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

6 responses to “A conversation about media and government in Japan

  1. Tom

    That conversation sounded hilarious. This is a huge issue in every country, but I doubt will go away ever. My friend and I talk frequently about how the spanish speaking news here greatly over exaggerates and flat out lies on big issues because they know most of the people watching won’t do the research and/or wont speak up against it.

    The other issue you mentioned about being put in jail for 2 years for viewing unauthorized videos is the more scary of the issues. It just makes life harder for us who want to watch the tv streams, animes, or variety shows. Whats to stop them from arresting people who watched a stream previously and just happens to take a trip to japan. Sorry,. too much thought process at one time.

    • I’m curious about how they intend on finding who downloaded what. Do they plan to go through all the logs kept by internet providers? Who will do it? How will they determine what is illegal and what is not? And most importantly, how the hell will they prosecute Japanese citizens who do not live in Japan? Yeah, that’s in the new law. They will prosecute any Japanese citizen living abroad who has downloaded videos illegally. Impossible!

      • Tom

        some of that finding will happen whenever a company sends a cease letter to the ISP, then the isp can find who uses that address. In the US an ISP is not legally bound to comply with the government and work to protect the rights of their customers,unless its a usual occurance. Than they shut off the service.

        I doubt any profit making ISP would be willing to hand that information over since it could come back and bite them in the ass in the future when they start losing customers. Its prolly all posturing and not actually going to happen.

        • I agree. In Canada, it’s a different situation. No company is permitted to use the IP information gained through electronic means. They cannot find out who owns the computer. Internet users are protected from this in Canada, so they can’t be sued by recording studios or labels. Downloading music on the internet was legal, but to offset the loss of sales to the artists, they added a tax to any blank CDs and DVDs.

          Japan has very strict privacy regulations. I wonder how that’ll come into play.

  2. Child porn is still legal. Possession without intent to distribute…..from the country that invented recordable media….how fucking ironic. Not because distributing is bad apparently but because it’s not taxed.

    BTW I’m a Demonoid member and I’ll be downloading wares until i die.

    • Japan’s government makes absolutely no sense. I can’t even attempt to make some of their choices seem logical.

      I’m not a big downloader. I do plenty of streaming, but only legal streaming.

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