Friday, January 22, 2010

Hardened times for Foreign Correspondents in Japan

Reaching Japan shores

""Major foreign media outlets are leaving Japan in
droves, a sign of financial difficulties at home as the
news industry struggles with falling advertising
revenue. But observers note that Japan is also losing
its appeal as the most newsworthy country in Asia, with
China now the hot spot.

Extract of the article from the Japan Times, by Mariko
Kato in today's edition, an interview of a colleague of
mine Takashi Uesugi, ex New York Times, today a
successful freelance journalist who even has time

"The financial situation of the companies in their own
countries is a big factor". "But the second reason is
(the decrease in) Japan's national power. Foreign
media are becoming increasingly more interested in
China and setting up offices there, while they withdraw
from Japan." (Takashi Uesugi, a freelance journalist
and expert on journalism said.) The Washington Post
office in Tokyo has only one reporter left and the Los
Angeles Times branch has closed, according to Uesugi.

Numbers reflect the trend. According to the Foreign
Correspondents' Club of Japan, its foreign members
numbered around 250 during the late 1980s and early
1990s when the booming economy provided both
interesting news and an attractive home for overseas
correspondents. The count was more than 300 if
Japanese staff employed by foreign media companies were
included. However, the ranks have since been
decreasing steadily, with only 144 foreign members
registered as of March 2009. "This means that news
about Japan becomes more dependent on news wires. Even
if (those media that have left Japan) hire temporary
staff here, only correspondents are actually eligible
to write stories, which would lead to lack of depth or
analysis," Uesugi said.

For correspondents elsewhere in Asia to visit Japan and
report news, the event would need to be as big as Aum
Shinrikyo's sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system or
the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which both happened in
1995, or last year's Lower House election that led to
the first major change in government since the 1950s,
he added...

Uesugi said the hostile setup has served to encourage
foreign correspondents to move elsewhere in Asia. "The
current government has the desire to communicate more
with the outside world, but it needs to do more,"
Uesugi said. He acknowledged it is already too late to
woo the foreign press back to Japan, except for the
unlikely event that Japan's national power increases or
China's politics becomes too unstable to remain
there..."" End of quotes

Assistance for Foreign media:


Briefing for foreign press & foreign media event

Foreign Press Center online office

Foreign press club event

✍✍✍ Comments✍✍✍

1 "This article title should have been "US Media (rather
than "foreign" media)" is pulling out of Japan. In
fact, Middle East media is increasing its coverage of
Japan and more reporters are needed (who can speak
Arabic). I also think the environment is better in
Japan than China in terms of freedom of reporting. But
the article is right about the closed doors against the
foreign media by Japanese kisha clubs, but this is not
the reason why the US media is leaving."

Khaldon Azhari
Panorient News, President.

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