chapter  2
15 Pages

Media in Japan

The muzzled watchdog
WithSaul J. Takahashi

The situation is reflected in the global free press rankings published by Reporters without Borders, in which Japan is ranked a dismal 67th place. Japanese journalists go out of their way to crack down on those who do not play by ‘access journalism’ rules. ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered down’ is a saying that all Japanese children learn at an early age, both verbally and through firsthand experience. During the war, the Japanese media had degenerated into what is often referred to with derision as ‘dai honn-ei happyou’, or ‘Imperial HQ release’ – outlets acted as military mouthpieces, simply repeating the regime’s obviously false releases with no critical questioning. The Japanese media was vague as to whether it had been Ozawa who had made the comments. Executives of mainstream media outlets have received considerable criticism for frequent dinners at high end restaurants with the Prime Minister and other politicians.