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Hi Blog. Coming out tomorrow is my latest Japan Times column. Opening paragraphs:
Media redraw battle lines in bid for global reach
By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito, July 6, 2015
JUST BE CAUSE column 89 for the Japan Times Community Page
Something significant happened in April that attracted only desultory press coverage, so let’s give it some more.
GPlus Media Co., which operates English-language websites Japan Today and GaijinPot, was sold to Fuji TV-Lab, a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings Inc. The Fuji Media group has the Fuji Television Network under its wing, as well as the conservative daily Sankei Shimbun as an affiliate.
This matters to Japan’s resident non-Japanese (NJ) communities. Fuji TV was recently caught fabricating subtitles falsely quoting South Korean commenters as “hating Japan” (Japan Times, June 29). That’s an incredibly dishonest thing for a nationwide broadcaster to do, especially when it may have a nasty impact on Japan’s Korean minorities.
However, the Sankei Shimbun as a newspaper I believe is no less nasty.
Over the past 15 years, for example, they have run articles grossly exaggerating foreign crime (see “Generating The Foreigner Crime Wave”, Japan Times, Oct. 4, 2002), a column claiming that Chinese had criminal “ethnic DNA” (May 8, 2001, written by regular columnist and former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro “let’s fight a war with China” Ishihara) and an opinion piece by Ayako Sono on Feb. 11 that praised the racial segregation of South African apartheid as a model for Japanese immigration policy.
The Fuji-Sankei group offers pretty much unwavering support to the country’s right-wing causes and talking points. They are further right than the Yomiuri — and that’s saying something.
Before I get to why we should care, let’s look briefly at the existing landscape of the nation’s English-language media. (I focus on the English-language press because Japan’s own ruling class does — to them, English is the world language, and Japan’s portrayal in it is of intense concern.)
In addition to The Japan Times (the country’s oldest English-language newspaper, independent of any domestic media conglomerate), other English papers at one time included The Daily Yomiuri, The Asahi Evening News and The Mainichi Daily News.
The last three were all “vanity presses,” in the sense of major Japanese media empires using them to feel self-important in the international arena. They had Japanese bosses, managers and editors who had in-house Japanese-language articles translated for the outside world. And, yes, they were for outside consumption — Japan’s English-language readers were never numerous enough to sustain four daily newspapers!
They were complemented by Kyodo and Jiji wire services, piggybacking on print media with articles that had also been translated from Japanese. In my experience working with all of them, their general political slants were: the Yomiuri squarely rightist, the Asahi and Jiji center-right or center-left (depending on the editor), and the Mainichi and Kyodo generally leftist.
Regardless of their political bent, most of these presses during the late 1980s and ’90s employed NJ as reporters doing English articles. Granted, these articles did not necessarily appear in their Japanese flagships — vanity newspapering means information about Japan goes outward, not inward; NJ were never allowed to touch the controls, and seldom were their articles translated into Japanese. However, they did offer foreign voices to foreign residents.
It was a renaissance, of sorts: NJ reporters often reported on issues germane and beneficial to NJ residents. Not only was there lively debate in English, but also there were some boomerang benefits — for example, overseas newspapers (such as the almighty New York Times, the bete noire of Japan’s elites) picking up their stories and shaming Japan’s policymakers into making changes (for example, the abolition of fingerprinting on Alien Registration Cards in 1999).
However, this dynamic has shifted dramatically toward disempowerment over the past 15 years. According to one employee I have talked to, The Daily Yomiuri relegated its NJ staff to doing puff pieces on Japan before making them mere interpreters of Yomiuri Shimbun articles. The Asahi Evening News did the same, according to another former employee, purging its foreign bureau before they could unionize. The Mainichi Daily News, whose popular WaiWai column translated the country’s seedy tabloid journalism, was bombarded by Internet trolls decrying this apparent embarrassment to Japan; the paper then fired its best writers.
When the shakeups subsided, The Japan Times had raised its price and trimmed its pages, and the English versions of the Asahi and Mainichi had ceased their print publications entirely. The Daily Yomiuri renamed itself the anodyne “The Japan News,” an attempt in my opinion to whitewash its right-wing image. However, the upshot was vanity presses stopped carrying out investigative journalism in English and only hired NJ as translators.
Frozen out of major Japanese media, NJ have created their own community presses. Japan has long-running newspapers for Koreans, Chinese and Brazilians. Regions such as Fukuoka, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Sapporo and, of course, Tokyo have all launched their own local-content magazines (with varying degrees of success). And that’s before we get to the online fora and fauna. However, aside from offering events and outlets for aspiring authors, none have the national and international media footprint that online news site Japan Today has (where, full disclosure, I also worked as a columnist).
That’s why GPlus Media’s buy-up matters. This is an era of micromanagement of any media criticism of Japan (even NHK Chairman Katsuto Momii on Feb. 5 admitted publicly on that his network will not report on contentious subjects until the government has “an official stance”; in other words, NHK is now a government mouthpiece). Meaning this buy-up is another outsider’s voice being effectively silenced — and another rightist platform empowered.
Of all the major newspapers, only the Sankei Shimbun never had an English channel. That is, until now. And it’s not hard to guess how things will soon swing.
Already I am hearing murmurs of Japan Today’s moderators deleting reader comments critical of Japan’s media, anti-Chinese and anti-Korean sentiment, Fukushima investigations, and the revamped U.S.-Japan security arrangements.
Then again, that’s within character. To them, what’s the point of owning media if you can’t control its content?
However, the content is problematic because it is increasingly propagandistic. On June 16, for example, Japan Today reprinted an article from RocketNews24 (another Japanese media outlet devoting lots of space to puffing up Japan) on “the decline of Koreatown” in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district. It blamed, inter alia, bad Korean food, the actions of the South Korean government toward disputed islands and bad South Korean management practices.
It discounted the domestic media’s popularization of kenkan (“hatred of things Korean”), which a search of Amazon Japan demonstrates is a lucrative literary genre. It also made no mention, of course, of the off-putting effects of periodic public demonstrations by hate groups advocating that people “kill all Koreans.” Essentially, the thrust of the article was: Koreatown’s decline is due to market forces or it’s the Koreans’ own fault. How nice.
However, I shouldn’t just pick on the Sankei. The other major national Japanese newspaper we still haven’t mentioned — the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) — also appears to be getting in on the act.
According to MediaWeek, the Nikkei bought into U.K. media group Monocle in 2014 in order to, according to its CEO, “further boost its global reach.” In June, Monocle declared Tokyo “the world’s most livable city,” and Japan Today dutifully headlined this as news. All purely coincidence, of course.
The point is: The country’s rulers understand extremely well the crucial role of the media in mobilizing consent and manufacturing national image and narrative. In this current political climate under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who appears to be venomously opposed to any critical thinking of Japanese society, the last independent voice in English is what you’re reading now.
The Japan Times is the only sustainable venue left with investigative NJ journalists, NJ editors and independently-thinking Japanese writers, bravely critiquing current government policy without fretting about patriotism or positively promoting Japan’s image abroad.
Long may The Japan Times stand. Long, too, may its columnists, ahem, as I have here for more than 13 years. However, Just Be Cause has for the first time felt pressure (with this column) after coming under increased scrutiny in the editing process. The Community pages have within the past 18 months been reduced from four pages a week to two. How much longer before they are sanitized or cut entirely?
This is why I encourage all readers to support The Japan Times. Send appreciative emails to the editorial desks. Have your school, university, library and community centers subscribe to it. Get it from the newsstand or buy an online subscription. Click on its advertisers. Invest in it — however you can.
If The Japan Times succumbs to economic and political pressures, who else will lend NJ residents a sympathetic voice, maintain a free online historical archive to thwart denialists, or offer a viable forum that serves NJ interests? Nobody, that’s who. Support the last man standing.
Debito’s own 20-year-old historical archive of life and human rights in Japan is at www.debito.org. Twitter @arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears in print on the first Monday of the month. Comments and story ideas: email@example.com
31 comments on “Japan Times Just Be Cause 89, “Media redraw battle lines in bid for global reach”, on Fuji network’s acquisition of Japan Today.com, July 6, 2015”
Very eager to read this article. At a time where journalism in Japan is near death, this sort of thing is critical.
Just finished reading the final version. One of your best, and most important pieces. Great work, and thanks for doing this.
I’ll be honest, I’m already looking for an exit strat from Japan due to what I have seen politically the last three years. I can’t imagine what would happen if the Japan Times falls. Maybe it is already too late?
Did you hear any inside story or rumor that the JT editorial staff encountered political intimidation or organizational shakeup (i.e., change of editor-in-chief) in the last 18 months?
— I haven’t heard anything like that.
I was just looking at the lead article on Japan Today, about the Ladies World Cup final.
When I clicked it, there were 68 comments, when I finished reading them, I went back to the main page. It showed that the same story now had 62 comments.
So I clicked to see what was missing- as with other stories over the last couple of weeks, counter arguments to the comments of, and criticism of, the xenophobic Japanese nationalist poster ‘Tina Watanabe’, had been removed.
I urge you guys to watch this Al Jazeera report on Japanese media restrictions which are designed to propel Japan’s propagandas.
There is no longer freedom of speech in the Japanese media (other than Japan Times which still has NJ editors – for now).
In a tangent but a similarly veined:
“..Victory for the US against Japan in the Women’s World Cup final turned into a Twitter row on Monday after some fans began to relate the win to Japan’s 1941 attack on the US Navy’s Pearl Harbor base…”*
How would this be, if at all, reported in the other newspapers?
As for the “ribbing” that is all it is. If the US or even the Japanese that are following this debate on Twitter think this is bad or tasteless, this is nothing. They should read the UK tabloids when England play Germany. It is much much worse….or that famous Norwegian commentator when Norway beat England 1-0 in the 1980s…i could go on.
Grow a back bone and see it for what is it…light hearted banter. If you can’t take it…dont take part in global international events where free thinking expression and critical thinking is the norm, not the exception.
And interesting view point from the other side of the pond, on the England v German ribbing is here:
“…England vs. Germany: Everyone Mentions War…”
See, being global also makes one face up to one past deeds….hmmmm..!!
The JT stopped taking comments on op ed pieces written by Jeff Kingston a few weeks ago. He is a professor at Temple University’s Tokyo campus who writes weekly pieces which analyze current and historical political and social issues. Some of his pieces are quite critical of PM Abe, et al.
I wrote the JT to ask about why they stopped taking comments on Prof Kingston’s pieces. They gave me a very general, vague reply about it being a policy decision they had made. Although they said nothing about the fact that Kingston has been critical of Abe and the LDP, I believe that this was the reason for it.
— The Comments Section on Jeff’s pieces was stopped quite a while ago.
What do you think of the latest Japanese media and Japanese government word play game on the UNESCO agreement with South Korea?
Is this their media just downplaying the truth to their population who would be irate, or are they really going to downplay the forced labourers at the UNESCO site?
Now read what Asahi News say about this word games by Japan to water down what they promised the UNESCO panels before Japanese sites were approved UNESCO status.
Read how totally watered down the article sounds. Is this surprising considering how much pressure Asahi has been under lately, from blackballing Japanese government?
July 06, 2015
After compromise with S. Korea, Japanese sites win UNESCO designation
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Japan’s “Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution” was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site on July 5 after Tokyo and Seoul reached a compromise on describing Korean workers at the facilities during World War II.
The Japanese bid received unanimous approval, following a 24-hour delay in taking up the proposal because of a spat over wording between the two Asian neighbors.
At the heart of the diplomatic dispute was what each side would say in the discussions at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting that was held in Bonn until July 5.
South Korea had raised protests about the Japanese proposal because it said individuals from the Korean Peninsula were brought to Japan to work at seven of the 23 facilities included in the site.
South Korean officials initially indicated they would speak about “forced labor” when their turn came to discuss the Japanese site bid.
However, Japanese officials were opposed to the use of “forced labor” in any presentation by South Korea because of concerns about the effect on lawsuits brought by South Koreans against Japanese companies for what they claim are unpaid wages for work during World War II and compensation.
In an explanation given in English at the July 5 meeting, Japanese officials said that in the 1940s, individuals from the Korean Peninsula were brought to some of the sites “against their will” and “forced to work under harsh conditions.”
They also said appropriate measures would be taken to remember what those victims experienced.
South Korean officials, for their part, made no mention of “forced labor” on July 5. They only quoted what Japanese officials said earlier and expressed their belief that Japan would sincerely implement what it had laid out in the presentation.
After the Meiji Industrial Revolution bid was approved, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated Japan’s position. He said a 1965 treaty between Japan and South Korea had conclusively settled all claims to assets from the other side, including among those brought to Japan to work.
However, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se also claimed a diplomatic victory because the issue of Korean workers at the Japanese sites had been brought up.
The Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution covering the 23 locations show how Japan developed into a modern industrial nation by importing iron-making, shipbuilding and other heavy industry technologies from Western nations.
The 23 facilities range from northern Iwate Prefecture to southern Kagoshima Prefecture, and include the Hashima Coal Mine on a small island known as “battleship island” off the city of Nagasaki.
Some of the facilities are still partly in operation, such as cantilever cranes at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagasaki Shipyard in Nagasaki. It would be the first time that a facility still in operation has been registered as a World Heritage site.
The latest designation brings to 15 the number of World Heritage sites in Japan. There are also four other world natural heritage sites in Japan.
(This article was written by Toru Higashioka in Bonn and Yukiko Sazanami in Tokyo.
If Japan put as much effort into promoting immigration as they do in getting world heritage status for all their decaying, decrepit old buildings their population numbers would be surging by now but they don’t so in the end they get what they deserve.
The English (read: “fake” version) and Japanese (read:”real”) versions were probably on the cards from the moment Korea objected to several of the sites on Japan’s bulk bid.
We all know how bad the standard level of English is in this country, and we also know how Japanese versions get around unpleasant topics by using no subjects (much the same way as “Okinawan nurses were given grenades and told to kill themselves during the American invasion” vs. “In the face of the American invasion, the Japanese military gave Okinawan nurses grenades and effectively ordered to use them to kill themselves”), use vague inflections (the make/let mix), and ignoring the elephant in the room (Korea had ceased to exist as such, and was part of Japan)
Par for the course.
Well, now I’m worried about Japan Times, TBH.
A couple of weeks ago they published Sato’s ‘japanese colonialism was really good for Korea’ right-wing revisionism, and now they publish this;
In essence, Japanese men should return to the tradition of kendo, to avoid hikkikomori and mental illness brought on by westernization, then they’d be able to escape western influences and get Japanese women pregnant’.
It’s a revolting right-wing misogynist distortion of reality. For what its worth, Kendo is an post-war invention and nationalist ‘back-door’ to reinstalling imperialist era values. And this article proves it.
Even worse, 2 people commented to that effect, but have had their comments deleted.
Just like Monocle, I bet a Japanese company owns this New York magazine that has announced ‘Kyoto is the best city in the world’.
Hmmm, are they sure about that?
Excellent article Debito! Thanks.
My office subscribes to the Japan Times so I get to read it everyday. It’s an excellent newspaper. Long live the Japan Times!
Andrew In Saitama, is the English so bad in Japan that they think ‘forced to work’ is not the same as ‘forced labour’?
“Well, now I’m worried about Japan Times, TBH.”
Jim Di Griz, it’s another editorial from a Japanese writer. As long as NJ writers are there to balance out the views and keep them honest, I think Japan Times is OK. But watch out once the NJ writers are forced out (I’m not necessarily saying that will happen, but I can certainly won’t be surprised if that happened).
Re: the question about political pressure or any changes at the Japan Times.
The Ogasawara family, which has deep connections with captains of industry and the US political establishment, appointed an “editorial board” to oversee the Japan Times. One of these members was the former Japan ambassador to the United States.
They immediately killed a number of stories critical of Japan’s Ministry of Justice and the Immigration Department. They also sacked some of the very best journalists who had been with them for years.
Rumour has it that NIFCO wants to make further cuts to stem the bleeding of revenue, since the paper no longer makes money.
NIFCO, by the way, is involved in the massive complex supply chain for Toyota. Thus you never see anything critical of Toyota in the paper. And from the viewpoint of the paper’s ownership, the biggest event in Japan is the auto show.
note that Saito is an advisor to Abe and senior corporate leaders. Good luck investigating that meltdown
@ Miki #15
No, level of English is such that the average Taro probably couldn’t read it without undue effort, and the convenient Japanese “translation” means he doesn’t have to.
A Japan Times staff writer Tomohiro Osaki talked about the Fuji TV incident with Australian Radio News(ABC) aired on July 6 2015.
The segment starts with 11:12.
Quick heads up for anyone who hasn’t heard; Nikkei bought the Financial times from Pearson today, it’s all over the UK news, BBC Newsnight 23/7 ran a segment on it around 35min in.
Nikkei group (who bought Monocle) announce purchase of The Financial Times (of London).
Expect FT to shortly announce ‘Tokyo world’s most investable city’.
Nikkei failed to cover the Olympus scandal, Takata exploding airbag biggest recall in history, and Toshiba’s record profit padding scam. Expect FT to cheerlead for Abenomics.
Pearson has been raking in billion dollars through numerous privatized education/testing service contracts with Gates Foundation, Murdoch, and like-minded billionaires. So they don’t see any point in owning FT anymore. It’s just a chicken feed.
Does ownership transfer from a notorious British testing machine to Japanese corporate PR machine make FT better? Doubtful since Nikkei is Japanese version of WSJ
I think the acquisition of the FT by Nikkei Group could back fire on them.
The editor of the FT and previous editor have both stated in recent interviews that editorial independence is the key for the success and their investigative journalism. If the Nikkei group do start to meddle, especially if another (as will occur) scandal comes out form some large Japanese company and tells the FT to tone it down or not even report it….it will be very very clear why. Thus the Nikkei group will then be the ones in the news for all the wrong reasons!
And yet, if they don’t meddle…and allow the FT to do what they do do very well….and if said scandal is reported, how will their cronies and “friends” in Japan react when such news is broken on the FT, but not by others inside Japan?
Or…is this a cunning move to expose dealings in Japan, such as Fukushima/Olympics/Slave labour etc, but out of the reach of Abe’s new privacy/secrecy laws as the FT is not based in Japan??
Interesting times indeed.
@ John K #22,
Unfortunately, I doubt it.
The Abe junta upped the budged for propaganda by a factor of 100 earlier this year. This money is being spent by asking Japanese students abroad to help local J-consulates barge into US academics offices is it?
I think that we’ll never know (secrecy law, and all that), but I’m pretty sure ‘Cheerleader for Japan Inc.’, and thus far ‘Cheerleader for abenomics’; The Nikkei Shimbun, is acting out an pro-Japan Abe strategy, funded by the tax-payer. After all, in Japan tax ¥ being gifted to failing J-companies IS nationalism, and the electorate have supported it for the last 70 years!
Funny thing though, Abenomics was supposed to make it easier for J-companies to expand in Japan and create jobs, but Toyota moved Lexus production to the US, and, like Nissan and Honda, have been using increased returns on overseas profits due to weakened ¥ to open more factories overseas.
Also, J-inc is going on a massive M&A binge overseas, thanks to the weakened ¥ pumping up balance sheets and stock values. Abenomics doctrine dictates that all of that money should have been spent in Japan instead, yet not a peep out of Abe about it. Now that Nikkei has over paid by about as much as 3 times the value of FT, we are left with two possible conclusions;
1. Paying over the top is worth it to acquire a gaijin status symbol like the FT, and show those uppity gaijin who’s boss! Prestige over common sense. Or,
2. This is part of the Abe juntas plan to control the international message on Japan.
Another one of those ‘Japan Bashing’ articles.
Japan’s Xenophobia Problem
Despite recent efforts, hate speech and racial discrimination continues to plague Japan.
The Daily Yomiuri is going to have to buy this magazine, if it keeps up with this nonsense.
@Scipio – Great article you shared, and includes a link to a great well-cited summary of some of Japan’s current violations:
Here is just one of many violations cited in that summary;
“Although nationalistic hate speech and incitement to racially motivated violence is proliferating online, the government has taken no action to curb it on grounds it is already criminalized under the penal code; yet police in 2012 were more likely to use the relevant clauses to prosecute antinuclear demonstrators than groups with on- and offline slogans that included exhortations to “kill Koreans.”
And that leads to another great summary by Tessa Morris-Suzuki, “Freedom of Hate Speech.”
And here is undeniable evidence of Japanese police officers allowing public incitement to “Kill Koreans”
I am not Korean, nor are most of the posters here, but let’s remember that if we don’t protect the largest minority group in Japan from public calls for massacres, we visible minorities will be next:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
“Some Japanese police took advantage of the quake and fires to strike against people with ‘dangerous’ ideas. Japanese police swooped down on hundreds of labor leaders and known socialists, communists and anarchists. Over a thousand socialists were arrested. At one police station in Tokyo nine leftists persisted in singing revolutionary songs. The Japanese military police were called in. Japanese military police stabbed the nine leftist singers to death and flung their bodies down a well. A captain of the Japanese gendarmerie, named Amakasu, strangled to death a leftist leader, Osugi Sakae, AND his wife AND his six year-old nephew.”
– Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, chapters 1 ~ 4, by Herbert P. Bix, 2000
— Correction: The largest minority group in Japan is Chinese.
Correction duly noted, thanks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_issues_in_Japan#Demographic
Although, if we take that “530,421 ethnically-Korean folks who HAVEN’T become Japanese citizens” and ADD to that the number of ethnically-Korean residents of Japan who quietly HAVE become Japanese citizens, I think the TOTAL number of ethnically-Korean residents of Japan is higher than the TOTAL number of ethnically-Chinese residents of Japan.
But really, which ethnic minority currently has the highest number currently residing in Japan is irrelevant to the main point. What I really SHOULD have written above is:
“If we HUMANS don’t protect EVERY minority group in Japan from racial discrimination and racial hate speech, EVERY minority group in Japan will suffer damages, both emotionally and physically, as will ALL humans living in Japan.”
— Point taken.
“…This money is being spent by asking Japanese students abroad to help local J-consulates barge into US academics offices is it?…”
I think you’re overstepping the bounds of conjecture with that one. Unless you have some proof of this?
“..I think that we’ll never know (secrecy law, and all that),..”
Hardly a convincing statement of proof. That’s the kind of reply of a conspiracy nuts. A mate of mine is one..and this has all the hall marks!!
We can all put 2 + 2 = 4…but i think your speculation is rather off on that one. It would seem most J students studying overseas are by definition non-typical J students, given the mounting evidence (also noted in debito) of the poor employment opportunities for returning students v J-education ones.
Also not aware of any new Honda/Nissan plants other than the Yorrii near Tokyo. Nissan is part of the Renault group…so keeping any revenue outside Japan, is a no brainer too., as would be to invest revenue money from oveerseas, overseas, for any other global company.
Another interesting article on the take over here:-
— In terms of J consulates barging into US academics’ offices, I think JDG is referring to this article: http://www.debito.org/?p=13141
@ John K #28,
As Dr. Debito notes, that was the incident I was referring to. Sorry, I don’t think I made myself very clear. The point I was trying to make is that the J-gov upped its budget for ‘explaining a correct understanding of Japan’ by a factor of 100, but that getting Japanese exchange students to help local J-consulates bully US academics is relatively cost free.
So the question should be, ‘how is this massive government budget actually being spent?’.
Since there has been no transparency from the J-gov, we should also ask ‘why?’
I find it odd that the Nikkei Shimbun has enough money to buy stock to the total value of Monocle magazine, and pay three times market value for FT.
In an age of declining traditional news media revenues? I don’t think a bank would have lent them the money based on that business proposition.
So where did the money come from?
No one cares. NJ magazine Monocle says Tokyo is the worlds most liveable city. No one cares how Monocle reached that decision, it disrupts the ‘dreamy day’.
Is it coincidence that Nikkei buys a magazine, then that magazine starts blowing Abe’s nationalist ‘beautiful country’ trumpet?
Let’s see what happens at FT.
@ John K #28
Have a look at this from today’s Japan Times;
So, are we really expected to believe that Nikkei bought the FT (for three times FT’s market price), without actually being able to pay? Don’t get me wrong, the news at the weekend wasn’t ‘Nikkei groups wants to buy the FT, but hasn’t worked out how it’s going to pay yet’, was it? The news was ‘Nikkei buys FT’.
Clearly, Nikkei realizes how bonkers it’s purchase seems, and needs to roll out one alleged creditor in order to prove that it was a good business move (although, note from the article that the other investors are all anonymous).
We can learn (at least) two things from this story;
1. The world’s most widely read print version newspaper, the Nikkei, doesn’t *actually* have enough cash to pay for the FT (doesn’t seem like a good investment to me).
2. Sumitomo Bank doesn’t mind losing money on ‘vanity’ projects for Japan Inc.
I still think that this story only broke today because there are people like me who know that Nikkei doesn’t have this much cash, and think that the J-gov is financing their purchases. How many other M&A’s have to ‘announce’ (or in the case of Nikkei, announce that they won’t say) where they borrowed the money from?
On the issue of media (self) censorship, I heard that when Abe made his speech at Hiroshims this week, he was heckled by the crowd, and was the only speaker not to receive an applause.
Can anyone confirm or deny this?