Friday, September 16, 2011

Now You See It, Now...

Somewhere in the middle of Tokyo 
something seems to have disappeared

"You don't see any ads from major Japanese companies in the Tokyo Shinbun newspaper any more." That's the word on the street in Temple Valley these days. Folks here believe the supposed disappearance of the major ads has everything to do with the paper's anti-nuclear leanings.

To get a better picture you'd have to go back and look at copies of each daily paper issued over the last year. Unfortunately the Times' archival holdings of the Tokyo Shinbun only go back a month but after combing through each issue, our research staff did manage to find an ad from one of the smaller Japanese automakers along with a number of adds from the country's major banking institutions.

So is the rumor true? Only the Tokyo Shinbun would know for sure but the perception here is that the anti-nuclear viewpoint is under attack. An article (entitled Demo taiho wa miseshime) in today's Tokyo Shinbun quotes a human rights representative and others claiming the unjustified arrest of 12 peaceful protesters at a Tokyo anti-nuke rally this weekend was meant to serve as an example to others that dissent over the nuclear power issue will not be tolerated.

Many here say Japan's major dailies are content to toe the official line, quoting government advisors like Dr. Shinichi Yamashita, who unabashedly tells the citizens of Fukushima, "the more you smile, the less radiation you get...If you don't smile the rays will effect you." It's a reassuring, feel good message that's easy for readers to consume in these uncertain times. If the Tokyo Shinbun has lost some sources of major ad revenue, maybe their less sugar-coated style of reportage is to blame. All is not apparently lost though. The Tokyo Shinbun still seems to have plenty of ads for the bitter kale juice known as aojiru and while their critical viewpoint may be as difficult to swallow as the green veggie drink, it's surely just as good for you.

Related post: The Art of Saving the Planet

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