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Staff writer

OSAKA — While the increasing number of satellite broadcast channels may ease the frustration of foreign residents in Japan starving for information in their native languages, they may not satisfy some ethnic groups.

So a Tokyo-based company plans to publish weekly multilingual video magazines this summer.

While the population of foreign residents in Japan is increasing, many are not interested in most of the country’s TV and radio programs, said Ahmad Moaphi, president of World TV Today Ltd., which was established last December in Tokyo.

“Because of the language barrier, most foreigners here have little access to information,” he said. “They want to watch current news and TV programs broadcast in their mother tongues, and we’re going to provide them.”

Because there are many types of English-language media in Japan, such as FM radio and TV broadcasts as well as newspapers, the company plans to produce weekly two-hour videotapes in eight languages — Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai and Urdu/Hindi.

These languages are the native tongues of about 70 percent of the foreigners in Japan, who come from 35 countries, said Moaphi. According to the Osaka Immigration Bureau, about 1.4 million foreigners live in Japan, and if some 280,000 foreigners with illegal status and others with tourist visas are included, the actual number may be 2 million, nearly 2 percent of Japan’s population.

Each video magazine will supply an array of information, including news, sports, entertainment, music, cooking and advertisements, Moaphi explained. The company’s own reports on ethnic communities and everyday living will also be included, he said, adding that he is trying to obtain cooperation from foreign broadcasting companies to show the programs in their home countries.

“Contents of the video magazines will differ depending on the needs of each ethnic community,” Moaphi said. “For instance, Chinese and Iranians may be interested in political issues while Filipinos may want to watch talk shows.” Moaphi hopes that 30,000 people will subscribe to the weekly video magazines.


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