The Japanese version of South Korean Internet news service OhmyNews was launched Monday, featuring articles from “citizen reporters” on topics ranging from politics to entertainment.

“If our network grows to feature tens of thousands of citizen reporters, it could help shed light on various problems and issues that need to be addressed in Japan,” said Shuntaro Torigoe, editor in chief of the Japanese edition.

“We will also be after scoops that could shake up society,” said Torigoe, a former reporter with the daily Mainichi Shimbun.

The Internet news site has generated great interest in South Korea since it was launched there in 2000, owing to its reports on down-to-earth topics filed by ordinary people acting as citizen reporters as well as its progressive editorial stance.

Some observers say it played a part in helping Roh Moo Hyun get elected South Korean president in 2002.

The number of registered amateur reporters was 851 as of Friday in Japan, according to OhmyNews International Corp., owned 30 percent by Softbank Corp., which invests in a range of Internet services and in April bought the Japan unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group PLC.

Both professional OhmyNews reporters and amateur citizen reporters will write articles on various topics, including politics, the economy, film, music and hobbies.

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