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The daily Asahi Shimbun said in a detailed report in its Thursday morning edition that the publishing of inaccurate articles in August about the general election was caused by a lack of communication between reporters and editors.

In a three-page report written by its investigation panel, the nation’s second-largest newspaper in terms of circulation explained that the articles, based on the notes of a reporter who has since been sacked, were produced after the exchange of only two e-mails between its political news section in the Tokyo headquarters and the Nagano bureau, to which the axed reporter Taku Nishiyama, 28, belonged.

The reporter initially said he penned the false notes because he was eager for recognition. But the Thursday report said he has since told the panel, “I did not particularly see the importance (of the notes). I just wanted to get rid of the hassle at hand.”

According to the followup report, a political news section editor sent an e-mail to the Nagano bureau on Aug. 18, asking that it gather news about information that former Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Shizuka Kamei and Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka had met to discuss creating new parties for the Sept. 11 House of Representatives election.

In response, Nishiyama made up a detailed note in about 10 minutes that Tanaka met with Kamei on Aug. 13 in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, and about what Tanaka said to him, even though he never made contact with Tanaka on the matter.

He sent the note to the political news section by e-mail, the newspaper said.

The Asahi published one story in its morning edition on Aug. 21 and another the following day that included information based on the fictitious notes.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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