Joel Legendre-Koizumi on the J media’s blackout on PM Kan’s proposals


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Hi Blog. Reporter Joel Legendre-Koizumi of RTL France had this very poignant comment on Facebook on June 28, 2011, which he has nicely granted me permission to post on (provided I don’t over-comment on it — which I won’t, so I’ll stop here). Have a read. It’s an insider’s view on how the Japanese media is getting in PM Kan’s policymaking. A complete tangent, but worthy of a wider audience.  Arudou Debito


Yesterday night 2215, at the Prime Minister Kan press conference at Kantei, Nagatacho, Tokyo. By Joel Legendre-Koizumi, RTL France reporter, informal Facebook comment

Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Unbelievable! Most questions were mere bullying and nothing concrete. Except the Mainichi and two free lance reporters the rest was on a hunt on the chief of the government. Media played themselves the Nagatacho’s game. I was shocked to see that the only of the 2 good questions asked to PM Kan was by Mr. Shimada, a free lance reporter. A good validated comment and question about actions since and after the triple catastrophes (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear contamination) and how Japan’s social aspect has changed since 3/11 and the implications in actions and behaviors of the society. Kan started to answer on his philosophy and his expectation regarding Japanese population and I really noticed he was continuing explaining and elaborating his ruling concrete plan. Fabulous. But then NHK TV suddenly cut the answers of Prime Minister Kan… very articulated ones. He offered a vision of the present and the future after these exceptional disaster circumstances, I was astonished by Kan’s words.

So now, it’s clear. One knows one cannot truly rely on kisha clubs press releases. Luckily but minor impact, Kan’s comment is available on the web page of the Kantei. Now !! Why on earth do the media shut up the prime minister when he is presenting the most important policy speech of reconstruction after Japan chaos of March 11? Would the US cut B. Obama at a major speech? Would France cut N. Sarkozy live talks on such issues? During a press conf? Unbelievable. Then I asked again and again. No-one dares to say a word. His political death as current prime minister is planned? I am told by a close friend of Kan that the Kantei kisha club never forgave Kan’s administration to open the kisha club to other members of the national and international press… One reason certainly to explain the DIVIDE between what Naoto Kan said and what the press prints!

Following is the kind of things which supports the nasty pressure against Kan’s administration that you can read in the local media after last night press conf’. quotes:

“Prime Minister Naoto Kan has named Ryu Matsumoto as reconstruction minister and Goshi Hosono as minister in charge of resolution to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster. The additional cabinet posts were created on Monday. “The move is to assuage the heavy criticism Prime Minister Kan has received for his lack of leadership in handling the March 11 catastrophe.” (Said who?) Prime Minister Kan has gone so far as to agree to resign (pushed by who?) but only after Japan is on solid footing and the passage of budget bills and a renewable energy measure. “I’m aiming at stepping down after achieving those bills” said Kan on Monday. Hosono, (he is Kan’s successor in policies) who has been director of the nuclear task force, will be in charge of power conservation.” (At last a positive note of policy reported): “Kan explained that “the main purpose of the new appointments is to push for reconstruction from the disaster and to take steps to prevent another nuclear accident.” ” End of quotes.

I have to say that Akira was not uninformed when he commented with a certain passion yesterday on my fb wall about the way the media do the OMERTA on Kan’s policies. One word of advice, one friend told me again yesterday: “Just don’t! Just don’t trust national media* about Nagatacho and Japan’s politics, reporters report but editors CUT!”

* 5 main TV and 5 main newspapers.


5 comments on “Joel Legendre-Koizumi on the J media’s blackout on PM Kan’s proposals

  • Just wish we had more comments and insights on how the Japanese media operates. Anyway, I tip my hat to Mr. Legendre-Koizumi for speaking out on this issue.

  • This kind of confirms my gut feelings: the DPJ government was an interlude (useful to prove Japan is a democracy) but the “elites” (bureaucracy, media especially NHK) are actively looking to bringing back the LDP old guys club. After all, there is so much money do be done in public project works with reconstruction… I also believe the more conservative factions of the LDP see the recent disaster as an opportunity to close the country again and emphasize cohesiveness (ie ethnic and cultural homogeneity) and nationalist values.

  • j_jobseeker says:

    This is because the old media is in bed with the LDP and ever since Kan came into power, it has been a witch hunt to get him out; a sure sign to me that they’re afraid of Kan. You have to remember, Kan has always been a DPJ member while a lot of politicians in the DPJ–especially of the Ozawa camp–are former LDP who left for one issue or other. Kan has no ties to the LDP. He is more than willing to enact significant change which, of course, would upset the pyramid structure the LDP has been building and maintaining throughout its reign. Just look at the effort to blackmail disaster relief by voting Kan out of office on the grounds that as long as he is power the opposition parties can’t (i.e. won’t) work with his “ineffective” administration. It’s a palpable and coordinated play by the LDP and most news outlets to tarnish Kan’s image. All this talk about “mishandling” and “slow response” (funny…I seem to recall the LDP being criticized domestically and mostly abroad for being ‘slow’ to respond to the Hanshin and Nigata earthquakes…now they’re being re-envisioned as being ‘responsive’) are just buzz words to plant into the populace’s psyche so that they actually do think Kan mishandled and was slow to respond to the situation–a situation no politician in Japan’s history has had to deal with, and therefore there is no true yardstick to measure by. I have certainly stopped watching televised news post-3/11 and it is certainly getting harder to find reliable print news as well…
    P.S. can someone explain what OMERTA means?

    — Omerta… hmm, click here.

  • Omerta is the term used for the vow of silence members joining the Mafia make. They will never break the silence or betray their secrets, or something to that effect.


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