As a reader for nearly 30 years, I recently switched my subscription from one of the other English-language dailies because I felt The Japan Times’ coverage of domestic news was far superior. That said, there is always room for improvement, and I would like to offer two examples. In the Jan. 25 issue, the (Kyodo) article “Osaka court bars Korean lawyer from mediation” fails to convey a key factor that would help readers obtain a better understanding of the issue. The fact is that most, if not all, Korean lawyers practicing in Japan were born here and have chosen not to apply for Japanese citizenship.
This is a legacy of past Imperial Japanese rule, and while Japan is not the only country that does not award automatic citizenship to those without Japanese lineage, it is one reason why many bar associations recommend that the rules be changed. The easy answer is that Japan-born Koreans should apply for Japanese nationality, a solution that has been pursued by some and rejected by others. Regardless of one’s view of that solution, a reader cannot begin to appreciate the complexity of the problem without a correct understanding of the history.
The second issue that concerns me is how little space The Japan Times provides to the positions of parties other than the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party in discussing the issue of refueling U.S. ships.
Despite their small numbers in the Diet, the Communists and Social Democrats have more consistently and forcefully offered a critique of U.S.-Japan policy in the Middle East. Regardless of the Japan Times’ own editorial preferences, it should provide readers with a more complete picture of the actual debate.