Seeing 2015 through a fragmented media lens

| Jan 2, 2016

Seeing 2015 through a fragmented media lens

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Media literacy means understanding that objective reality is impossible to comprehend, and that the best you can do to make sense of the world is to know how to interpret signals. Part of that process is identifying what’s at stake: Newspapers and broadcasters have ...

Civilian casualties of WWII left out in the cold

| Dec 26, 2015

Civilian casualties of WWII left out in the cold

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‘Unbroken,” Angelina Jolie’s 2014 film about the late American Olympic athlete Louie Zamperini, will finally receive a theatrical release in Japan next year after inciting the ire of local groups who claim its depiction of Japanese prisoner of war camps is sensationally harsh and ...

Why infrastructure repairs are being ignored

| Dec 12, 2015

Why infrastructure repairs are being ignored

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Several days after a storm caused the Kinugawa River to overflow its banks and destroy communities in Ibaraki Prefecture in September, the infrastructure ministry held on-site meetings to look into what went wrong. One problem was the loss of a sand embankment in the ...

Push for balance can lead to a skewed view

| Dec 5, 2015

Push for balance can lead to a skewed view

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In September, public broadcaster NHK aired a documentary that recounted the news events from the capital this summer. One of the segments focused on the continuing protests led by college students in central Tokyo against the controversial security bills the ruling Liberal Democratic Party had ...

Films focus on dementia and find hope

| Nov 28, 2015

Films focus on dementia and find hope

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Last week, a 47-year-old woman was arrested for killing her 81-year-old mother and “assisting” in the suicide of her 74-year-old father. The woman had been found on the banks of the Tone River in Saitama Prefecture, into which she and her parents had driven ...

TV Asahi gets 'The Scoop' on false convictions

| Nov 7, 2015

TV Asahi gets 'The Scoop' on false convictions

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Last week the Tokyo Shimbun ran an article about Keiko Aoki and Tatsuhiro Boku, the couple convicted of murdering Aoki’s 11-year-old daughter in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison. The upcoming retrial, which will likely reverse the guilty verdict, may reveal that the ...

Cancer and Fukushima: Who to trust?

| Oct 31, 2015

Cancer and Fukushima: Who to trust?

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South Korean director Kim Ki-duk is a noted provocateur. His latest movie, “Stop,” is about a Japanese couple who were living near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant when it suffered a meltdown in March 2011. They evacuate to Tokyo, where the wife ...

Abe raises eyebrows when he's off script

| Oct 24, 2015

Abe raises eyebrows when he's off script

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On Oct. 1, the Sankei Shimbun reported that during a regularly scheduled press conference, NHK President Katsuto Momii addressed statements made by “former NHK employees” who told media outlets that the public broadcaster had “received phone calls from the prime minister’s office” regarding passage ...

No sex talk please, we're Japanese

| Oct 17, 2015

No sex talk please, we're Japanese

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The education ministry recently came under fire for supplementary materials it had distributed to high schools this summer. The materials were given out to help girls lead “healthier lives,” but a chart about pregnancy included in the literature was found to be misleading. According ...