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  • NHK on Fukushima: Offering all-expense-paid junkets to NJ journalists, interviews for NJ residents who experienced disasters. What’s the catch?

    Posted by arudou debito on January 26th, 2013

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    Hi Blog. In an interesting development, NHK is offering opportunities for NJ (both journalist and resident) to give their views on the “The 2011 Great Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami”. For example:

    ====================================

    Job: Non-Japanese journalists to cover stories in the Tohoku region

    POSTED BY  (Asia Chapter of the Asian-American Journalists Association) ⋅  ⋅ LEAVE A COMMENT
    FILED UNDER  

    NHK is looking for non-Japanese journalists to cover stories in the Tohoku region. All the expenses are paid by NHK. Anyone interested in this, please contact Ayako Mie at ayako.mie@japantimes.co.jp

    Project Description

    NHK Enterprises will soon start the production of a new series program. Its title is “Tomorrow: Japan, beyond 3.11”. NHK will air this series from April 2013 and NHK Enterprises will produce 30 episodes in one year. The synopsis of this series is as follows;
    A huge disaster attacked Japan. It was as if it denied the civilization which we build in 20th and 21st century. But many new movements begin in all over Japan. They are about ecology, new energy, industry, education, community, mental care and etc. Many experts and scientists are working hard to build the future of Japan not only in Tohoku area but also all over Japan. They think they have to utilize the precious experience of disaster.In this series, a foreign journalist, presenter or editor of TV, radio, or website will visit the places where new movements begin. He or she will cover this and will meet the people who are involved in this movement. And this series will depict the process of his or her discovery and will ask his or her impression. It will tell us the new things which Japanese people have not recognized.

    (28 minutes x 30, From April 2013 to March 2014)

    We are now looking for journalists, presenters or editors who can come to Japan to cover the new movements in Tohoku area or in Japan. The criteria of the reporter and theme of the series are as follows;

    1. Journalists, presenters or editors of TV, radio, or website who can deliver their messages through the media to the broad audience in their countries.
    2. Those who have the concern for the new situation after the earthquake in Japan and those who want to meet key persons of the new movements in Japan.
    3. Themes of this serried are the nuclear issues, the new technology about the earthquake, new movements which began after the earthquake, new trends of business, volunteers and etc. They can be not only directly connected to the earthquake of nuclear crises but also about the broad movements of life style, culture, technology or business.

    If you have any idea of the reporter in your country, please tell us the name and contact information. We’ll invite him or her and will coordinate the trip and research in Japan. And we’ll allow them to use the materials which we will shoot.

    ==============================

    Now that’s a great opportunity for outsiders to come in on a junket and do some reporting. This opportunity is also being echoed within a call to GaijinPot for NJ residents to give their views:

    ==============================

    “My 3-11″ – Voluntary Interviewee for the program

    https://jobs.gaijinpot.com/job/view/lang/en/job_id/82360, courtesy of MB

    ON AIR:
    March 2013

    CONTENT:
    NHK is seeking to interview those who had experienced The 2011 Great Tohoku, Japan Earthquake & Tsunami while living in Japan. They will film your unique perspective and experience on the disaster, and it impacted your life in Japan. The interview will take place for the special documentary program in February to be aired in March.

    CONDITIONS:
    Please write your 3-11 experience in your cover letter
    Currently reside in Japan (Preferred for the interview)
    Those who previously posted your earthquake experience on GaijinPot
    http://injapan.gaijinpot.com/japan-needs-you/my311/

    EXAMPLE:
    **** My 3.11 memory *****
    “That night I walked home with what seemed like every other person in Tokyo. My abiding memory of that walk was the good spirits, friendly nature and calm resolve to get home shared by everybody.

    I was working as the editor of a news website when the earthquake first struck. It had been an almost stereotypical slow news day when the office started to shake, then shook some more, and then kept shaking. That convinced us to prepare to leave. I had just enough time to write a one-sentence bulletin on a large earthquake being felt in Tokyo before having to leave….

    ***** What did I get / learn from your experience of 3-11? *****
    I had my first sense of wide scale failure on 3.11 and the immediate aftermath. Authorities, some individuals and technology all cracked in some way. But I learnt how to conquer fears in a scenario such as that, how to deal with systematic failures around you and how to buck up and keep smiling.”

    Some of examples in the above link;
    – British Photographer, living in Saitama
    – Software engineer, Pakistani
    – Margarita, Swedish, Female, Fukushima
    – Canadian, Chiba-ken, Male, English teacher
    – Japanese-Egyptian
    – Juliet M, Koriyama ,Fukushima, English Teacher
    – United States, Ibaraki, Female, Assistant Language Teacher
    – ALT American, in Kamaishi, Iwate
    …and many other contributors.

    Although NHK is only able to interview a small number of listed applicants, we appreciate your willingness to share your experiences and we will read (and possibly consider airing) no matter if you are selected as an interviewee or not.”

    ==============================

    This invites a “where’s the catch?” reaction.  When I posted this announcement yesterday within a separate blog entry, one of the more cynical comments from a Debito.org Reader included:

    ==============================

    Marcus:  @Debito (#19), how convenient that they give you a pre-made, “wa”-stressing example of what you should write. I understand that Japanese-style documentaries are almost exclusively not real, but scripted reality along these lines. The truth has to be hidden, unless it exactly fits the bigger scheme, I guess.

    It kind of makes me want to submit an sarcastic entry like, “On 11/3 I was living the sweet gaijin life, getting drunk, doing drugs, and french kissing frozen tuna in Tsukiji, when suddenly the earth started to shake. Of course, I was completely freaked out by it because I am not as used to it as the noble Japanese. When the shaking got really strong I switched on CNN, which by the way is owned by the Chinese and therefore totally Anti-Japanese. I saw the Tsunami hitting Tohoku and realized that this might have be ‘The Big One’. So I did what all we Gaijin came to Japan to do: Go out onto the street to riot and loot, and try to overthrow the Emperor. I made it to Shinjuku and met an old, but really genki man on the street who seemed to suffer from really dry eyes. I was so impressed and intimidated by his antics that I gave up all my evil plans, and spent the rest of the day marveling at ‘the good spirits, friendly nature and calm resolve to get home shared by everybody.’

    =============================

    NHK in fact has a history of using NJ to advance an agenda, for example using a quite willing supplicant in Tarento Daniel Kahl to portray overseas media as being biased regarding reportage on Fukushima (something Debito.org has had opinions about in the past). Consider this five minutes (!!) of NHK airtime devoted to Kahl for the newsworthy gesture of making a grandstanding YouTube video:

    After all, if even a native speaker (well, one, anyway, and a few others that agreed with Kahl with no dissenters included in the broadcast) says there’s something fishy about overseas reportage (despite, after all, Japan’s already fishy domestic reportage), my, that’s added credibility for NHK viewers! It’s hard to believe that the above proposals won’t be put to the same ends, which is why I created this blog entry to discuss it.  After all, I saw how Hokkaido Shimbun, for example, completely sanitized an article I wrote in 1995 about my experiences in Kobe as a post-earthquake volunteer there (see below) and still had the temerity to put my name on it! (see also here)

    Debito in Kobe as an earthquake volunteer. “Everyone was such a hard trier (ganbariya).” Not my title, not my contents.

    It’s not outside precedent.  I would even argue that “sanitizing opinion for domestic consumption” is standard operating procedure.

    What say you, Debito.org Readers? Arudou Debito

    22 Responses to “NHK on Fukushima: Offering all-expense-paid junkets to NJ journalists, interviews for NJ residents who experienced disasters. What’s the catch?”

    1. Matty-b Says:

      This documentary could be used to promote tourism or consumption rates in affected areas. A friendly NJ goes around Tohoku and is friendly to everyone. It’s shown on Japanese TV and everyone sees how friendly everyone is (and how “normal” the portrayal of the area is) and then viewers go there, or buy goods from there.
      I wonder if a Korean or Chinese person would be chosen? Or would the lucky candidate be of Charisma Man descent?
      “All expenses paid” is very dubious. What kinds of expenses? And how many hours a day of labour will this entail? When a Business says, “I’ll pay,” the underlying message is, “for my way. Now work, dog!”

    2. Locohama Says:

      Whoa! I’d love to give them my take on the impact of 3/11 on my experience here in Japan. But I have this feeling it would never make it to air despite it being published in a book (actually two books) already, for i suspect that any viewsthat dont sound paraphrases of the above example will be refuted or refused for innocent reasons like just missing the cut. Thanks for sharing debito.

    3. john k Says:

      One of the first rules of dealing with the media…your words are never your own. No matter what you say, they will spin/edit it to further their own editorial bias and commentary. Once panders box is open, of course you have little recourse and have no avenue for complainant nor will it be in a true public forum/manner either, thus your incorrect words shall always be attributed to you…

      For those that wish to deal with the media in presenting “facts” or “their side”…be very careful. Know they “enemy” first..

    4. giantpanda Says:

      OMG – will they really be letting NJ into Tohoku to take footage of the affected areas or interview people? We know how that could scare the local obaasans…

    5. dude Says:

      You guys are wasting your talents. You don’t need to do this with NHK, and you don’t need to wait, just grab a video camera, and record your (or your friends’) opinions, experiences, etc. regarding the earthquake, tsunami, the uke-houdai radiation, etc., and put them on youtube.com. Your words will not be ‘filtered’ by Japanese media outlets… If you then tell debito, he can help get the word out about your videos. Then people like me can send a link to your videos to hundreds or thousands of our friends.

      This can happen. But only you guys can make it happen. Good luck.

    6. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Well, let me hazard a guess….

      NHK (which is after all the state broadcaster) is going to select only those NJ who will say things like how sad it is, yet how stoic the Japanese are in the face of adversity, the radiations not as bad as some try to lead you to believe, Japan is great blah, blah, blah….

      They are most certainly not going to chose anyone who questions the rate of reconstruction and rehousing, or the spending choices made with funds (rebuilding villages destined to become ghost towns by demographics in the next 10 years, roads in Okinawa, government offices in Tokyo, getting the whaling fleet out), food safety, compensation claims against TEPCO and the government, residents health fears, trucking contaminated debris around the country for incineration, dumping radioactive water into the Pacific….you get the idea.

      It’s a propaganda exercise. NHK wants to show Japanese viewers NJ saying that everything is going well, and ‘all very Japanese’, so that J-viewers can sit back in Tokyo or further afield feeling like the world knows (after all, I saw a gaijin say it on NHK!) that Japan is doing a top job (^-^)b, and they don’t have to worry their minds with the details of the reality, which is, as we all know an ongoing cover-up of a monumental disaster, that is very far from being ‘safe’.

      You know what they say; ‘It is written, so it must be true’! Except that in this case it will be; ‘It was on TV, so it must be true’!

    7. Loverilakkuma Says:

      What the heck is this project all about? Do they think this is some kind of high-school or college project for journalism class? Many of hose have already done their part in reporting the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, so why need more???

      Japanese media blasted off ‘fly-jin’ salvo on NJ for fleeing the country in a panic attack while conveniently ignoring that 1) many of those were asked to leave immediately by their embassies; and 2) the central government failed to give a swift and proper evacuation instructions because they didn’t bother to use high-tech communication gadget–i.e.,SPEEDI at the time of accident? J-media and Team-J downplayed the nuclear crisis and accused foreign media of exaggerating report–to keep our attentions away from the status of nuclear reactors and living condition of survivors in disaster-struck areas in the past–and NHK is giving foreign journalists a whistle for this shenanigan to feed senior corporate executives??? I see NHK’s condescending attitude toward foreign media through this grand scheme–quite insulting. What a shame!

    8. BB Says:

      I thought of applying to this… for a second, then quickly disregarded it. Having dealt with the Japanese media in the past, they are like any media that simply spins things to what they wish. NJ just are in a slightly more disadvantageous position than Japanese themselves in some respects.

      I expect a sad spin story as well, and I look forward to a follow up on what they end up producing from this effort. My story was one of mistrust of Japanese TV, especially NHK.

    9. Baudrillard Says:

      “=You don’t need to do this with NHK, and you don’t need to wait, just grab a video camera, and record your (or your friends’) opinions, experiences, etc. …Your words will not be ‘filtered’ by Japanese media outlets””

      Guy Debord would no doubt approve. To seize back the democratic initiative from the Spectacle of state broadcasting, only through spontaneous grassroots initiatives can the democratic process triumph.

    10. dude Says:

      NHK wants to get ahead of this damaging issue. If they let the discussion continue uncontrolled, it will definitely expose sensitive issues. But if they lead the discussions, they can edit (read: control) what they broadcast…

      Remember the Beijing Olympics, when the Chinese government said anyone can protest, but you need a permit? Everyone who applied for a permit was arrested…

      NHK, always looking out for the people at the top…

    11. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Dude, if China is Orwellian, Japan is more Aldous Huxleyian, i.e. rewarding correct behavior (or promising to) rather than China’s punishing of incorrect behavior.

      Same results though.

    12. J. Says:

      There’s already fine work available on Fukushima by NJ.

      See this:

      http://ianthomasash.blogspot.jp/
      http://www.youtube.com/user/documentingian

      All of Ian’s work is excellent, and very sad. He knows his way around Japan and works to tell the truth.

      I watched NHK very day after 3/11, and they worked relentlessly to convince everyone that the situation was under control and the reactors could be brought to “cold shutdown.” They certainly knew otherwise. Today, we know that three cores melted through reactor vessels, and some fear, through containment buildings. The disaster is ongoing and is irradiating the atmosphere and the ocean. NHK simply cannot be trusted.

      BTW, NJ Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.com has spoken widely in Japan, at the invitation of various groups, and has a well-selling book about Fukushima, translated into Japanese. NHK could invite him, but of course he’d tell the truth about the level of contamination, which is severe in many Tokyo hotspots. We won’t see Gundersen on NHK.

      J.

    13. J. Says:

      Interesting timing: as NHK tries to produce some propaganda using NJ on junkets, Japan has recently plummeted in a press freedom analysis:

      http://enenews.com/jiji-japan-plummets-press-freedom-list-almost-respect-access-information-related-fukushima-sharp-fall-sound-alarm

      The linked website provides extensive coverage of the Fukushima accident and is worth following.

      Note also this interview with a university journalism professor:

      http://enenews.com/journalism-professor-goebbels-would-smile-in-his-grave-to-see-how-nuclear-establishment-handled-fukushima-disaster-audio

      Here is a snippet from the interview, which makes clear that corporate press coverup is extensive and global:

      Karl Grossman, Professor of journalism at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury: What we’re undergoing now is a huge coverup […]

      . . . There’s nothing. When was the last time you read or heard or saw, regarding mainstream media, any information about Fukushima?

      Lots of people are going to end up dead, not just in Japan, but all over the world because of the radioactivity released, continuing to be released […]

      The media have been basically silent. I mean Joseph Goebbels , the Nazi propaganda minister, would smile in his grave to see how the nuclear establishment has handled, quite successfully, the Fukushima disaster.

    14. Flyjin Says:

      http://news.yahoo.com/5-big-losers-press-freedom-mali-japan-171700670.html

      #53: Japan

      Japan had Asia’s sharpest decline in the index, sliding from 22nd to 53rd place in the world. Despite a robust media climate overall in the country, RSF sounded alarm bells over an informal ban placed on independent coverage of subjects related to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

      The organization reported that several freelance journalists who pushed back against the restrictions had been subject to “censorship, police intimidation, and judicial harassment.” Japan’s media also suffered from a more general insularity, RSF reported, where elite press clubs made it difficult for non-members to gain access to crucial information and reporting opportunities.

      – Which is perhaps why NHK is offering this opportunity. Of course while retaining editorial control.

      Glad RSF is waking up to the realities of Japan’s Press Clubs at last.

      ==============================

      5 big losers in press freedom: Mali and … Japan?

      Each year, the World Press Freedom Index ranks the world’s nations – 179 of them – on how easy they make the work of journalists, scoring them in categories like media independence, the physical safety of reporters, free speech laws, and transparency. The resulting list reads much like a primer for understanding global conflict: Safe and prosperous countries like Finland and Norway do best, while war-torn dictatorships like Iran, Eritrea, and Syria are among the world’s worst spots to be not only a citizen, but a journalist as well.But while the index suggests that press freedom is frequently a casualty of war – take for instance Mali, which plummeted 74 spots on the list during the past year – it also indicates that those wounds are not always fatal. This year saw massive growth in press freedom in several countries with bloody recent histories, including Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. These countries can serve as a bellwether for Middle Eastern and North African states struggling to remake themselves in the wake of the 2011 uprisings in that region, says Delphine Halgand, Washington director for the French NGO Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF), which released the index for 2012 today. “In these Arab Spring countries we’re still waiting on the promise of new freedoms,” Ms. Halgand says. “This is a really sensitive time for the future of the press there.” RECOMMENDED: The five most dangerous countries for journalists Elsewhere in the world, however, shifts in journalistic freedom have happened more quietly. Malawi, for instance, marched upward 71 places in a single year on the back of government reform there, while Japan dipped 31 spots based on the government’s handling of press coverage of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor disaster.Here are five of the notable winners and losers on this year’s list.

      Christian Science Monitor – 13 hrs ago

      Each year, the World Press Freedom Index ranks the world’s nations – 179 of them – on how easy they make the work of journalists, scoring them in categories like media independence, the physical safety of reporters, free speech laws, and transparency. The resulting list reads much like a primer for understanding global conflict: Safe and prosperous countries like Finland and Norway do best, while war-torn dictatorships like Iran, Eritrea, and Syria are among the world’s worst spots to be not only a citizen, but a journalist as well.

      But while the index suggests that press freedom is frequently a casualty of war – take for instance Mali, which plummeted 74 spots on the list during the past year – it also indicates that those wounds are not always fatal. This year saw massive growth in press freedom in several countries with bloody recent histories, including Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. These countries can serve as a bellwether for Middle Eastern and North African states struggling to remake themselves in the wake of the 2011 uprisings in that region, says Delphine Halgand, Washington director for the French NGO Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF), which released the index for 2012 today.

      “In these Arab Spring countries we’re still waiting on the promise of new freedoms,” Ms. Halgand says. “This is a really sensitive time for the future of the press there.”

      Elsewhere in the world, however, shifts in journalistic freedom have happened more quietly. Malawi, for instance, marched upward 71 places in a single year on the back of government reform there, while Japan dipped 31 spots based on the government’s handling of press coverage of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor disaster.
      Here are five of the notable winners and losers on this year’s list.

      #32: The United States
      After tumbling 27 places in the rankings between 2011 and 2012, the United States recovered significant ground this year, rising 15 slots to 32nd. Last year’s downgrade was the result of police crackdown on reporters covering the Occupy Wall Street movement, which led to the imprisonment and beating of more than two dozen journalists, according to RSF. This was not the first time the American position in the ranking took a sudden nosedive – the US fell 20 places between 2004 and 2005 at the height of government-media tensions over the war on terror. “Even the US media climate reflects [political upheaval],” Halgand notes.

      But just as the US began to right itself this year, Canada dropped 10 spots to 20th as a result of press difficulties in covering the widespread student protests there. But neither the US nor its northern neighbor came close to the press freedom enjoyed in the Western Hemisphere’s highest ranked nation, tiny Jamaica, which clocked in at 13th.

      #53: Japan
      Japan had Asia’s sharpest decline in the index, sliding from 22nd to 53rd place in the world. Despite a robust media climate overall in the country, RSF sounded alarm bells over an informal ban placed on independent coverage of subjects related to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

      The organization reported that several freelance journalists who pushed back against the restrictions had been subject to “censorship, police intimidation, and judicial harassment.” Japan’s media also suffered from a more general insularity, RSF reported, where elite press clubs made it difficult for non-members to gain access to crucial information and reporting opportunities.

      #99: Mali
      Last year was not kind to the Malian press corps. Early in the year, mutinying soldiers seized control of the capital, while in the country’s north, Tuareg separatists – and later, Islamist rebel groups – brought large swaths of territory under the rule of their own guns. Over the course of the year, news organizations in the north found themselves censored by rebel groups, several local and international journalists were assaulted in the capital, Bamako, and a large number of radio stations were forced off the air. Once “the continent’s star performer in democracy and press freedom,” according to RSF, Mali plummeted 74 places on the Press Freedom Index in 2012 – from 25th to 99th – the single largest decline of any country in the world.

      #151: Myanmar (Burma)
      Although it remains in the dubious company of Iraq (#150), Russia (#148), and Mexico (#153), Myanmar is something of a success story for press freedom, says Halgand, of RSF. The country rose 18 spots this year and has made small but significant lurches toward a free media – there are no longer any journalists in the country imprisoned for their work, for instance, and media outlets exiled by the former military dictatorship are slowly being allowed to return. Myanmar has also eliminated the policy of prior censorship, where media content was suppressed before its publication, and RSF researchers were able to return to the country in 2012 after several years of blacklisting, Halgand says.

      “Burma should be highlighted because we are observing amazing improvement with no violence,” she adds. “It shows us that democratization can happen without crisis.”

      #176: Syria
      The world’s deadliest country for journalists over the last year, Syria saw the killing of at least 17 professional journalists, 44 so-called citizen journalists – amateurs responsible for the regular dissemination of media ­– and 4 media assistants in 2012. Prominent among them for many western observers were American reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik, who died in February during the siege of the city of Homs.

      The country as a whole has spent years in a near complete media blackout – it ranked 173rd on the list even before its civil war began, in 2010. But the current conflict has made the sources of media oppression more diffuse, putting journalists in danger of being targeted not only by the government but by opposition groups as well.

      “Pro [President Bashar Al-]Assad propaganda, the spread of false information, the hacking of email and social networking accounts, phishing etc – a veritable information and disinformation war is being waged in Syria,” RSF wrote.
      ENDS

    15. Bayfield Says:

      I agree with this part especially:

      “The media have been basically silent. I mean Joseph Goebbels , the Nazi propaganda minister, would smile in his grave to see how the nuclear establishment has handled, quite successfully, the Fukushima disaster.”

      Not just in the Japanese media do you not here much about Fukushima, but also media outlets around the world seems to have suddenly became silent about this issue.

      I am guessing Fukushima is one of the possible reasons why politicians and nationalists alike are trying to escalate local xenophobia. The GOJ is trying to convince the people that NJ is a bigger threat than Fukushima and all of Japan’s local problems combined. Thus leading to a gross exaggeration foreign threats in their media as means of controlling the populace.

      I also noticed how ever since the LDP got re-elected, their prime focus are often on subjects that are outside of Japan. It is somewhat possible that the GOJ may have purchased the Senkaku islands in order to divert focus away from Fukushima. Shredding Article 9, appears to have became the LDP’s highest priority along with giving big corporations bailouts. The commoners are fed xenophobia while the Fukushima victims are given at best a few words of support along the usual lines of “gaman” and “gambatte”.

      The GOJ probably knew that Fukushima will likely open up a whole can of worms if the media focuses any more time on it. Which is why I think that Japan Inc. is furiously working overtime in their nationalism and xenophobia department.

    16. debito Says:

      Courtesy of JK:

      Japan dives to 53rd in press freedom list
      http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T130130004387.htm

      PARIS (Jiji Press)–Japan plummeted to 53rd from 22nd last year in the 2013 press freedom ranking released by Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based nonprofit organization, on Wednesday.

      Japan “has been affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima,” the group said in a statement, referring to the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. “This sharp fall should sound an alarm,” it added.

      Mali logged the sharpest fall this year, to 99th from 25th, following a military coup in 2012 and the capture of the country’s north by Islamist militants, leading to French intervention.

      Myanmar rose from 169th to 151st, reflecting progress in its democratization, and Afghanistan climbed from 150th to 128th.

      (Jan. 31, 2013)

    17. Markus Says:

      @Bayfield (#15) Watching the news shows during the last couple of days, it seems like the Japanese media (de facto overseen by the government) is trying to create a “Chinese air pollution is invading Japan” scandal, basically saying that the air in all of Western Japan is currently “dangerous” to breathe in.
      Googling for international news on this topic, next to nothing can be found. The way the J-media is putting is seems to paint the situation as deliberate, i.e. China is somehow polluting Japan on purpose.
      It seems Asia is supposed to shrug off Japan’s pollution of the sea and air with radioactive isotopes – maybe because “Japanese radiation is different” ?

      – Tell us what news shows. Dates and times if possible please.

    18. Markus Says:

      Among others whose names I don’t recall, these I can definitely remember:

      “Tokudane”, Fuji Television, January 31st
      “News Zero”, NTV, January 31st
      “Jouhou Station”, Tele Asahi on January 31st
      “Tokudane”, Fuji Television, February 1st

    19. Baudrillard Says:

      “News Zero”? Now that is a postmodern sign that does mean what it says! Though they should reverse the word order to reflect the content of the program.

    20. dosanko Says:

      J. @ 12, 13,

      I don’t think Arnie Gundersen is a bad guy, but you do have to be careful when listening to him. This is especially true when he veers from his background, which was in nuclear engineering many years ago. He makes basic mistakes in hydrology, pollution control, structural analysis, etc., on a regular basis. As a case in point, he made a real mess of the structural analysis of Unit 4, and repeatedly fumbled the technical language involved. Take this example from enenews (http://enenews.com/buckling-unit-4-caused-quake-indications-building-didnt-ride-quake-anywhere-thought-audio-video):

      “Where that bulge [in Unit 4] is located indicates it’s something called a first mode Euler strut buckle defect. That means it’s likely a seismic problem that came with the initial earthquake or perhaps one of the ones after that.”

      I chose this version because it also says something about the quality of enenews. If you actually watch the video, Arnie did not say “first mode Euler strut buckle defect”; he said, “first mode Euler strut defect”. Enenews changed the transcription presumably after someone pointed out that “first mode Euler strut defect” didn’t make any sense, but they couldn’t change the video. My favorite is the commenter at the bottom who heard a different Arnie formulation and complains that “’first mode Euler strut bulge’ is not getting many hits on a Google search”. Well, that’s because Arnie made it up. Now, none of these mistakes in terminology are necessarily fatal (I know what he means and he actually got it right on many occasions, as well), but they do demonstrate that Arnie does not use these concepts on a regular basis. I, for one, haven’t used these concepts for years, but when I first heard him say “Euler strut bulge”, it was jarring to my ears and presumably to anyone else who has taken rudimentary classes in mechanics. (For those interested, if it’s Euler, the operative word is “buckle”; a first mode buckle is basically shaped like a “(“; a second mode buckle is shaped like an “S”; and so on.)

      The real problem with his analysis, however, is that it doesn’t necessarily follow that it was “likely a seismic problem” that caused this. If anything, a buckle is generally not a sign of seismic activity, so absent evidence to the contrary this would be a lousy assumption to make (a shear failure is generally more indicative of seismic activity). This is not to say that he is necessarily wrong, but he needs to provide the evidence, which neither he nor anyone else has provided to my knowledge.

      As for Karl Grossman, what can I say. Debito has been kind enough to link to many mainstream news articles about the Fukushima situation on these pages. My guess is that Karl is just disappointed that they aren’t running the stories that he wants to see (i.e., about “lots” of people “all over the world” ending up dead because of this). This is because mainstream media typically try to verify their stories with experts, like respected engineers, environmental scientists, health physicists, etc., before running them, and none of those people actually think that “lots” (whatever that means) of people “all over the world” will end up dead because of this. Enenews and Mr. Grossman clearly have no such inhibitions.

      – Alright, we’ve had the argument, and now the counterargument. And we’ll stop this thread here as it’s not germane to this blog entry.

    21. J. Says:

      There’s some very new work from non-Japanese researcher Ian Ash, regarding thyroid abnormalities in children here:

      http://www.documentingian.com/blog/2013/02/04/trailer-for-ians-new-documentary-a2-is-uploaded/

      Ian documents widespread coverup of the truth about radiation contamination. His work is important, but it’s not likely NHK will want to talk to him.

    22. Baudrillard Says:

      Older link but not widely noted that the Kisha actually bullied non Kisha journalists and prevent them from asking probing questions; not unlike the pro Govt thugs or media in former Libya, Syria etc.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2011/05/03/national/tight-lipped-tepco-lays-bare-exclusivity-of-press-clubs/

      Tight-lipped Tepco lays bare exclusivity of press clubs
      BY KANAKO TAKAHARA
      STAFF WRITER
      MAY 3, 2011

      It was a shocking revelation for a majority of the people in Japan, but maybe not so for major media organizations.

      Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co., admitted in a news conference on March 30 that on the 11th, the day the twin disasters hit the Tohoku region and crippled Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, he was traveling to Beijing with retired Japanese journalists, expenses for which were partially paid by the utility.

      “We probably paid more than our share” of the travel fee, Katsumata said.

      Internet reporter Ryusaku Tanaka was shouted down by other journalists as he tried to question the Tepco executive.

      The incident laid bare the oft-assumed cozy relationship between Tepco and major Japanese media organizations — members of the exclusive “kisha” (press) club that critics claim are preventing reporters from asking the utility tough questions about the nuclear accident. Similar complicity has long been assumed at other press clubs attached to the nation’s various bureaucratic bodies.

      Freelance journalist Takashi Uesugi, a former reporter for The New York Times in Tokyo, said he was astonished that no one had asked Tepco about whether a plutonium leak from the stricken plant was detected until he raised the question on March 27.

      Experts have warned that plutonium may have been released from the No. 3 reactor, where MOX fuel is stored, due to a hydrogen explosion on March, 14 in addition to radioactive iodine and cesium. MOX fuel is a mix of uranium and plutonium oxide.

      “For two weeks, not one reporter asked about plutonium in the press conference,” said Uesugi. “When I raised the question, Tepco said it didn’t have a detector to check it.”

      A day after the unthinkable revelation, Tepco announced it detected a small amount of plutonium from the soil on the plant’s premises after it sent soil samples to an outside organization for analysis a week earlier.

      “Press club members don’t want to damage the cozy relationship with Tepco,” Uesugi said. “This kind of mind-set makes them become soft on Tepco unwittingly.”

      A strong advocate of abolishing kisha clubs nationwide, Uesugi is one of the 22 members who founded the nonprofit organization Free Press Association of Japan in January aimed at pushing the clubs to allow nonmembers to attend news conferences.

      Kisha clubs are mainly attached to government ministries and industries, and their members generally belong to major newspapers, broadcasters and wire services.

      In many cases, however, their membership is limited to major domestic news organizations, triggering criticism for screening out foreign press, magazine reporters and freelance journalists.

      But since March 11, the exclusive clubs have been forced to open up to nonmembers.

      Nonmembers have only been allowed to attend the press conferences held by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano once a week even after March 11.

      But feeling the need to allow as many media as possible amid the disaster, the kisha club covering Edano allowed an Internet media organization to broadcast his news conference live from March 17, albeit on a temporary basis.

      Still, the exclusivity of the clubs is notorious among foreign reporters in Japan.

      David McNeill, a Tokyo correspondent for the Independent, recalled how nonpress club reporters were shut out when the Tokyo Detention House opened its execution chamber for the first time to the media last August.

      Despite numerous inquiries with the Justice Ministry, which oversees the detention house, ministry officials as well as its kisha club claimed the date was not set yet, and went ahead with the press tour without informing the foreign press, magazines and freelance journalists, he said.

      McNeill later learned the kisha club members were told by the ministry to keep the tour date secret to nonmembers. “It’s a symbiotic relationship,” said McNeill.

      The Justice Ministry was able to control the information to a large extent by allowing only members of the press club onto the tour, just as kisha club journalists are granted information nonmembers don’t have, he said.

      But it is not the nonmember journalists losing out in this game, he said.

      “The losers are ordinary Japanese people because they don’t hear all the information that they need to make rational political choices,” McNeill said.

      He indicated that the reason the support rate for the death penalty is unusually high in Japan may be because people are not well informed about what goes on in the chamber, including the fact that people in wheelchairs are executed or that prisoners on death row wait decades not knowing when the execution will take place.

      “So you wonder, would it be as high if ordinary people knew everything about what goes on in the system,” McNeill said.

      Though often a target of criticism, the kisha club system has played a key role in forcing the government and authorities to disclose information to the public, supporters claim.

      Formed in 1890, it started out with a small number of reporters who formed a group demanding the Imperial Diet to allow them to sit in on sessions.

      Since then, kisha clubs have become key channels for media organizations in making collective demands against the authorities and vice versa.

      Nobuaki Hanaoka, former head of the daily Sankei Shimbun’s politics division and a kisha club advocate, claims magazine and freelance journalists are more focused on getting flashy quotes in news conferences that may interfere with the reporting of newspapers and other press club members.

      “When you report on politics, it’s not like there is a press officer in the Diet telling you what would happen. Nearly 100 reporters gather information day and night and write stories on what is likely to happen,” Hanaoka said.

      “But if magazine and freelance reporters start firing (hostile) questions at press conferences without that kind of background information, politicians may simply clam up,” he said. “Political stories are not written only through information we get from press conferences.”

      The situation, however, changed drastically after the Democratic Party of Japan, which promised to open up news conferences to nonmembers of kisha clubs, ousted the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party in September 2009.

      To keep the promise they made during the campaign, newly appointed ministers of the DPJ-led government started to open up news conference to nonpress club members as well.

      But video journalist Tetsuo Jimbo, one of the founding members of the FPAJ, said the organization was established to make sure the DPJ’s move of opening up press conferences will not threaten the basic premise that the media should hold the news conferences.

      If authorities host press conferences, there is always a risk that those in power will try to manipulate information, including ending news conferences whenever they wish.

      Because press clubs were reluctant to allow nonmembers to attend news conferences, the DPJ-led government must have thought it would be quicker and easier if the government hosted the news conferences instead of press clubs, he said.

      “We had to create a cross-sectional organization of journalists that can host press conferences,” Jimbo said.

      Thanks to the DPJ, some kisha clubs have opened up to nonmembers. But Jimbo claims his fight is not over until nonmembers have equal rights, including the number of people allowed in venues, and have a say in how press conferences proceed.

      Still, critics agree the DPJ’s push to pressure the press clubs to open up the news conference was a big first step.

      McNeill of the Independent vividly remembers when then Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada held the first news conference open to all members of the media, including nonpress club members, in September 2009.

      “That was one of the most interesting press conferences I’ve ever been to in Japan,” he said.
      ENDS

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