Online media outlet Japan Today acquired by right-wing Fuji Media Holdings, meaning Japan Times is last E-media news organization independent of J-media conglomerates


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Hello Blog.  Something rather important happened within Japan’s English-language media landscape last month, and it’s only now starting (after some prodding) to come to light:  Another NJ media voice has been absorbed by Japanese conglomerates:  Japan Today, an online media outlet founded in 2001 by NJ (and — full disclosure — for whom I worked for two years as one of their founding columnists until they stopped paying me properly).

This matters.  Back in the 1990s we had a number of other outlets employing NJ reporters and offering a degree of news that served and spoke to the NJ communities in Japan (those that read English, anyway).  Since then almost all of them have withered or winked out.  Left-leaning Mainichi Shimbun succumbed to economic pressures and made its English-language daily into an online-only outlet that is a mere shadow publication (moreover succumbed to the pressure of online trolls by crucifying their reporters who dared translate scandalous Japanese tabloid media for their popular WaiWai column).  The Centrist-Right Asahi Evening News, to bust their unionizing NJ employees, fired all of their reporters and now merely offers a translation service for what they write in Japanese (their presses closed down completely in 2010).  Rightist Yomiuri Shinbun whitewashed itself by recently changing its name of its English-language publication from Daily Yomiuri to the anodyne and root-free The Japan News, and since it takes any criticism of Japan by a NJ as a personal affront, it basically marginalized its English-langauge staff into writing book reviews and fluff pieces before Asahi-ing them into proofreaders also.  The last major national news outlet, the Sankei Shinbun, never bothered projecting their farther-right views into English.  Until now, when it bought up Japan Today.

That just leaves the Japan Times as a serious news outlet outside of Japanese conglomerate control.  I am proud to be amongst their ranks as a columnist pushing for media independence from a current political milieu under PM Abe increasingly intolerant of criticism.  But even they have seen their Community Pages drop from four days per week to two.  So support your Japan Times however and whenever you can, everyone.  They’re all that are left, and if they get absorbed, it’s pretty clear that they’ll just become a mouthpiece for the Japanese corporate narrative all over again.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


The Japan Times, NATIONAL
Japan Today says it will retain foreign perspective despite acquisition by conglomerate Fuji Media

Japan Today, a popular news website bought by a Fuji Media Holdings group company last month, will stick to its motto of presenting news “through the perspectives of foreigners” despite the change in ownership, the media conglomerate says.

Fuji TV-Lab, a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings, Inc., announced April 7 that it had acquired GPlus Media Co., which runs several English-language websites, including Japan Today and classifieds ads site GaijinPot.

GPM, founded in 2001 by two expat entrepreneurs, is now headed by Tadashi Tokizawa, president and CEO of Fuji TV-Lab, a website production company under the Fuji Media group. GPM’s founders will stay on as directors, an FMH spokeswoman said in an email to The Japan Times.

“GPM will enhance its reporting ability and its entertainment information by joining the FMH,” the spokeswoman said. “The firm also will seek tie-ups with other companies under the FMH media conglomerate. . . . The (GPM) founders Peter Wilson and Erik Gain will continue to provide comprehensive advice from the perspectives of foreign entrepreneurs.”

In the month since the acquisition by the Fuji group, which has the Fuji Television Network under its wing and the conservative daily Sankei Shimbun as an affiliate, no drastic change has been observed on the Japan Today website, which provides a wide variety of news on Japan in English mostly via foreign wire services and in-house articles citing vernacular media.

Since late March, articles citing Fuji TV and Sankei — mostly about crime and other social news — seem to have become more conspicuous, though the site still uses other news sources.

The Sankei Shimbun is known for its often hawkish take on politics. In February, it drew fire when it ran an Op-Ed piece by conservative writer Ayako Sono, who called for immigrants of different ethnic groups to live in separate places — a statement widely taken as endorsing racial segregation.

Fuji TV, meanwhile, has been somewhat neutral in its editorial stance, with its strengths lying in entertainment and cultural content.




GPlus Media acquired by Fuji Media Holdings group company
April 7, 2015

Fuji TV-Lab, LLC (President & CEO: Tadashi Tokizawa, Fuji TV-Lab), a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings, Inc. (President & COO: Hideaki Ota, FMH), has announced the acquisition of GPlus Media Co., Ltd. (GPM).

[Prestige English media in Japan]
GPM, a pioneer media company targeting the international community in Japan and abroad, operates several leading English websites such as Japan Today, which covers breaking news from Japan, and GaijinPot, which offers job and lifestyle information for foreigners in Japan and global readers who are interested in Japan.

[Matching needs]
The Japanese government has set an annual target of 20 million foreign visitors to Japan in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympic/Paralympics Games and GPM expects this will increase the demand for media targeting foreign residents and visitors to Japan at an accelerated pace.

[Future Strategies]
In the context of this trend, GPM joins the FMH group to strengthen its ability to connect foreign residents and visitors to Japanese companies and people.

Going forward, GPM will make the best use of the FMH group’s prestige and marketing know-how and resources in order to enhance existing GPM businesses as well as Fuji TV-Lab’s web-based business and the FMH group’s human resources, real estate and advertising businesses, and to develop new business fields such as health, education, food and entertainment.

In addition, GPM will focus on a diversification of its business through a solution service including marketing support and production of contents for Japanese companies which are engaged in the ever-growing inbound business, holding events for foreigners and the possibility of collaboration with the MICE / IR business.

GPM co-founders, Peter Wilson and Erik Gain, will continue being engaged in the new management team, and strive to help GPM enhance the FMH group’s corporate value.

[About GPM]
Company Name:  GPlus Media Co., Ltd.
Address:  Minotomi Bld. 3F, Shiba Koen 3-1-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Nature of Business:  Operation of branded websites for the foreign community in Japan.
Founded:  2001

[About Fuji TV-Lab]
Company Name:  Fuji TV-Lab, LLC
Address:  2-4-8, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Nature of Business:  Operation of web-based service, production of contents, etc.
Founded:  2006

[Press Contact]
GPlus Media Co., Ltd.:Yagishita / Iwama
TEL:03–5403–7781 FAX:03–5403–2775



株式会社フジ・メディア・ホールディングス傘下への 移行のお知らせ


GPM社は、英字ニュースサイト「Japan Today」や、求人情報を中心とした生活情報全般を提供する「GaijinPot」など外国人にとって重要なサービスを2001年から提供し続けており、日本で生活する外国人からの圧倒的な支持と高い認知度を誇っております。




企業名 株式会社ジープラス・メディア
所在地 東京都港区芝公園3–1–1 美濃富ビル3階
事業内容 英字ニュースや外国人向け生活情報などを提供するウェブサイトの運営
設立年 2001年

企業名 フジテレビラボLLC合同会社
所在地 東京都港区台場2–4–8
事業内容 WEBサービスの運営、コンテンツの制作、システムの開発など
設立年 2006年

株式会社ジープラス・メディア 広報室 担当:柳下 岩間
TEL:03–5403–7781 FAX:03–5403–2775


21 comments on “Online media outlet Japan Today acquired by right-wing Fuji Media Holdings, meaning Japan Times is last E-media news organization independent of J-media conglomerates

  • Netherlander says:

    This is good to know!!! I often read Japan Today. I only sometimes go to the Japan Times website, but now that this has happened I guess I will have to go to the Japan Times for my news. I just hope the people who read Japan Today know what happened.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Yep, it’s an attempt to control the narrative that gets out in English.

    Have a look at the comments section, it’s become very strange, with some very right-wing commenters (one in particular is xenophobic) who identify themselves as Japanese, that turn up during Japanese office hours to berate NJ commenters, and only on Abe’s ‘hot-button’ topics, ignoring all the criticism of Japan that goes on on other threads.

    I suspect strongly that this is where some of the governments recently increased budget for promoting Japan is going.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Hate to see ‘Gates Foundation-bought-out-now-defunct-InBloom’ like news story in Japan. Especially the merger is made by a whacky J-media conglomerate that has a close tie with a rabble-rousing Sankei Shinbun.

  • Jim, I’m really curious about what you just said. Sounds pretty frightening. Hopefully Japan Times isn’t next on the list, but I see posts like that there as well at times.

    Do you have an key examples of the Japan Today article comments you talked about?

  • I don’t see any comment concerning editorial independence. Japan Today has never had any much of original content and editorials (unlike Japan Times), but the acquisition by a media-group that is politically oriented should warrant at least a statement from Japan Today about their editorial stance concerning independence and political position.

  • Reader comments posted to Japan Today have been somewhat stringently censored for some time now, particularly in the last year running up to the FMH acquisition. As nearly anybody who has posted there can tell you, there is a particular tendency for censorship of content critical of Japan’s media or of Abe or other nationalists, or those regarding the child abduction issue.

    Anyway, it’s now a sure bet that any comment critical of Fuji TV for pulling their punches or having a pro-LDP bent will be removed.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that on the top page of the GPlusmedia website the company’s mission is given as, “日本の魅力を外国人視点で世界に伝えます” (rough translation: Conveying the appeal of Japan to the world from a foreigner’s perspective), which I find very Abe-esque in a “beautiful Japan” sort of way. In contrast, the mirror English webpage has “Your Digital Media Partner In Japan.”

    I realize it might make sense to tailor your communications to the target audience, but still…

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ B #5

    I don’t want to name posters that I think are suspicious.
    I think that if you have a look for yourself, you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions without being biased by me.
    Like I said, it’s not stories/threads that are critical of Japan, it’s threads about Abe’s agenda (war responsibility, stoking fear of china, anti-Japan Korea, constitutional revision, etc) that bring out a hardcore group of commenters with the established right-wing tactics;
    • other countries did it too.
    • what America did was worse.
    • nit-picking over details.
    • gaijin don’t understand Japan’s unique culture.
    • gaijin shouldn’t have a voice in Japan.
    • gaijin go home.

  • Richard Solomon says:

    I have been a daily reader of the Japan Times for about one year now. While I have been satisfied with its seeming independence of ‘the government line,’ I have noticed that it has stopped allowing comments on at least one of its op-ed writers in the last couple of weeks. Jeff Kingston is a regular weekly op-ed contributor. He has written two pieces about efforts by the Abe government to influence foreign media outlets in their reporting of news about the country/government policies and to dictate how Japan’s history gets portrayed in English language textbooks by pressuring publishing houses and/or authors. No comments were allowed to these two pieces.

    What is going on?

  • Well if white-washing japan is the aim of some sort of government-backed media crackdown, then Japan Today is a likely target. While they do not publish a lot of thought-provoking content, they do publish a lot of weird/unique crime stories. A lot of drunken public servants sexually harassing office ladies and school girls have their names printed on a pretty regular basis in that section. Also a lot of parents killing their children, the middle-aged collecting pensions on behalf of their long-dead, mummified parents, body dumping, decapitations… the list goes on and doesn’t paint Japan into the rosy image that matches the kool-aid inside the super elites’ preferred cups.
    Still though, sad day. Shame to see this sort of amoeba gain strength.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I don’t know how this acquisition will affect Japan Today’s editorial policy, per se. What I learn from their policy is that they tend to block any comments when the articles provide a clear conflict of interest involved. This is obvious in business section that introduces some companies that are under question for unethical practice (e.g. Interac).

  • So Japan Times is the only media left in Japan that foreigners can trust that there are no whitewashed views of Japan? That’s just sad.

  • We need more of this. We need more mainstream Japanese language media sources to fail, too. More power to the new media, bloggers and citizen journalists.

    — Not sure I’d go that far. Remember what a swamp the blogosphere is…

  • Long time reader, first time poster.

    I was disappointed to read this story when it appeared as I was a regular reader and poster on Japan Today when it first began. The site had declined dramatically from its peak as an amusing and informative place that also organised many events, to the point that I hadn’t bothered with it for years. I decided to sign up again and see what influence Fuji Sankei had on the commenting and editorial policy.

    In short, every single comment I posted that was critical of Japan’s remilitarization, Japanese media, anti-Chinese propaganda, anti-Korean propaganda, US foreign policy in Asia, Japan-US military co-operation, “foreign” media pro-Japan puff pieces, Fukushima and so on were removed. In some cases moments after I had posted them. Interestingly, comments criticising Abe Akie for visiting Yasukuni Shrine were allowed to remain. My comments contained no offensive language and were as neutral in tone as I could make them. Depressing, but no surprise to be honest.

    Japan Times also carries many features produced by a site called Rocket News, mainly fluff about AKB48, manga, anime and the like. However, the Rocket news site also carries a lot of anti-Chinese and anti-Korean news “stories” in English. I’ve been unable to discover exactly who owns or runs the site. If anyone has any information I’d be very keen to know.

    Regarding “foreign” media, I was interested to learn that the British-based media group Monocle, owned by Canadian Tyler Brule, is now partly owned by Nikkei. The Nikkei president commented, “through this wide-reaching partnership, the Nikkei Group will be able to further boost its global reach.”

    Monocle this week announced that Tokyo was the “world’s most livable city”. Just a coincidence, surely.

    Please keep on fighting the good fight. Best wishes.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ BK #16,

    Interestingly, I have been refused sign-up to comment on Japan Today. I can’t imagine how that was decided without knowing who I am, and what comments I make in other places?
    Rocket News 24 is an odd little site available in bilingual format, mainly as you say ‘fluff’ pieces, but plenty of ‘look what those strange Koreans/Chinese are doing now!’ stories. Many of the contributors are allegedly westerners.

    As for the story about the London magazine Monocle crowning Japan ‘The Most Livable City’, I fell off my chair when I read that; Tokyo has ‘several restaurants’ they claim! ‘Several’! Wow!

    It read to me very much like an article written by a Japanese, and then translated into English by a non-native speaker (e.g., the ‘several’ sounds pretty underwhelming in English, but I imagine the original Japanese copy said ‘iro iro’, which would have been better translated as ‘various’ in English). So, I did some nosing around, and it seems that Monocle magazine is valued at 115 Million GBP. Interestingly, a Japanese company just bought an undisclosed number of shares in Monocle for 115 Million GBP. I think it’s fair to say that it was bought out lock, stock, and barrel for the sole purpose of ‘pumping up’ Japan’s/Tokyo’s international image.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Thinking about it, didn’t the Abe government just increase it’s propaganda budget for promoting Japan abroad by a factor of about 100?

    I wouldn’t be surprised, given the extreme lack of tact, skill, and sophistication in their efforts to intimidate foreign textbook authors and journalists (and the negative coverage that engendered) if Monocle magazine was bought out by the J-Gov for the expressed purpose of running ‘Japan is great!’ stories.

    If this is so, it would mark a change in J-Gov tactics. The only way to tell is to keep an eye on future editions; will they all be running pro-Japan articles?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Prof that Japan Today’s new owners are imposing ideology on the site and it’s coverage, IMHO;

    According to this article, ‘Korean towns’ in Japan don’t exist because Koreans were forcibly re-located during the days of Japanese empire, oh no, ‘Korean towns’ in Japan only exist due to a fairly recent ‘trend’ for Korean music and TV drama; it’s natural that trends come and go, apparently.

    And the end of this ‘trend’ has been exasperated by the former President of Korea visiting Takeshima in 2012, which has (according to the article) put Japanese people off their Korean dramas and such.

    But what about Japanese right-wingers mass demonstrations in ‘Korean towns’ where they spew racist genocidal venom week after week, driving away customers? The writer alleges that he asked some Koreans about this (N.B. he asked ‘Koreans’, not Japan born ethnic Koreans- bias much?) and they said that the decline of local ‘Korean’ business wasn’t due to racists disruption, but rather that Koreans are the worst bosses, so the businesses have problems.

    This article is so racist, and reinforces so many stereo-types, whilst being written in a way that is deliberately misleading to English-speakers who don’t know the history (both of the zainichi Koreans and more recently, zaitokukai hate demos).

    Oh, but everything is ok, because those ‘bad Koreans’ are leaving now the money has gone, and muslim business are moving in, and they even have a whole new set of racial stereotypes ready; now it’s called ‘Islam Alley’, apparently.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #19

    I understand your sentiment. But I think the author suggests the issue is way more complicated than a predominant media narrative for putting resident Koreans into precarious position. Zainichies are also dealing with cultural stigma from their fellow countrymen in their ancestors home soil.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Many critics in the west (such as Robert McChesney, Jon Nichols, Thomas Frank, and Barbara Ehrenreich) warned about the impact of digital transformation on media/journalism more than 16 years ago. They were very concerned that such transformation–in combination with corporate takeover of media — could eventually kick many journalists out of work by cutting printing volumes and local news. This kind of move, which typically works in tandem with internet capitalism for further monopoly, is the reason why growing number of people are getting skeptical of national media–including NYT, CNN, Chicago Tribune, WP, and LA times because of corporate execs’ power to appoint news editorial team for creation of cautionary tale in their taste(see for example assaulting public eduction, teachers/unions bashing, cheerleading Success ‘Slave’ Academy, slamming Barnie Sanders on fixing income inequality). Luckily, international news reports have not been affected by this move yet.

    It reached to the shore of foreign-language media (both domestic and international) in Japan. Obviously, Japan Times got affected too since they cut several pages in their volume and rearrange their online outlet as retooling for global marketplace. I usually don’t let it pass on such term like ‘global’ or ‘marketplace’ because of its ideological pull toward the politics of corporate ownership–rather than economy of labor condition.

    Will FCCJ walk the same path with other media outlets in the near future? I hope they won’t.


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