Japan Times Feb 16 Symposium, my question from the floor makes the paper



Hi Blog. On March 1, The Japan Times published a two-page report on their Feb 16 Tokyo University Symposium (commemorating their 110th year of publication) discussing the future of print journalism. Invited, along with specialists, were editors from two other English-language dailies in the region, the Korea Herald and the Taipei Times. You can see the whole report in pdf format on the Japan Times site:

I was also invited to attend as a guest (thanks!), and you can see the back of my fat head in the front row (second from the left, orange shoulder).

And of course, during the Q&A Session, my hand was first up. My question made the Symposium writeup:

The answer was a bit of a non-answer, but I had a chat with Ms. Daimon afterwards. I have also offered my opinion on how the Japan Times could improve its readership in the past on this blog (the JT is uniquely poised to offer something more independently, as a newspaper not controlled as a vanity project by the other Japanese newspapers, such as the doctrinaire Yomiuri, or a union-busting, closed-circuit Asahi (just try to contact the English-language section editors by telephone, and find yourself turned away at the switchboard!)).

I’m hoping this finally sinks in: that the JT can most easily change its editorial stance, and offer information not only for English-language readers, but also the immigrants who want to make a life in Japan (who need essential information even in non-calamitous times). The JT has already done so for years now with the Community Page on Tuesdays. Let’s hope we get a further expansion of this editorial bent as soon as possible, for in this days of withering print journalism, that is its competitive advantage. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

1 comment on “Japan Times Feb 16 Symposium, my question from the floor makes the paper

  • From the print media online today: http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200805100051.html
    A topic you’ve mentioned before:

    Japan to sign parental-abduction treaty


    Japan will sign a treaty obliging the government to return to the rightful parent children of broken international marriages who are wrongfully taken and kept in Japan, sources said Friday.

    The Justice Ministry will begin work to review current laws with an eye on meeting requirements under the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the sources said. The government plans to conclude the treaty as early as in 2010.

    The decision was reached amid criticism against Japan over unauthorized transfer and retention cases involving children. The governments of Canada and the United States have raised the issue with Japan and cited a number of incidents involving their nationals, blasting such acts as tantamount to abductions.

    In one case, a Japanese woman who divorced her Canadian husband took their children to Japan for what she said would be a short visit to let the kids see an ailing grandparent. But the woman and her children never returned to Canada.

    Once parents return to their home countries with their children, their former spouses are often unable to find their children. In Japan, court rulings and custody orders issued in foreign countries are not recognized.

    Under the convention, signatory parties are obliged to set up a “central authority” within their government. The authority works two ways.

    It can demand other governments return children unlawfully transferred and retained. But it is also obliged to find the location within its own country of a child unlawfully taken and retained, take measures to prevent the child from being moved out of the country, and support legal procedures to return the child to the rightful parent.

    Sources said the Japanese government will likely set up a central authority within the Justice Ministry, which oversees immigration and family registry records. The ministry has decided to work on a new law that will detail the procedures for the children’s return.

    In 2006, there were about 44,700 marriages between Japanese and foreign nationals in Japan, about 1.5 times the number in 1996. Divorces involving such couples more than doubled from about 8,000 in 1996 to 17,000 in 2006.(IHT/Asahi: May 10,2008)


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