International Press – Japan
The dominant Japanese national press corporations are heavily corrupted by government, and rarely report any political unrest to the public. How, in a country arguably with the most educated population in the world, do the public let this still stand?
Japan is very densely populated, with a population more than twice that of the UK’s. Its core values are collectivism, consensus and hierarchy. Education is a huge part of Japanese lifestyle, and is viewed very highly, resulting in Japan owning the highest literacy rate in the world. Crime rates in ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ are very low, but there is an enormous rate of organised crime, with 90’s figures suggesting there were 86000 members of the Yakuza, with the police turning a blind eye to their fraudulent activities.
Eighty percent of the Japanese public read papers with a total circulation of 72m,and the main five players in Japanese press circulating approximately 40m of that. Most articles are written anonymously, with no by-line, and are objective in the sense the writer attempts to remove and personality in the piece.
However, the press seems no less corrupt than the police system. Subtle backhanders from government, such as prime office space in Tokyo for knockdown prices are met in return with no bad press against the governing body LDP being published. This seems to authenticate the revisionist view of the Japanese press: that it is the lapdog of the state.
Another reason why the main media journalists ignore reporting negatively on the LDP is due to their position in the ‘Kisha’; almost an invitational press club, where reporters have exclusive access to press clubs at party offices. Any politically damaging news coverage and the journalist loses the right to be part of the Kisha, therefore deterring them from doing so.
Any harmful political stories are only reported by non-press club journalists, who have no fear of losing privileges. Only once the story has broken do the mainstream press then take it up.