The TV coverage of the Dec. 14 shootings at a Sasebo sports club was deplorable. A reporter from one TV channel implied on many occasions that a “gaikokujin” (foreigner) was most likely the shooter. I imagine his guess was based, at best, on an erroneous interpretation or, at worse, willful misrepresentation of reports by eyewitnesses indicating that the shooter was between 170 and 190 cm tall, that he wore camouflage attire (suggesting he might be a member of U.S. military forces based in town), and that the crime was conducted in a violent, rampage style that only foreigners are assumed to be capable of.
That idiotic reporter managed to get my Japanese wife (and probably thousands of other TV viewers) to believe without a doubt that the culprit must have been a foreigner. Imagine my wife’s face when I told her that I thought the murderer was probably a regular Japanese man, and not yakuza. The crime happened in an area of town where U.S. military people don’t go, in a sports club that neither foreigners nor yakuza would ever patronize, and the weapon was a shotgun. From a tactical angle, a military person or yakuza would have used a pistol, which is easier to conceal. But then I’m no Sherlock Holmes.
The media must stop brainwashing Japanese people into believing that only foreigners commit crimes in Japan! They should do their research before saying or printing something. Their words can cause a lot of damage. How would Japanese feel if every time they visited a foreign country, the locals there automatically suspected them of being criminals!?
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.