近海る (Kin Kairu)

JET, Japan, Journalism and other J words

Japan News Roundup Jan 27-Feb 5

Let’s take a little break from the temple talk and discuss some other things I have a particular interest in: East Asian politics/current events and Journalism.

Hell, the later is part of the header!

To be completely honest, I’ve been writing an article for another publication that has taken up a lot of time, so my Day 5 travelogue was unfortunately put to the side this week.

In the effort of still having something of value to post, here’s a showcase of recent Japanese news I would recommend reading up on.

(Quick warning about the links: Many of them come from The Japan Times, which implemented a pay wall not too long ago. I am all about paying for reporting, but just know it’s a limited 10 articles until you need to buy a subscription.)

NHK in a big ‘ol mess

What started out with the new NHK chief saying the issue of comfort women was only wrong by “today’s morality” and NHK broadcasting “shouldn’t be far removed from (the stance of) the Japanese government” has turned into a medley of apologies and continuing statements.

Katsuto Momii was appointed as Chairman of NHK in December and made the comments at his first press conference.

He also commented on the recently passed “State Secrets Law,” saying, “Since it passed, it is useless to argue about it now.”

Momii later explained to NHK board members that “he was careless with his remarks because he is not used to speaking before reporters,” according to The Japan Times.

It took NHK three days to report on the controversy, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

Momii’s comments are also in the midst of other NHK controversies, including a noted professor resigning from a morning radio show in protest of not being able to speak about nuclear power until after the Tokyo gubernatorial election and the NHK governor, Naoki Hyakuta, saying the Nanking Massacre was fabricated in American interests.

Here is an added article regarding Momii and his comments from the South China Morning Post.

Elections. Elections everywhere.

After former Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose resigned after reports of a loan scandal in December, 16 candidates are campaigning in the race for the seat.

The Yomiuri reported former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuze is currently leading in polls.

Former Prime Minister Morihito Hosokawa and twitter personality Kazuma Ieiri are also in the running. The election will be held on February 8.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto will also resign and re-run for Osaka mayor following a proposal rejection, which would split Osaka into special districts and abolish the city structure.

Hashimoto served as governor of Osaka prefecture from 2008-2011 and was elected as mayor in November 2011. He also launched the Japan Restoration Party with former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara in September 2012.

Besides his restructure plans, some of his most infamous headlines include his crackdown on civil servants who had tattoos and admitting to having an affair with a hostess, which included lots of cosplay, shortly before being elected as governor.

No JETs here

A recent study from the Japan Association of Corporate Executives found many Japanese companies do not know of the JET Program and one in nine have only ever hired former JETs.

The survey also noted only “33.9 percent of Japanese companies intend to employ more foreigners, and another 12.1 percent will continue to hire them,” according to the Japan Times.

So, how should Momii, or any other member of the NHK board, be treated for their comments? Will Hashimoto’s resignation/automatic re-run for mayor benefit his restructuring plans and will he actually win again? Do you think Japanese companies should hire more foreigners, especially if they participated in JET? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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