Daily Archives: July 2, 2012

A conversation about media and government in Japan

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk online about some issues happening in Japan. Starting October 1st, downloading unauthorized videos can be punishable at up to 2 years in prison, making people worry that YouTube will be illegal. The government is considering applying the consumption tax to ebooks and legally downloaded music from overseas sources. And the big one is the protests about the Oi nuclear power plant being restarted. This last one hasn’t been talked about much by the Japanese media, so there’s been a large amount of discussion online about it. Add in the government not telling the truth last year after the earthquake and tsunami and there’s a lot of mistrust regarding Japanese media and government.

And then, I had a conversation with someone about how media often exaggerates, omits, or misrepresents information to cause fear or make issues more exciting. I was speaking with a Japanese businessman. It went something like this:

Me: North Korea uses media to give propaganda and further their own interests.
Him: Yes, that’s true.
Me: Would you agree that other countries’ media do the sane thing but to a lesser degree?
Him: Yes, I think so. China does it a lot, for example. I think every country does it, except Japan.
Me: Oh? Why do you say that?
Him: The Japanese government and media have been very honest and open about everything. They don’t hide anything from the Japanese people.
Me: What about last year after the earthquake? They weren’t very truthful about the nuclear problem.
Him: They told us everything. They always tell the Japanese people what’s happening.



Filed under Japan, Politics