• Kyodo


The presenter of a weekly news program was fired Friday after suggesting in his blog that kidney dialysis patients should not be able to tap public funds.

Yutaka Hasegawa, 41, who hosted “News Real Friday,” was sacked by Television Osaka after publishing a blog entry last week titled “Public funds must not be spent for the treatment of self-induced dialysis patients! If they cannot afford it and cry, just kill them! The current (social security) system will only destroy Japan!”

The Sept. 19 entry drew an immediate backlash, including a protest letter from the Japan Association of Kidney Disease Patients. Many people said the entry was rife with factual errors.

But it was the title that drew the strongest criticism, leading Hasegawa to replace it several days later with a more rhetorical version: “Should the government shoulder the entire (medical) cost even for people who became dialysis patients after ignoring doctor’s advice for years? The current system will only destroy Japan!”

In announcing its decision to drop Hasegawa, the regional broadcaster said the blog post “employed extreme expressions and gave many people extremely unpleasant feelings,” making him unfit to be a news presenter.

In his most recent entry, Hasegawa, a former announcer for Fuji Television Network, said he thought it was acceptable to write in a harsh manner on the internet, even if deemed inappropriate for TV, to gain followers.

“I felt too strong about reaching out to as many people as possible, and ended up making a major blunder this time,” the entry said.

Hasegawa began working as a freelance announcer in 2013.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.