discussion is fiction, Matt. How do you come up with this stuff?

    “this issue isn’t about you and me.”

    That’s an odd statement considering that you spent your precious time writing about you and me instead of addressing what I asked two messages ago. I encouraged you to join in the conversation and clarify your position, and again you hid under a blanket. I guess it’s about time I should give up and hand you an imaginary flashlight instead of continuing to ask you to come out.

    Anyway,

    Arudou has been collecting citations and scans of Japanese articles on things like fly-jin and increasing discrimination against Fukushima residents. Readers here should check them out. They reveal a dimension of the debate that’s been completely lacking from this discussion.

    There’s also a ton of comments swirling around Twitter right now about Japanese censorship of social media, and especially about NHK Asaichi report last week on the supposedly “unreliable” information that has been circulating in Japan. Who decides which information is true and which is “dema” and who gets to enforce those rules? People on all sides are nervous about the reliability of the media in Japan now.

    AP, New York Times, and other western sources have published increasingly critical reports in English on cover-ups and irresponsible practices at Tepco and in the Japanese government in the last couple of days.

  175. W. David MARX Says:

    Fuseji, we can’t all be Arudou-level commenters.

  176. Aceface13 Says:

    “There’s also a ton of comments swirling around Twitter right now about Japanese censorship of social media”

    The whole “censorship on internet”argment comes from misreport by Shukan Post being spread by Uesugi Takashi and somehow Son Masayoshi believed the nonsense without checking.

    The examples that NHK’s Asaichi picked up on internet were indeed incorrect.
    You may not gonna believe it,Fuseji,but not everything on internet is accurate.This could be the only useful information you might get from rather distasteful discussion we have at our hands….

    “AP, New York Times, and other western sources have published increasingly critical reports in English on cover-ups and irresponsible practices at Tepco and in the Japanese government in the last couple of days.”

    I would love to see the links if only

    a)they are actually “cover-ups” by GoJ or TEPCO and “not the irresponsible oractice”since the later includes much broader things and have already been covered numbers of times by pretty much everybody.

    b)Not being covered by Japanese media already.(of which I doubt)

    “and I’m not going to babysit trolls who are just here to post false information and then try to pick fights when they get exposed. If you read the comments you know who and what I’m talking about.”

    Amen.

  177. Aceface13 Says:

    Come to think of it.There has been no Englsh article yet so far on how bad the foreign presses were inspite of numbers of foreign correspondents admits exisitence of “sensationalist coverages”that produced stampede of panicked flyjins to Narita.(exp;Weekly Toyo Keizai)

    Which tells you how much that FCCJ(happens to be the largest Kisha club in the country)works to oppress the criticism on eachothers….

  178. M-Bone Says:

    Great article from the Western press –

    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/man-high-on-bath-salts-arrested-in-bra-panties-accused-of-stabbing-goat/story-e6frfku0-1226049655286

  179. Aceface13 Says:

    Kan orders to shut down Hamaoka.We are going to be in trouble.