Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(MIC) announced [J] that they had requested four Internet related organizations to delete “false rumors” on online bulletin boards “to keep safety and peace of mind in disastrous area”.
The four organizations are, Telecommunications Carriers Association(TCA), Telecom Services Association(TELESA) [J], Japan Internet Providers Association(JAIPA) and Japan Cable and Telecommunications Association(JCTA).
On the request [J, pdf], MIC stated, “false rumors around the Eastern Japan earthquake and the nuclear plant accident are circulated over word-of-mouth, e-mail and online bulletin boards”, and asked web site owners “to take voluntary action such like erasing information violating the laws and against public order and morals.” Interesting thing is that the request says “please take prompt countermeasures with due considerations to freedom of expression“. So they are at least aware what they are requesting.
There are, of course, immediate reactions on web. Some said that government is taking advantage of the disaster to gain control over the internet. But there are also opinions that Japanese government is so confused and too naive, unskilled on the Internet to expect that this kind of order will have any meanings. I feel that might be true, though it cannot be excused.
On November 28th at Kanazawa city, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan there was a mayor election. The two leading candidates, incumbent Tamotsu Yamade [J], 79, and Yukiyoshi Yamano [J], 48, competed closely, gained 56,840 and 58,204 votes respectively. Only 1,364 difference.
The things causing a fuss is, the young winner Yamano’s team reportedly had been using Twitter during the campaign period, which violates the Japan’s public office electian law which bans all “documents and drawings” distribution are prohibited.
According to Mainichi, not Yamano himself did not update his Twitter but his secretary and the chief of internet strategy, who runs IT company, made many tweets with attaching candidate’s photo like addressing.
The election committee was said to caution Yamano’s office more than 3 times, and also informed Ishikawa prefecture police, but the police did not make caution. A topsider of the police commented that it was difficult to prosecute as lifting of the Internet ban is in recent trend.
The chief of internet strategy said that he understood that it was illegal, but thinks okay unless the result of the election gets revoked.
Japan’s Internet-Banned Election Probed By Voice Over Twitter
Japan Kicks Off Twitter-Free Election Campaign – TIME
Dentsu Inc., Japan’s largest advertisement agency, published its annual Japan’s advertising expenditures report. [J, pdf]
According to the report, Dentsu estimates that advertisers spend 7.77 billion USD (1.2% growth) more on the Internet than on newspaper advertising 7.40 billion in 2009, first time in history. The No.1 television earned 18.84 billion, which is 10.2% decreased.
On the same Dentsu’s past reports, the Internet advertising expenses passed magazine in 2007, radio in 2004.
Two of Japan’s most authoritative newspapers, Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei Shimbun both put a very similar notes on their front editorial on January 29th, which made net users upset.
Both referred the statistical trend which had been announced by The National Police Agency. The number of homicides and homicide attempts in 2009 was 1,097, and that is the lowest record after the World War II, which is… definitely great news, isn’t it?
Those two prestige newspapers have different thought on the news. Leading liberal newspaper Asahi’s editorial said,
“Ironically, it is said to be possible that the Internet society weakening people’s relationship is one of the reasons to lower the the homicides.” [J]
Hmm. *Who* said that? On the same day Nikkei, quality business paper, you saw,
There is an expert who tells that people’s relationship weakened recently reduces tiffs against others. The self-absorbed Internet society strengthens this tendency, some pointed. [J]
In Japan, traditional media take more confrontational attitude against the Internet, if you compare it with west. One reason is that their readers demographics is on older side, whilst the Internet is welcoming younger people.
The world-class (by number) gigantic newspapers are supported by those old generation who believe that those newspapers are the right information source. Any critics on the Internet is favoured to the majority of the readers who dislike the Internet.
Interview of Journalist Toshinao Sasaki, who warns this divided generation and old/new media issue.