Huffington in Tokyo for launch of Japanese-language version of HuffPost

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

The Japanese version of the Huffington Post website aims to encourage reserved Japanese people to participate in online discussions and express themselves, Arianna Huffington, founder of the online media giant, said Wednesday.

Huffington was in Tokyo to oversee Tuesday’s launch of Huffington Post Japan, the site’s sixth international edition after Canada, France, Italy Spain and the United Kingdom.

While the U.S.-based Huffington Post sometimes does its own reporting with trained journalists, “we are also a platform that is available for our readers whether they are well-known or not to be able to express themselves,” Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, said during a news conference at the Japan National Press Club.

“What makes it different is the fact that we put the readers at the center and that it’s all about engagement,” she said, adding that the Huffington Post can have a blog post from an ordinary reader right next to a post from a Diet member.

Although Japan’s Internet discussion sites tend to be filled with ultranationalistic and defamatory comments, she promised that won’t be an issue with Huffington Post Japan.

“Our editors will evaluate and decide … so it’s not a free-for-all. It’s complete quality control,” she said, adding that comments on articles will also be monitored.

According to Huffington, there are two ways to post blogs on the site. One is to be invited, while the other is to make a submission, which will be read and considered by the editors.

A wide range of topics, from politics and economics to lifestyle issues and entertainment will be featured.

To run the Japanese version, Huffington Post has teamed up with the Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s largest newspapers. The two partners chip in 50-50, and Huffington Post Japan’s editorial team will be independent, Huffington confirmed.

She added that while the Asahi has credibility as a media organization with its great understanding of Japanese culture, Huffington Post brings digital technology and editorial knowhow, making a nice conversion of traditional and new media.

Asked about the possibility of launching a Chinese version, Huffington admitted that she is interested but said it would be difficult anytime soon because the site is currently censored in China.

  • TokyoTengu

    Oh bother… that’s just what Japan DOESN’T need.